Ironing – The Work Of The Devil

Thank you all so much for the comments on yesterday’s post. Such a collection of wit and wisdom. I feel very privileged.

It saddens me, however, to reveal that certain elements from the lunatic fringe exploited this healthy debate to secrete sinister messages elsewhere. Whilst we were all merrily chatting about our bodies, two people left a comment on my earlier post on hand sewing. I can’t actually say their words out loud (they’d stick in my gullet) so I’ll just copy and paste and you can read for yourself:

From Sharon Sews:

I hate it [hand sewing]. I hate it. I hate it. Whew, that feels good to admit it publicly. That doesn’t mean I don’t do it when necessary, it’s just not my favorite part of sewing. Now, can we talk ironing? I absolutely *adore* ironing!

From Clever Blonde:

I love ironing too, my hubby and I used to race each other to do it, now I get it all.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? I hate ironing. It’s a standing joke that my favourite hobby includes having the iron and ironing board constantly to hand. I know it’s important to press whilst sewing, but jeez – I hate ironing as a domestic task. It makes me feel down trodden, it’s boring and never-ending and just like … why? Why?! WHY!!!

Enough. You’re probably going to tell me how much you adore this task, aren’t you? Or are you as well-balanced as me and swear at the iron every time you pass it?

STOP PRESS! Another Pattern Pyramid giveaway has gone live over at Sew Brunswick. She has some excellent patterns still available for a winner. I’m so pleased to see parcels arriving already in Australia.

Plus, don’t forget – you have until midnight tonight to share a make for the WIP Pitch.

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61 Responses to Ironing – The Work Of The Devil

  1. Sam says:

    Ha ha! I hate ironing as well. In fact the only time I will “happily” iron is when I’m sewing, and even then I’ve been known to get my husband to do it. Hubby is absolutely brilliant with the iron, he does all his own, and most of mine as well! How lucky am I!?

  2. I also hate ironing. it’s done out of necessity rather than love. I will collect least 10 items that need pressing before I even consider it worth getting the iron out!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I hate ironing too – in fact I put it off so much I usually iron things just before putting them on! Having said that one of my pet peeves is seeing someone who has gone to a lot of trouble to make a garment and obviously hasn’t used the iron once!

  4. tailorfairy says:

    I hate ironing as well. In tailoring-classes my teachers always told me that ironing was my weakness in the sewing process… but well, I graduated anyhow. πŸ˜‰ I don’t like hand-sewing that much either…

  5. Anne W says:

    I hate ironing too. It just seems so pointless! But I always have the iron & board out to press while I sew.

  6. colognegrrl says:

    So many people lining up against ironing – I must take the opposite stand. While I wouldn’t count it as a hobby, ironing is one of my favourite household chores: it’s clean, you can stay at one place, don’t have to crawl around on your knees, and you see exactly the progress you’ve made. What’s not to like about that? It’s so great to look at a row of hangers with nicely ironed clothes!

    • annie says:

      Yes, then people wear all these nicely ironed things and you’ve got to stand by and watch them get wrinkled. Not good.

  7. Roobeedoo says:

    Ah… now you see there was definitely a time in my life when ironing was my escape – because when you have crawling-stage babies they have to be kept out of the room while mummy has the ironing board out and a dangling flex attached to a hot iron… Doing the ironing used to earn me at least an hour’s child-free bliss every Saturday morning! πŸ˜‰

    • Leith says:

      A girl of my own heart! I used to lock myself into the study/sewing room and watch Grey’s Anatomy on the computer and do ALL the ironing. Just so I got some peace and quiet and my husband had to look after the kids. It was utter bliss! Only problem was, there is only so many clothes to iron…

    • Jane says:

      I still do that, even though my kids are way past the crawling stage! I iron whilst I listen to the radio, I don’t love it but it’s definitely very satisfying when it’s all finished. x

  8. Chris says:

    I love patchwork but I never iron , when we lived in the UK I had a lady who collected the clothes and brought them back ironed bliss , now we live in France jeans and tee shirt are the order of the day providing I give them a good shake I can avoid the evil iron .

