Bad Irons: It’s my Turn

For those of us who sew and bear our souls about the sewing experience, bad irons are a common topic.  Many of my fellow bloggers have taken their turn at complaining about the quality of steam irons and the need for frequent replacement.  Even my husband knows of this problem – right after telling me that tennis shoes were $2.00 when he was a kid, he tells me that his mother only owned one iron in her whole life while I need to purchase a new one every year.

Oops, I had the iron on this fabric for a nano-second.

A Smoking Iron?

Last week, when I was pressing some garments I sewed for a woman, my one year old $80 steam iron (brand name rhymes with mark) nearly burned the house down.   While ironing it started to sizzle very loudly.  Confused by what was occurring, I thought I’d test it on a scrap of cotton and in a second it burned the scrap as well as the ironing board cover.  Then more sizzling followed by smoke coming out of the seams of the iron.  At that moment I unplugged it and opened the windows to relieve the room of smoke.  Can I tell you how grateful I was that the burned item was a fabric scrap and not a garment I’d just finished sewing?

Of course, the warranty had expired, although the company offered to repair it for $42 plus shipping.  Having now “burned” through 2 irons in the past year, I  searched for other options.  Thanks to fellow bloggers and sewists, it became clear that I needed to make the jump to a gravity feed iron.  At under $100, the Hot Steam SGB-600 seemed to be a good option.

Before the new gravity-feed iron arrived I borrowed a 25 year-old made in Germany Rowenta from my mother who used it when she was a quilter.  As you can see by the following photo, it must have been dropped a few times so the steam doesn’t work but the iron is great.  Even without steam, it pressed better than the [rhymes with mark].


The New Arrival – Hot Steam SGB-600

When the package arrived, it was a little daunting.  Would I ever stop unpacking?  Many of the components were obvious but what about all of the pieces that aren’t pictured in the manual?


After reading the manual the cobwebs in my head cleared, though there remained a few plastic adaptors not described or pictured in the manual.  It seemed a little weird to think about a huge bottle hanging in my sewing room.  Maybe I needed to get my own IV pole?

SGB-600 all set up


Steam:  Although I’ve only used it for a short time, this iron is amazing.  The burst of steam is generous and at a setting of “3” every item has been incredibly well pressed, usually with a single swipe of the iron.  Some reviews have said this setting works for nearly every type of fabric.  I’ve used it on wool, cotton, cotton-poly and polyester and it worked well.  The iron is definitely heavy and it’s unusual to not set it on it’s heel – just a matter of learning a new behavior after years of doing it another way.  Also, the water valve on the tank needs to be turned off after every use.  Hope I don’t come home to a flooded sewing room some day.  Heats to the desired temperature in several minutes.

Silicone mat:  The mat is very thick and the heat doesn’t radiate to the bottom of the mat.  Some have recommended placing a tile below the silicone mat, however at this time I don’t see the need.  Some sellers do not include the mat with purchase however Wawak includes this and the sole plate with the iron.

Cord: The cord is very heavy and the length sufficient.  It is important to keep the water tubing connected to the electrical cord.  Four connectors come with the unit – some of the parts not described. Because the iron is so heavy, the weight of the cord moves freely with the iron.

Hanging method:  Mine is hung from a ceiling hook and the type of chain that is used for hanging lamps.

Auto shut-off:  There is no auto shut-off, which will be another behavior change and it might be a tough one.

This whole setup wouldn’t work well if you have a temporary sewing space however in my sewing room it is great.  At this point I’m pretty high on this iron.