Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Confessions of an Iron Thief: Maytag Digital Smartfill Iron & Vertical Steamer Review

Irons. Am I wrong in thinking they are the bane of many a sewist's existence?

An iron is a mission-critical tool for sewing. But, if you are like me, you probably already have one in your home from your pre-sewing days for pressing shirts and other wrinkly things and cringe at the thought of shopping for and spending on such a utilitarian item. So, it wasn't until my leaky but nice-and-heavy iron gave up the ghost and I was left with nothing but a travel iron to use that I bit the bullet and bought my first iron for the Craft Lounge.  

After polling friends, I decided on the Maytag SmartFill Iron & Vertical Steamer that Oonaballoona reviewed back March 2015. The price was right and Oona liked its features and functioning. So I ordered it. 

Here's my confession: I was sent the wrong iron. 

Here's the thing about being a new parent: I didn't notice.*

So I used my Maytag Digital SmartFill Iron & Vertical Steamer for some time before realizing that it was not the iron I thought it was. More than once I even patted myself on the back for buying the best dang $50 iron ever and wondering why anyone would ever pay more. Then I realized it was an $80 iron. But now I am hooked on this iron and will gladly pay the more that this model cost to replace it when the time comes (and after it's 2 year warranty expires). It's a great value.

Here's are the virtues of this iron**: 
  • digital thermostat with 4 settings gives you a precise and consistent temperature
  • goes from off to max heat in under a minute and beeps when ready
  • if you press at a high heat and then lower it to press cooler, it beeps when it's cooled to the temp you want (this may be my favorite feature)
  • ceramic sole plate heats evenly and glides easily over fabric
  • gunk doesn't seem to stick to the sole plate somehow
  • loads of steam - yay! - and variety of settings as well as steam and spray buttons
  • no leaking - I can turn off the steam and press pattern tissue without fear of moisture even with a full water tank 
  • water tank detaches for easy filling
  • also comes with a cute little pitcher for filling the tank while attached
  • ball and socket sort of cord attachment makes me feel like there is less of a chance of the cord getting loose and pulling away from the iron, which is what did my last iron in. Instead the cord sort of swivels around where it attaches to the iron. (hard to explain)
How cool, right? 

I've been using this iron for about 6 months now, and have pressed silk, wool, cotton, linen blend, rayon and a few synthetics. I've used a variety of fusibles including hair canvas and other interfacings and used the iron to fuse iron-on vinyl to the changing pad I sewed for my sister. This iron has handled every fabric pretty perfectly. When I've needed a really crisp press or just a touch of warmth, my iron has delivered. The MAX heat setting really does a great job on fibers that need heat like linen. And the low setting is cool enough for the most scorch and melt-prone fabrics I've sewn (probably Taco's Halloween costume). And the steam is abundant and non-leaky.

I used my iron on fusible vinyl, cottons and fusible hair canvas for this one project. 
The ceramic sole plate took a little getting used to, but now I really like it. It has a different but good feel as it glides over fabric. 

Honestly, the thing I like most about this iron is that it is just plain easy to use. It heats in a flash, the settings for both temperature and steam are clear and accurate, and it presses like a dream. The tank is easy to fill and doesn't leak. The iron beeps when hot and feels like it's a good weight in my hand. It presses lots of different fabrics well. I always thought of pressing as one of the more tedious chores in sewing, but now it seems like much less of a hassle.

Anyway, this is probably my first "grown up" iron. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. But if you are looking for an iron that is easy to use, does a good job and is a step up without breaking the bank this one is a winner in my book.

* I did try to sort it out when I did notice, but because I was a disorganized new parent and couldn't find my e-receipt, forgot my log in, had already been using the iron, etc. I was told to just keep it. Mwahahahahaha!

** NAYY - I am a totally ordinary schlub. I have no connection or affiliation with Maytag or Amazon or, well, anyone else who might give me free stuff like an iron. Aside from the "discount" I received from being sent the wrong model of this iron, I am an ordinary customer with my own opinion. (My opinion on being sent the wrong iron is, again, Mwahahahaha!)

***Blogger suggested Dschubba as the autocorrect for my misspelling of schlub(b). I found this word so interesting that I googled it: Dschubba is a traditional Arabic name for Delta Scorpii, a star in the constellation Scorpius. Am I alone in finding that fascinating?  

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