  9. My father told me, when I was a teenager, “If you don’t learn how to iron you’ll never find a husband”. So I swore off it there and then. Yuck. Symbol of domestic enslavement.
    What we do with sewing is ‘pressing’ isn’t it? S’different yes? Yes.
    I love hand sewing too – probably because there’s no machinery to have to fiddle around with settings/ swear at and untangle.
    In summary you are 100% correct!

  10. I loathe ironing and I never ironed anything until I started sewing. I wear jersey tops and give them a good shake when I take them out of the washing machine πŸ˜‰ In fact I had an iron and irning board only because my mum bought them for me years ago.

  11. Butterfly says:

    It really depends on the fabric. Press some medium weight cotton? Yep! Press some beautiful but horrible synthetic fabric at a contoured dart? It won’t even hold a press! But I still torture myself anyway.

  12. IngeMaakt says:

    I don’t know if hated ironing before I started sewing, I just never did it. I used to buy clothes that didn’t need to be ironed. Out of – you know- laziness. No ironing before getting dressed in the morning = staying in bed a little longer. But now I sew, and I love what the iron is doing to my seams. So me and my iron, we are slowly getting to know each other better πŸ™‚

  13. Jacqueline says:

    I hate ironing, though I know people who iron their sheets, t-shirts and underwear! I just don’t get it. I will iron my own cotton tops, but really don’t iron anything else, other than when I am sewing. That’s different though!

  14. Kerry says:

    I don’t hate iroing as such, I just can’t be bothered to do it and it never occurs to me – despite the large (and growing) number of garments I have which have to be ironed before wear. Even though I have the ironing board out for pressing a few times a week, it just NEVER occurs to me to kill two birds with one stone and iron some of my neglected items πŸ™‚

  15. Sandy P says:

    I don’t mind ironing, quite like it in fact.

    Now, vacuuming…..HATE it with a passion. All my hoovering is angry hoovering.

  16. I don’t hate ironing. I just can’t really see the point if it’s avoidable. I do it well (drummed into me in days when clothes had to be ironed) I like the look of nicely pressed clothes but, heck, think of the planet. I haven’t quite arrived at the point of bravery where I’ve given away my ironing board (like one of my friends), but I certainly use it for a lot of things other than ironing.

  17. I absolutely LOVE ironing – especially men’s shirts (not quite sure what that says about me – certainly born in the wrong decade!) Ironing is even better when the clothes have been outside on the line to dry and the smell of freshly ironed clothes is one of my favourites. Reading the above the comments, I think this makes rather in the minority . . .

  18. Juliette says:

    My ironing board and my iron are always out in the living room…but I also only use them when I’m sewing. Most of the time the ironing board is cluttered with fabric, all kinds of notions and whatever pattern I’m working on at the moment (yes, I live in a small flat and this, along with the little and just-as-cluttered desk on which my sewing machine lives, is the only space I could claim to store (ahem…) my sewing gear!). I even suck so much at ironing/pressing that I recently burned some of the fabric included in my current sewing project (a Hawaiian-themed Lily dress) just because I hadn’t understood that I could actually switch the steam off on my iron…but, well, live and learn!

  19. I hate ironing, and hate the iron even more. I have got through an incredible number of irons in my life, they die, break or stop heating. They commit suicide by leaping off the ironing board, melting holes in the carpet or just simply gum up and have to be binned.
    Maybe it would be better if I just filled them with distilled water and bought a top of the range model. Can any UK people recommend a really good model?

  20. Tamsin W-P says:

    I too like ironing. I used to do all the ironing when I was a teenager. It meant that I could listen to the chart show in its entirety, on my own! In my 20’s I did not iron – too busy going out & having fun! These days I save up to enough to see me through a film so I get it all done whilst being entertained – howzat for multi tasking!

  21. makeitgiveit says:

    I am a hateful vaccummer and pretty much a non-ironer – Unless ABSOLUTELY necessary I can’t be bothered. When I am ironing I don’t actually mind it I just can’t be bothered wasting valuable sewing time ironing stuff.

