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When your shopping for your tools and supplies, do you buy the cheapest item? Or the most expensive of comparable items?  Often I test out the cheapest and most of the time it works out. Like in glue sticks for the glue gun, the cheap ones work just as well as the expensive ones. However, tape runners for scrapbooking is an exception. The cheap ones don’t stand the test of time so I go for the middle of the road or more expensive adhesives for those projects. I recently discovered a new exception to the rule and feel like I have been living in the dark ages as I struggled bused through sewing projects. Can you guess what it is? I was surprised too.

An iron. 

Seriously. Why? What technology has really changed in an iron in the last century? Sure, there are some flashy ones out there that have retractable feet and beep at you, but the irons main task is to heat up and maintain a constant set temperature. And there is a mind boggling spread of prices out there. You can get a new iron for under 10 bucks to HUNDREDS of dollars. So undergrad me needed an iron for just laundry purposes once upon a time. Standing in the isle at my local Walmart with irons and toasters, I couldn’t figure out what was so special about the more expensive irons. I left with a six dollar iron and five dollar toaster in hand, immensely pleased to buy these first appliances for myself. 

The iron was similar to this one. Thankfully my model is not for sale anymore. 

Now I had very little ironing experience prior to this purchase, and it did do it’s job for awhile, but as I sewed more I was just struggling with it. It leaked water and didn’t heat up consistently. A press cloth was needed for everything. I started scorching projects even with taking the most care. I even posted my woes previously. And I avoided ironing my sewing. Thankfully, my brother did me a favor and dropped it. Poor thing, it’s buttons went flying off and springs shot out of it. But that was the end of it. I did put it back together but it was a million times worse. 

I considered not even replacing it because I have a steamer, but wasn’t getting crisp seams in my sewing so back to the iron isle I went. And again I was questioning their range of prices. I gave up in store and took to the web and found this iron that I thought had some nice features and a reasonable price. 

Thanks Amazon : Black and Decker IR3010

Since getting this iron I have been ironing everything! It’s like the sewing gods are smiling on me as I work through projects. I thought I hated ironing, but really I hated my iron. This iron maintains a temperature and steams things well. Oh, and applying interfacing to materials is a dream now. And it automatically turns off if I forget about it. (I have once much to my disappointment) My ironing board is permanently out now and I am working at a plan to reorganize my sewing area so I don’t have to take a lot of steps to the ironing board.

This was a lesson in not cheaping out in tools that every sewist agrees you should have. I still don’t think I will spend hundreds on an iron but I think I found the sweet spot for myself in effective working and price of 40 bucks. 

That being said, anyone have a tool they suggest you don’t cheap out on? 

P.S. – The cheap toaster never failed me. The only reason I stopped using it was because I was given a toaster oven and the kicker is the toaster oven does not toast well. Go figure. 

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