Thursday, November 12, 2015

Irons for appliqué

I’ve had several students in my appliqué class on Craftsy ask about the mini iron I use and where to find one, so I thought I’d give a little info about a couple good options here. Any iron will do, but for small or detailed shapes, a smaller iron is easier to maneuver than a regular iron from the laundry room, and if you do a lot of appliqué with freezer paper templates and starch, it’s definitely worth the investment. If you can’t find one of these irons at your local quilt shop or fabric store, you can buy one online using the affiliate links below.

The actual iron I use in the class videos is a Dritz Petite Press, which is compact and lightweight, with adjustable angles for the head so you can position it most comfortably for you. I like a slender iron like this because it feels much more natural in the hand than a big clunky iron, so it’s easier to place precisely and move around along seam allowances. The weakness of this iron, though, is that it doesn’t quite get hot enough to easily press large freezer paper templates onto fabric, so I still have my full-size iron on hand alongside it.

An “iron on a stick” sealing iron like this one (often but not always branded as Hobbico) gets hotter and has a larger sole, so it reduces reliance on the regular iron for appliqué tasks. These are heavier than the Dritz ones, a good thing if you like a little more heft in your hand but not so good if you you have any hand troubles. The head is also fixed, so the handle angle is what it is. I’ve also seen heavy use by appliqué addicts burn out these irons, but you can extend their life somewhat by unplugging them to turn them off rather than ever turning the control knob to the off position.

I’ve personally used and been happy with both these irons, though there are certainly other options—many quilters have found travel irons that work well for them. Like any other appliqué tool, there’s no one-size-fits-all best; what works best for you is best. If you’ve used one of these or have another favorite iron for appliqué, please share your insights in the comments!

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