A tale of two irons

I have known I needed a new iron for a while now – my old one was inherited from my Grandma 7 or 8 years ago (with my sewing machine) and who knows how old it was before that. It is a Philips Mistral, it worked fine as a sewing iron until now: it got hot and steamed, what else does a sewist need? The answer is; not waterfalls. Over the last 6 months on several occasions water had started pouring out of the baseplate of the iron – not just a few drips, but a flood until the tank was empty. This wasn’t ideal, so I decided the time had come for a replacement, although no action on the subject was taken. Along came my birthday and DH demanded to know what I wanted; ‘an iron’ was not good enough – he needed an exact model (this was not destined to be a surprise present).

Therefore, onto some online research. I found these posts helpful, even if they are slightly out of date in terms of the models, at the Home Sewing place, Megan Neilsen, Madalynne, and Closet Case Files. I read and considered the merits of gravity fed irons and steam generator irons, but in the end decided all I need is a good quality steam iron. What I quickly established is that Rowenta (a German brand I had never heard of before) seems to be the go-to brand for sewists and crafters. This is the kind of information I wanted as this narrowed it down nicely – Rowenta currently only make two stream irons – choosing between two models is manageable (I am not good at making choices – I am a vegetarian who often cannot choose between the only two available options on the menu). In the end I went with the Focus DW5110, deciding I didn’t want any possible loss of heat or steam from the eco option (I save the planet other ways, but I don’t want short cuts with my sewing).

The eponymous two irons. My new Rowenta on the left (blue), and my old inherited Philips on the right (green).

The eponymous two irons. My new Rowenta on the left (blue), and my old inherited Philips on the right (green).

Therefore the iron was ordered. Amusing side story: the iron, wrapped, was left on a bus on the way home from DH’s work, and as I was next into town near the bus shop I got to collect my birthday present (still wrapped) from the lost property, and pay the collection fee!


Comparing the shape and size of base plates. My new Rowenta on the left with its wonderful point, and my old inherited Philips on the right.

So how is it? In one way it is still just an iron (without flooding so far), but there are ways I can tell this is better iron for pressing – it is heavier (nearly a kilo!) with a larger baseplate with an excellent pointy ‘nose’ to get into tight places. It holds more water than my old iron (and is quicker to fill), and the stream control is much easier to use. Therefore, I can tell it is a better iron  for my purposes than my old one. However, while reading about irons I read some opinions that you may as well buy a cheap iron as it will do everything you need (heat and steam), I can see the logic in this. My new iron cost about £60, but if you are on a budget, I can see no reason why a cheaper iron would not do the job you need it to, it just might not last as long. That aside, I am enjoying my new iron.

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