Irons Again… Gravity Fed, Pressurized Steam Generator, and Shoes!

Hello everyone!
Summer is rolling along and it is heating up, at least in my neck of the woods.  July seems to be flying by,and I can’t figure out where the time is going!  After my post last week, I had a question about gravity fed irons, vs steam generated irons, and what is the difference?

A gravity fed iron uses gravity to bring the water from a tank to the iron.  The tank has to be above  the iron.  It can hang from a hook on the ceiling or you can get an IV stand to hang the tank.  The water comes into the iron and the steam is created in the iron.  Because the water is stored outside of the iron, (as in a steam set up), the iron is usually smaller and not as heavy as a household iron.  The gravity fed iron typically has to use distilled water or you have to use a demineralizer packet in the water.  The gravity fed iron does NOT usually have a temperature adjustment.  It does not stand up – you rest the iron on a silicone pad.

This is what one looks like in ‘person’ (I found this picture on the web):



A pressurized steam iron (I showed this a couple of posts ago) takes up more room, as it comes with a tank to hold the water.  The steam is generated inside the boiler tank and then goes through the hose to the iron.

The iron is not making the steam – that is the job of the boiler.  This iron DOES have temperature control.  The temperature and pressure of the steam in this type of ironing system allows for a ‘dry’ steam, or steam where you do not see water droplets.

I really like my pressurized steam iron.  They are a bit more expensive than the gravity fed irons, but for what I do, it works for me!  There is a following for both types – I think it is personal preference and what you are using it for.

To recap = the main difference is that a gravity fed iron makes the steam in the iron, and the pressurized steam iron system makes the steam in the boiler and then it is transferred to the iron via a cord.
Now on to shoes and soles…..

Who know an iron needs shoes?  (stay tuned for my favorite shoe joke).

Irons can have different types of soles, usually stainless steel, ceramic, non-stick (teflon), and titanium.  Not all irons or types of irons are available with all types of sole plates.  The most common is stainless steel.  Teflon can scratch and peel, especially if you are constantly ironing over glass head pins.  Ceramic is made by coating an aluminum soleplate, and while it does have even temperatures, when it wears it can peel and crack.  Titanium has non-stick properties, but can get very hot.  Again, personal preference – you just need to get to know your iron, whatever the type of sole plate, and use accordingly.

Iron shoes are used on iron sole plates to help you iron specific fabrics.  The shoes can be malleable or hard.

This iron shoe is teflon and molds around the sole plate.  It has a spring that goes over the handle and bends over the nose.

This iron shoe is hard and attaches with a spring.  It is made for specific irons, so you have to know what model iron you have when you order.  The purpose of an iron shoe is to protect the fabric from the iron – it can prevent the fabric from having a ‘shine’ (great when pressing wool), can prevent the fabric from melting, and also from scorching.  I like to use mine especially if I am pressing wool!

*** TIP – How to remove scorch marks – make a paste of equal parts of salt and lemon juice.  Rub into the scorch marks and that should help them go away! ***

Next week, I will move on to pressing notions and tools!  In the mean time, I am filming a quick little video that I will be loading onto my youtube channel (yes, this is the first video) on the Long Stitch, which is a stitch on some of the Bernina machines.  If this stitch is available on Viking, Pfaff, Elna, Babylock, Brother, or Janome, please let me know, but note, it is NOT a basting stitch!  From what I have gathered so far, it is not available anywhere else, but it just may be called something else on a different brand.  The Long Stitch is great for making gathers that look like little pleats!

Enjoy, and Happy Stitching,



4 thoughts on “Irons Again… Gravity Fed, Pressurized Steam Generator, and Shoes!

    1. Hi Carla, I have not used LauraStar myself. When I have been at trade shows, I have heard comments that they seem to break down more than usual. I would research online and look at user comments/recommendations to see how the users like them. Hope to see you soon!

  1. Vaunt, I have a Bernina 450 and 740 (the older model) and am wondering what the stitch number might be. Maybe a picture of the stitch????

    1. Hi Ann, I am in the middle of doing a tutorial, that will hopefully be up this week. It does not have a number, as it is considered an editing stitch (which is why it is under the 1 icon on the newer machines). It is 2 long stitches, one on top of the other ( I will show them in my next blog post for you), and when it is engaged, it stitches every other stitch. That is what makes it very different from the basting stitch. It is usually found on the top line machine in each number range (so when I bought my 580, they made a 530/560/580 and it was only on the 580). I am pretty sure it was on all of the new 800 series. I doubt it is on the 450, but would think that maybe all of the 700s would have ti . I will look around a bit, but click on your 1 icon and see if you find it there. Hope to see you soon,

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