Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the egg-shaped iron

I love sewing gadgets and one of the strangest looking gadgets in my sewing room is this egg-shaped iron.
Recently, my sewing friend, Esther Grant of Tiger Swallow Tales left this comment on my facebook page: "Laurie, could you please tell us a little about those round/egg shaped irons that are advertised in older Sew Beautiful magazines and were used to iron smocked bishop sleeves? Did they work well and are any still available anywhere? I sure could use one".
Perhaps you too, have seen advertisements, like shown above in old issues of Sew Beautiful Magazine or Creative Needle (no longer in publication), and wondered about the odd egg-shaped iron.
The advertisement reads "The unique oval head reaches those "hard-to-get-at" pockets, puffs, and ruffles. Shapes contours and seams while sewing. Great for dressmaking, smocking, needlework...even for doll clothes".
So to answer Esther's question, Yes! I do use and I like my puff-iron. It's a valuable tool in my sewing room! I have had it for many years. This wonderful little iron solves the problem of ironing those "hard-to-get-at" places, ruffles, and especially puff sleeves. It has a high and low setting, but be careful, you can easily burn yourself on this iron!
It clamps to a table or your ironing board, so that both your hands are free. All you do is slip the sleeve over the egg-shaped iron and with a back and forth motion, you can easily iron a puff sleeve that you can't iron with a regular iron.
It also works great on a baby bonnet!
Another great use for this iron is when you have curved seams that need to be ironed - it's easy to just iron those curves on the puff iron, helping you to shape the contour of the seam without the risk of tearing seams or fragile fabric.
You can also puff up velvet by using a damp cloth between the iron and the velvet as you press it over the head. A slight steam will result and any velvet that is crushed or has folds in it will iron out and look like new again!

Now the question you all are probably wondering....where do you get one? Well, the bad news is that the Vin-Max Puff Irons are no longer available, as the factory that produced them burned down at the end of 2007. At that time they did not anticipate continued production. The good news is that often times you can find them on ebay!


Cynthia Gilbreth said...

I love mine and am not selling it!

Alicia said...

I have one of the original, all-metal Puff Irons with no hi/lo, just "HOT". I would be lost without it. I use it on sleeves, bonnets, and puffing strips.

You learn quickly how to use it without touching it with your fingers, hands, or arms!

Esther Grant said...

Thanks so much, Laurie! Nice to learn about the puff iron's history and that it actually performs well. My mother taught me to iron embroidery on the wrong side of the fabric to make the embroidery and fabric "stand out" on the right side and the puff iron sure does exactly that. I was so excited to to find a web site that showed it for sale (, but when I tried to purchase it, I was told they haven't had any for a long time. Looks like I'll have to keep a look-out on E-Bay. I'll let you know if I succeed. :)

Julie Warner said...

You'd think one of our many sewing manufacturers would pick this item up and start carrying it again. Maybe we need to start requesting it!

Anonymous said...

There is one on Ebay right now

Elsie said...

Laurie I love that Vin-Max Puff iron. I have to have one. I looked on e-bay and they have one so I will bid on it. That is just about the neatest thing. I can't believe they don't sell it anymore. Thanks for showing me what it was and where I can find it.

MamboinVA said...

I bought one brand new in box at an estate sale with a box full of other goodies $5. Can’twait To use it.


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