  22. K2 says:

    I like ironing when I’m making something, but I hate it when I have to iron clothing when it comes out of the wash. It just seems tedious and never ending because you just have to do it again when it comes out of the wash again.
    It is funny because just yesterday I was taking my 10 year old son how to iron. He likes to hang out with me in my sewing room. He touches things and drives me crazy unless I involve him or give him a task. He seems to like the ironing. I think it is the danger of the heat and steam that he likes. So, I think that will be his job next time I’m sewing.

  23. Gemma says:

    Now I wouldn’t say I love ironing, but it’s definitely the household chore that I like the most. I find it quite relaxing – I guess it’s the monotony of it – and I love looking at those crisply piled stacks of freshly ironed laundry! I find cleaning in general much more frustrating – it takes time and quite a lot of energy and after 5 minutes it’s like you haven’t done anything at all! At least with ironing, you get to wear the clothes or sleep on the lovely crisp sheets and really appreciate your own efforts!!

  24. i hate ironing too! i only do it if i absolutely have to (linen trousers) or when sewing. i am currently not looking at lovely blouse patterns because i know if i make them, they will need ironing so i will rarely wear them! hubby irons his own shirts.

  25. gingermakes says:

    Hmm, I kind of like ironing. I never do it in one big glut– I just iron what I need to for the day. I have this thing, instilled in me by my dad, that there’s no point in wearing something like a buttondown if it isn’t crisp and neat. Personally, I think people look better wearing t-shirts than in a wrinkly dress or dress shirt! BUT… I did get burned this week when hot water poured out of the bottom of my iron (for no discernible reason) and onto my bare leg. It’s a struggle finding an iron that can hold up to a sewist’s demands! Any recommendations for a good iron?

  26. Helen Made says:

    Karen I am SO with you on this – I dislike ironing with a passion! I’m happy to spend time pressing my seams whilst sewing etc, but I hand the ironing of clothes over to the other half – I use the excuse that most of the stuff is his work shirts and trousers anyway, so he should do it! ;D Luckily for me he’s willing to oblige! lol

  27. sylkotwist says:

    I write this as I look at the overflowing pile of ironing and have a quiet inwards cry at the enormity of the task ahead … sod it, I’m off to meet my husband in my vintage polyester number and I don’t care what anyone says, it’s practical!

  28. Summerflies says:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE!! More importantly do any live near me????
    Of all the household jobs.. all of them… I hate ironing. I don’t even hate anything else. I do it but I hate it.
    I don’t have my pattens yet … will be waiting with baited breath till I get them now!

  29. Lynne says:

    Um, it’s seems I’m one of the minority who also likes ironing, so I feel I have to speak up for us! I agree that the “staying in the one place” bit is good, that the gratification of seeing the pile of nicely ironed clothes grow is very satisfying, and I totally agree with the person who said that line-dried clothes are lovely to iron!! I put the television on, and catch-up of something I’ve recorded, and the ironing is done in no time – stop throwing things at the computer!! πŸ™‚

    Now, on the other hand, cooking is a complete and total waste of my time!!!! Grrr!!! I’d rather clean the house from top to bottom than cook. And it doesn’t help that I’m completely hopeless at it. Boiling an egg is hit and miss – seriously! Ask me to peel a potato, and I’d probably throw it at you!!

    • LinB says:

      Put eggs into cold water in pan. Bring whole pan up to a slow boil. Turn off the heat. When the water is cool, eggs are properly cooked through, and tender — not rubbery. Proteins prefer a long, slow cook.

  30. LinB says:

    It is not for nothing that images of The Devil often portray said evil entity with a hammer and anvil, forging iron into shackles. “Bleh!” to ironing. Pressing? … well, it is a necessary step. Still don’t like to do it.

  31. lisa g says:

    i LOVE pressing as part of the sewing process. it gives me complete satisfaction to see a beautiful crisp seam. however… ironing as a household chore? pffffft. if my husband wants crisp dress shirts, he’s on his own! then again, he enjoys the ironing thing so it works out. if i iron anything, it’s done 5 minutes before i wear it. around here we’re lucky if i’ve merely gotten the clothes washed, let alone ironed! laundry ranks just slightly above scrubbing the bathroom floor in my mind.

