I use a Sunbeam Iron for everyday pressing when I make my quilts. Pressing fabric is done at just about every stage in the quiltmaking process. From pressing wrinkles out of yardage to pressing the last seam in the quilt top, you need a good, reliable iron. Many features are available in the irons we use today. This article reviews features of the Sunbeam Vertical Steam Iron I use.
Why Press When Making Quilts?
First let's look at why we press the fabric as we make quilts. The simple answer is accuracy in cutting and piecing. Pressing removes wrinkles in fabric. After pressing, the fabric lies flat, making cutting more accurate. Techniques such as curved piecing can be difficult to accomplish. Pressing with steam helps the fabric spread out along the curve and lie flat.
Features of the Sunbeam Iron
The Sunbeam Steam Iron has the following features:
Auto Shut-Off – This is the primary reason I purchased this iron. I am one of those people who always wonder if I unplugged the iron or left the oven on. After 30 minutes of non-use the iron turns itself off. I find the 30 minute interval perfect. The iron stays on while I'm piecing but if I happen to get distracted and leave, it shuts off after 30 minutes.
1200 Watts – The higher the wattage, the higher the heat you can get. I like my iron to be as hot as possible for cotton fabric. The iron has several heat settings. Materials such as fusible products require less heat.
Non-stick Soleplate – this is a great feature. The soleplate is the bottom of the iron that heats up. the non-stick surface makes ironing and pressing almost effortless. the non-stick feature also makes it harder for gunk to stay on the iron.
Steam Features of the Sunbeam Iron
Additionally, here are the steam features of the Sunbeam iron.
- Anti Drip System – this feature means that, at any setting, the water does not leak from the iron. When using water in the iron to make steam, some irons will not heat the water properly at various temperature settings. The result is spurting and spitting of the steam. Water droplets are expelled from the iron instead of steam. I rarely use steam in my iron for everyday piecing. Instead I use a spray bottle of water, starch or starch alternative. See the article – Using Fabric Starch in Quilting for more information. In a pinch, I have used water in the iron and never had a problem with leaks.
- Vertical Steam/Shot of Steam – There are two buttons on this iron for using steam. One button gives a nice spray of water directly in front of the iron. The other button gives a shot of steam. this shot of steam is great when you need a little extra steam. The shot of steam is so powerful, you can use this iron in the vertical position to steam things like curtains.
- Self Cleaning – I have never used this feature since I don't use steam that often. This feature helps keep the water reservoir and outlets clean. Read the manufacturers instructions for complete information on this feature.
Finally here are some pictures of my iron with comments:
This picture shows the features printed on the side. The “clean” button is what you use to clean the water tank. The slider is for setting the amount of heat.
This shows the steam settings. The steam setting can be off, medium or heavy. The buttons on the bottom are the spray or shot of steam.
Lift up the cover and fill the water tank here.
This is the non-stick soleplate. You might notice the shiny edge at the tip of the soleplate. This shows just a little wear from over 7 years of almost daily use. Another thing I want to point out about the tip of the soleplate is this. Notice how it is smooth and rounded at the tip. This works great for pressing seams. The rounded edge does not get caught as I press. The iron just glides over the seams.
|Sunbeam 1200 watt Vertical Steam Iron
This is a link to the sunbeam iron with similar features to the one reviewed in this article. The exact model I have is no longer available.
| Iron Caddy
I use this caddy to store and carry my iron when I go to retreats and classes. To see my review click on Iron Caddy Product Review.
| Dritz Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner
Although I have not had to use this product in years, I recommend it. If you use a lot of fusible products you might have a build up of the adhesive on the soleplate.