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My Iron Disaster

Based on our recent discovery that every quilter, if not every woman, has an iron disaster story, we asked you to send us yours. We have now gathered up a handful of them, and want to share them here with you. If you have your own iron disaster story, send it along to us at rholland@planetpatchwork.com and we'll add it to this collection. We will also send a bit of lagniappe to the person sending the best submission. We have some good ones so far!


There's a Fly in My Iron, Dear Liza, Dear Liza

I do a lot of sewing and keep my iron out most of the time. Recently, I discovered I had a boiled fly in my iron water well. I tried everything I could think of to get it out to no avail. I went to HGTV.com and posted on the Quilting site about my boiled fly problem. I received all kinds of suggestions. Then the story took on a life of its own with suggestions of "I know an Old Woman". Someone suggested to get a straw and suck it out. Of course, this was good for several more suggestions. This eventually had over 600 postings and about 1000 people viewed it. But the fly was still in my iron.

I filled the iron with water and shook it very hard. The boiled fly broke up and washed out when I dumped the water out. Then the ladies online thought I should have a funeral and the story was off and running again.

Marge Cornwell
Ft.Wayne, IN


Not Just For Women

It is not only women who can make smoke while the iron is hot.

Nearly 60 years ago, 1949 to be exact, I was living with several other young men in a hostel in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. We were all employees of the N.Z. Government, which had transferred us to Wellington for training. Most of us stayed for two years, my own transfer was indeterminate, possibly
only a few months.

Our domestic skills varied. Some could manage very well, others had perhaps been shielded by their mothers from such essentials as washing and ironing, so that the need to look after themselves came as a rude shock.

I can recall one incident when one 'Peter', boiled up his white underwear with a pair of red woollen football sox. The result, singlets and briefs in a delicate shade of pink, plus a pair of badly shrunken sox.

One Saturday afternoon, Tom had washed and dried his shirts, sox etc., ironed the parts that would show - i.e. the cuffs and fronts of his shirts, then he belatedly decided to restore the creases in his workday worsted trousers. Tom had previously switched off the power to the iron, so he spread the trousers out on the wooden ironing board, switched the power on again, and lay briefly down on his bed to await the reheating of the iron. His mistake at this stage was to leave the iron, face down, on his garment.

I shared the room with Tom and had been downtown shopping with a couple of other hostel residents. We came home late in the afternoon, through the front door and immediately smelt smoke. Quickly up the stairs and into the room. Here was Tom, sound asleep on his bed and lucky he not been asphyxiated. The iron nearly red hot, had burnt through his trousers, through the ironing board cover and the blanket underneath, and was a good half inch into the wooden ironing board.

Since that day, I have tried to avoid ironing clothes. Fortunately I have a very understanding spouse.

Gordon Cooper
Tauranga, New Zealand.


Iron Legs

When I was younger I was ironing in the summer and it was unusually hot, so I was wearing shorts and sitting on a stool.  I dropped the iron square on my two thighs and have an iron imprint on both thighs. Ouch for a few weeks.

Dottie Cardullo


Harvest Gold (and Black)

Back in the 1970's when a lot of things in your home were Harvest Gold, so was my couch. It was part of a new set of furniture that I loved. I had 2 small children and an even smaller house, so the ironing board didn't stay set up all of the time. When I had one item to touch up I would plug in the iron, kneel in front of the couch and use the cushion as my ironing surface. It worked for a long time until one day I walked away from the area while the iron was heating up (only for a second or two) and when I came back, the iron had fallen over and I now had a black iron print in the middle of the cushion. Needless to say that cushion stayed flipped over for many years to come.

Sandy Kalmeyer
Seville, Ohio

Hole in My Pocket

My first sewing attempts began as many people do by being in 4-H. As years went by the projects were more detailed and into fashion wear. In my senior year in 4-H I was to make a dress. I chose a pattern with a fitted waist, button up the top front, puffy sleeves and two-tone trim and was sort of a nautical theme. I chose navy for the main fabric and white for the trim.

As a typical teenager with a hectic social life, I waited to the last minute to work on the dress. I actually finished it around midnight before I had to turn it in at 8 AM the next morning. I was very proud of myself as I tried it on and it looked very good, hem was even, all thread tails had been clipped, the buttons were all tightly anchored and evenly spaced. Looked like a grand champion ribbon dress to me.

Of course you always want to give your projects one good once over with an iron before you submit it. I wanted it to be very crisp looking and I turned the iron on high. I carefully laid it on the ironing board and made sure I wouldnít have any unwanted creases. I started with the skirt portion and pressed it out perfectly. Moved the dress down on the board and started with the bodice. Well the iron had time by then to get very very hot. Scorched a hole right
into to. Talk about a panic.

Itís midnight and not enough fabric or time to make another one. My creative mind is racing. Ahh! Iíll make a pocket to go over the hole and make a handkerchief to go into the pocket, even found a nautical embellishment to fuse to the pocket. I finished it and carefully pressed the dress.

