Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Faking It


Photo courtesy Flickr

In a fit of housekeeping, I hid the ironing board from myself and then had to finish a freshly-washed jacket. An old friend told me her ironing basket had a label that read “Goodwill”. It took me years to appreciate her insight. Now I own only two garments that need ironing, and unfortunately, I was staring right at one of them the other day.

When the world was trying to teach me how to sew, I learned about the “pressing ham”, a sawdust-stuffed literally ham-shaped variant of a pillow that skilled sewers use to sculpt dimensional areas of projects. My wrinkled jacket is cut so simply that the shoulders are the only areas on it that aren’t flat, so I rolled a clean bath towel into a semblance of a ham, and steam-pressed the shoulders of the jacket over that form.

Back in the day, laundry maids ironed “flat work” on large tables. Doing so cuts ironing time to a tenth of what it takes to maneuver on a conventional board. Don’t do this on French polish, but if you have a table you’re willing to risk, protect the top with a Space Blanket and a layer of padding. A wooden drawing board is a good surface to use. A clean bath towel will do for padding unless you’re working on a major tablecloth. A well-used wool blanket is a good pad.

To finish the jacket, I unrolled the towel and spread it on a stone counter. Thanks to a steam iron that heats in a flash, the whole task took less time than retrieving and setting up the board I found a couple of days later.

-30-

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