Whenever I pop into someone else’s craft space I go all swivel eyed. It is interesting to see where other textile designer/makers work, and what items they have dotted about their studio. When I popped to see Wendy at MIY to chat about the tools in my previous blog post I noticed some rather lovely irons sitting on the the side.
Wendy has 6 (so far), and picked them up in antiques markets in Lewes and Milton Keynes, and some of them were in a really sorry state and needed a bit of tlc to unearth the markings again.
As someone who loves history and sewing, I found these irons really interesting. When sewing you never think about using an iron – you plug it in and off you go. The only thing to take into consideration is temperature and steam settings, something that is just on a dial. It must have been tricky using a range to get these irons to the right temperature, so they would do their job properly, but not scorch the clothes. I think young maids and apprentices probably spent the first few months of their career living in dread of scorching! The irons would have needed to be picked up with a rag so your hands didn’t get burnt. Also, they would have been used in 2’s as one would be on the range heating up, while the other was being used. The irons all have markings – numbers to show the weight (I think), and other markings which are likely to be the makers details.
Wendy uses them to hold down pattern pieces, which is a lovely way of repurposing them. She has another 3 in her collection which I will photograph next time I am at hers. A quick look on the internet shows they can be bought for about £10 upwards, however one of the suggested uses is as a door stop. I much rather think of them being used in a sewing environment, where they are at home!
As ever, if you have any knowledge to add please do leave a comment.