I submitted very smug with myself for rescuing an otherwise ruined dress. Waited till judging the next day and to my surprise it only got a white ribbon. The comment on the judges score card was of course critical about the burn hole.

I learned several lessons with that event. First donít wait until the last minute, purchase enough fabric to make two and the most important lesson was to know the proper iron setting for the fabric.

Carol Redman
Mt. Vernon, IN


Tulle Tragedy

My sister and I made most of our clothing through the high school and college years. There were many late nights the day before an event as we made the buttonholes and put in the hems so we could wear the outfit the next day. My father watched with amusement every Christmas Eve day as we pushed to finiish a dress. With this track record of last minute finishes, it was no surprise to him that this happened on my wedding day.

I was married in April, 1977. I fell in love with (and bought) a pattern for a wedding gown two years before this. I sewed this dress and was finished with the dress, including buttons, button loops, hems, etc. at the end of November, 1976. My dad was quietly amazed. In the Spring, I would have to find a headpiece. I purchased a headpiece and 3 yards of tulle to sew on the headpiece, as a simple but very long veil. Simple - so it could wait to be done. On the day of the wedding, cars were washed, the house was clean, and it was time to make the veil! I took the 3 yards of tulle which hadn't been out of the bag since I purchased it, cut it to a simple shape and attached it to the headpiece. Whoa - it was wrinkled, and then there is the crease from being folded on the bolt!

My sister was ready to help and volunteered to iron the tulle netting. The wrinkles came out at a low setting, but the crease did not! with my permission, she pushed the iron temperature up a little. Still a crease remained. She pushed the temperature up again. A scream came from the room. The crease was gone, but so was an iron shaped section of the tulle! The higher temperature had melted a whole right in the middle of the veil. It was 1:00 in the afternoon. The wedding was at 4:30.

Now what? We decided we would have to get more tulle and start over. One person would have to detach the tulle from the headpiece and the other would go to Hancock Fabrics, ten minutes away. My sister started ripping out, and my dad volunteered to drive me to the store. Arriving at the store, I went right to the tulle section, found a bolt of white, and took it to the cutting table. There was a crowd at the cutting table. Someone asked me if the tulle was for a veil. I said Yes and they asked me when I was getting married. When I said, "Today," they let me go to the front of the line! My dad was waiting out in the car, and we drove home where my sister had the headpiece ready. We started again and this piece was not so wrinkled and creased because it was fresh off the bolt.

My dad had a great story to tell at the reception.

Linda Johnson
Berkeley, Illinois


Party Favor

We were at a rubber stamping home party. There was a room full of women. The representative was going to show how to use the rubber stamps to emboss velvet.

Crowded as it was, the iron was set on the floor by the chair to heat up.
A good time was being had by all. When it came time to emboss it was discovered that the iron had overturned and burned a hole in THE BRAND NEW CARPETING!

A hush fell over the room. The now-sick hostess was trying to be gracious. It was not the way you wanted your party to go.

Fortunately they were able to patch the carpet days later.

I don't want to ever live through that experience again.

Jeannine Aderhold

Battle Scar

Well, I guess we've all managed to scorch our best loved piece of clothing, buy the worst thing that I scorched was ME! Everyone knows not to lean across the iron to move something, don't they? But who knows why I did - galloping senility perhaps! For many years I had a scorch mark on the inside of my forearm, complete with the steam holes.

A trip to the Doctor saw me with some cream to ease the pain initially. Nonetheless, it was quite a show piece for quite some time, people would comment on the mark, saying that it looked uncannily like an iron! Eventually it faded away. Pity really ... I kind of miss my battle scar!

Gwen Hyde

Once Upon a Snowboard

My story involves neither me nor ironing clothing or fabric. It involves my son and his snowboard. A number of years ago, after we had recently redecorated our son's room with new paint, wallpaper and carpet, he took up the sport of snowboarding (being a Minnesota kid and all). Unfortunately, I was not aware that snowboard maintenance involved waxing the board's bottom on a regular basis. And the way to ensure a smoothly waxed surface was to iron the board's bottom after applying the wax. My son proceeded to do his snowboard waxing in his bedroom, on the floor, "borrowing" my good iron to give his board its finishing touch. Unfortunately, while he was busy waxing, he did not notice that the heated iron had fallen over on its sole plate. Apparently it sat there for a number of seconds (minutes?) before he discovered the overturned iron. Of course, when he lifted it, there was an absolutely perfect imprint of the iron's bottom in his relatively new carpet. To make matters worse, the imprint was only a few feet from the door into his room which made it somewhat difficult to hide. We did move his bed to that wall and managed to cover most of the "ironprint" but the furniture arrangement was a little funky at best. Our son is now in his mid-20s and lives out-of-state while he attends graduate school. But the "ironprint" is still alive and well in his bedroom!

Laura Runge
Stillwater, Minnesota




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