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Buying a Steamer

ellaluna | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hello everyone!

My baby sister is getting married in May and my mom wants to buy a steamer to take care of the wedding clothes. I’m making the wedding dress, and we’re assembling the rest of the clothes from a lot of different sources, so having them steamed at the place we buy them isn’t an option.

I’ve worked in professional costume shops for years, so I’ve always had access to high-end (read: EXPENSIVE) steamers. Now that I am freelancing, I have an iron that also does vertical steaming, but with nowhere near the power of a professional steamer. And I live in a different city.

My mom is looking at “home” models (under a hundred bucks) but I am skeptical. I just don’t think it’s worth it. I’ve heard that Rowenta does a pretty good job, but all the reviews I’ve read indicate that they break in a year.

Has anyone had success with a home steamer?

km

Replies

  1. BarbSewAndSew | | #1

    So glad to see this topic as I just bought a Rowenta $29. steamer at a discount store and am very disappointed. My Rowenta iron has vertical steam and now I'm not sure why I bought the steamer when my iron didn't take the wrinkles out of my daughter's bridesmaid dress. Could it be that it needs more power? Info appreciated !! B

    1. ellaluna | | #2

      B-
      Since I posted this, I have been researching, researching, researching. I've always used Jiffy steamers in costume shops, and I'm beginning to see why. The whole point of a steamer is generous steam output. I've used cheaper models on some sets and it's really a waste of time. I usually end up going back to my iron. I use a press cloth and iron on the wrong side.If you are looking at steamers for one occasion, or one dress, I really don't think it's worth the money. You can spend $50-$90 on an iron that gives you good steam output -- but not as good as a steamer-- and find that it's not really worth it. If you are looking at a steamer because you do a lot of sewing and need it, then I think it's worth the extra money to get the Jiffy.And now for a mini-rant:In a frighteningly large percentage of the reviews I read, people were buying steamers to replace their irons. MANY of them were talking about their work shirts, and how disappointed they were because the steamer "didn't do its job".STEAMERS AND IRONS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. They are intended for different purposes. You want a crisp, starched work shirt? A steamer is not going to do it. You want to get the wrinkles out of your velvet drapes? An iron is not your friend!<end mini-rant>And for the bridesmaid dress, depending on the fabric and construction, a steam iron, a higher heat setting, and a press cloth may be what you need. Sometimes I will mist the press cloth with water (away from the garment) and then press it. You want to be careful with this, though, some fabrics won't stand up to it.Also, depending on where the dress came from, you may be able to take it to the store and have them steam it for you. If that doesn't work, I bet a dress shop or dry cleaners would do it for a fee. And if she is only wearing it for one day, I think it would be worth it to return the iron and pay someone else to steam it ;)Good luck!

      1. Palady | | #3

        KUDOS on your post of differentiating between steamers and irons.  Sometimes a purchase is made but people fall short "of getting it."

        Me

  2. dollmarm | | #4

    HI, I bought me a steamer yrs ago - thinking I would finally be able to throw that Iron away ! 
    OH yeah right ! 
    Ironing is not my forte' !!
    Well I did use it for many things, (still do)   BUT as the others have stated  -  they are not one in the same and can not  be interchanged.   :~(  
    They each have their own function. 

    I have the 'HOME TOUCH  - Perfect Steam Commercial Garment Steamer'
    (plus attachment for working with drapery)
    I bought mine at HECHT'S before MACYS bought them out. 
    I had a $50.00 coupon, plus there was those great sales they had and got a great deal off the price.  However - I do not remember what the price was.

    It is a great steamer but it can not press - that would be a presser or an iron. 

    I saw on TV the other day a Designer use an Iron as a Steamer.  He place the Iron just so close and he pressed the Steamer button and he held it there for a quite a while and then moved on to the next.  They showed his studio where he worked and I did not see anything that looked like a steamer.
     
    I have used my  Steamer with Delicate fabrics that I didn't want to iron.  Mine has a Stand attached and I can set it up in front of the garment I have on a hanging rack and steam that place and move the rod up and down at different setting for each place I want it smoother. 
    It is great for those slight wrinkles that when the clothes have stated longer in the dryer and I used it for my husbands shirt. 

    For seams and of course as you sew - you still  have to use the good ol'iron ! 
    Good luck with your new adventure,  :~)  tera

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