  32. Angela says:

    This is too funny! I will humbly admit (ducking head) that I really do not mind ironing, it has always been one of my more “well-liked” chores. I’d far rather iron than cook…wash dishes… clean the bathroom..mop the floor…sweep…. etc. I totally agree with Lynne in EVERYTHING she said – I catch up on some TV while ironing, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting time on the boob tube. When done the clothes look so nice and frest. And…. I really do NOT like to cook! Sigh… at all. If we could fast 6 days a week, I’d be thrilled. It is boring, time-consuming, and never done (especially with teens in the house). Seriously, no joke, my 15 yo son is a better cook than I am. (me blushing……) Oh, I have some things memorized, basic stuff I do over and over since I am apparently the one in charge of getting food of some sort on the table regularly. But to really make something tasty and know how to use spices? Ha! You’d want my son any day of the week over me. I’ll be over there catching up on ironing, not a problem…. LOL!!! As a matter of fact, I have gladly given my 13 yo daughter the summer task of learning to cook. She could barely boil water, so she needs some practice, and I get to do LESS cooking! (big smile over here!!!)

  33. Shari says:

    I’m with the group who enjoys pressing seams, but dislikes pressing entire garments once they’re sewn. As a child I used to help my mother iron all my father’s handkerchiefs into neat little squares to fit into his back pocket. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized I was spending time ironing something that was never really seen and then used to blow his nose!

  34. oonaballoona says:

    love it. it makes the world a better place.

  35. Sara says:

    I agree that ironing our clothes is different than pressing seams while sewing. My husband and I agree that as long as we take out clothes out of the dryer while they’re still hot and hang them or fold them immediately, ironing is not necessary. And I never did it as a teenager, it didn’t matter how wrinkled my clothes were. I knew a family that ironed everything, even their t-shirts. Everything that came out of the dryer got ironed and I never understood why the bother.

  36. Jenn-NY says:

    Back when my parents were poor college students with two little kids (what were they thinking?), my mother used to take in the neighbor’s ironing to make extra cash. So, for those who hate ironing, consider hiring it out to someone who needs it. As for me, I don’t like it as a task and avoid wearing clothing that needs it regularly. On the other hand, I kind of like pressing, molding fabric into shape when I’m making something.

  37. Catherine says:

    The only way anything gets ironed in my house is because I made myself a rule…. no pressing the sewing until the tumbling ironing pile is reduced!!! Ugh hot boring work….

  38. Louisa says:

    I’m signing in on the “like ironing but hate vacuuming” side. Now that my spouse is retired, he does the majority of the vacuuming which makes me very happy to iron his shirts for him. He has also taken over some of the cooking. Makes me wish he retired years ago!

    • Jenn-NY says:

      Ah yes–I hate vacuuming more than anything! I have ripped the carpet out of nearly every place I have ever lived (with landlord and/or parental consent). I would take ironing over vacuuming any day, even if it took twice as long to complete.

  39. Angela says:


    I did the same thing! Ironed tons of those little cloth handerchiefs that my dad used… I have noticed that over time they are simply folded and not ironed anymore… why couldn’t that have happened way back then? LOL!!

  40. Christine says:

    Ha! I love your angry iron picture! I don’t hate ironing as much as I used to, but I hate having to stop what I’m doing (at the machine) to press something. Oh, and unfortunately, I’m on the side of hating hand sewing too. Which is odd since I love cross stitch and embroidery. I just don’t think I’m doing it right and providing a stable base for my garments when I do it by hand.

  41. Theresa in Tucson says:

    I’m another one in the minority as I don’t mind ironing. It’s good for movie watching. I used to iron even my denim work shirts but don’t that anymore when i discovered most of my shirts could go for a 10-15 minute spin in the dryer, get a good shake and then onto a hanger to finish drying. The only things that get ironed now are church clothes and dress up because those need to look crisp and neat. Everyday clothes get the spin, shake, and hang and look fine. Life is too short to spend it ironing, unless of course there’s a movie I want to see and am in need of an excuse to hog the remote.

  42. Kelly says:

    I am a fortunate soul who’s husband does all the ironing. He’s retired military, and there’s no way I could meet up to his standards, so he took over long ago. And he even does mine, with some grumbling about all the “fiddly bits” on women’s clothes! I don’t mind to press while sewing, I learned long ago that it is the secret to the best looking results. If only I could set it up so I don’t have to get up and move from sewing machine to iron board every single time!

    • My boyfriend iron all his stuff and sometimes I can get him to do mine too. Lol

      • LinB says:

        DH used to complain when I spent less than 30 minutes per shirt, when I spray-starched and ironed his shirts — his dear mother couldn’t get it accomplished in under 30 minutes per shirt, so he thought it ought to take me at least that long. I told him that if my ironing wasn’t good enough for him, he could do it himself. Then I carried through on my threat not to iron for him (never make a threat you are not willing to carry out). 30 years on, we are still happily married, and he still irons his own shirts. And he takes less than 5 minutes per shirt to do them.

  43. Pella says:

    Only gets done as a cover for having the ironing board out to press the seams in the ongoing make. A couple of shirts looking business like folded on the tray underneath, is all it needs to look as though I’m really ironing, not amusing myself sewing.

  44. Nicky P says:

    I think I may have taken my hate of ironing to extremes! I iron once a year – and only then if a wedding/christening etc requires it. Otherwise, I purposely buy clothes that don’t need ironing. My first sewing forays are so that I can make smarter jersey tops for myself (for work) as they are hard to find when you’re petite.

    I figure life is too short to do what you hate – after all, no-one ever commented at a funeral on ‘how crisply ironed her clothes were’ πŸ˜‰

  45. Lydia says:

    Since I was little, I always enjoyed ironing — I used to beg my mom to let me iron — she hates it, and tells me not to waste my time, my husband doesn’t like things ironed — he hangs them up to dry, and his clothes are fairly wrinkle free– I have to convince him to let me iron his stuff, but like my mom, he doesn’t want me to waste my time. I like the zen like feel of wrinkles coming out when I iron — it is relaxing for me. I can’t say I enjoy ironing for hours — 30 – 40 minutes, is enough zen for me.

  46. Lol…pressing is one of my favourite things too.. Funny thing it’s that I never iron clothes, just my sewing seams …

  47. Elle says:

    I like ironing. But you have to do it right. Adjust ironing board so you can sit while you are doing it. Have something really good on the TV, a DVD of Mad Men is my current favourite. Have a beverage close at hand.

    I love the magic of taking a piece of wrinkled cloth and with moisture and heat you turn it into something smooth and beautiful. It’s even better if you dry your clothes outside, the fresh smell fills the house. The feeling of ironed sheets when you get into bed is heavenly, but even I don’t iron my sheets often.

  48. Nikki says:

    I also like ironing, but I only iron when I need too and mainly my clothes, fabric, bedding and school shirts. I don’t iron the kids stuff as they just stuff it in drawers or leave them dumped somewhere in their rooms, ironing their stuff is pointless. My mum also likes ironing!!

  49. Regina says:

    It is not ironing that I hate. I just hate today’s irons! I grew up with a classic Sunbeam steam iron. There was no automatic turn off that shut my iron down between stitching sessions. There was no blinking warning light to indicate my iron is plugged into the electric socket even if I have switched it off. I never had to clean the plate of my old iron, never! I never had the steam holes fill with lime deposit in my old iron, never, My old iron never leaked, or overheated, and there was not a million settings on that iron that I had no idea what to do with! See, I just hate today’s irons. (LOL) Oh, and why do these irons cost so much?

  50. Rose in SV says:

    Oh dear. My geeky sewing life has reached a new level (high or low, I wonder). I sent my iron 2886 miles (and across the border) to get repaired by the manufacturer. So my iron has travelled 5700 miles in the past 3 weeks, because I can’t stand sewing with my replacement Target special.

    I don’t like ironing or pressing, but it’s much easier with a premium iron.

  51. Lol, lol and more lol thank you everyone, even the hubby joined in the lol ing. This has taken ironing to a new level, across the seas we discuss ironing! Nice to see there are some other smart people who have realized ironing is ‘quiet time’. It’s probably the only time I don’t think.

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