The Free Motion Quilting Project: Rowenta Travel Iron

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rowenta Travel Iron

It's Feature Friday today and I'm super excited to share an item with you that I've used for many years.

This is the Rowenta Travel Iron, quite possibly the best little iron made for quilting or crafting.

So what makes this little iron so wonderful?

First off, it's small and extremely lightweight. I can't stand irons that weight 15 pounds and feel like I'm pushing a lead ball around on my pressing table.

Heavy irons can cause a lot of wrist and arm fatigue, and this can be a real detriment for quilters just getting into prewashing and pressing their fabric.

Did I say that dreaded word.....Prewashing! Arrgh!

Yes, I'm an avid prewasher of all things fabric. Here's a video on prewashing:

Four years ago I hated prewashing my fabric because it meant hours of ironing and starching to get the fabric back to "normal" or back to the way it was before I washed it! 2 years and many ruined quilts later, I finally decided that prewashing was the way to go.

Not to jump on a soapbox about it, this is one of those things that quilters tend to get a very firm perspective on. I've found that by working with my fabric carefully: washing, drying, starching, then ironing, the cutting process is much easier and far more accurate.

And if the pieces are cut more accurately, you can bet they're going to piece better too!

free motion quilting | Leah DaySo I do wash every piece of fabric that comes into my house, dry it, then hang it up in the fabric closet until I'm ready to use it. There's no reason to iron it until it's actually going to be used.

When I am ready to make a quilt it's a simple process of starching and ironing each piece that's needed. It's not a super time investment or a hassle because the fabric has already been washed and dried.

Here's a video on the actual starching and ironing process as explained in my popular How to Piece Perfect Quilts ebook:

As for the actual starching and pressing process, I use Niagra brand spray starch that I've found at my local grocery store. This isn't available in all areas of the US, but if you do find it, buy 15 bottles because it's really good stuff!

I like the spray nozzle instead of the aerosol can because it's easier to tell how much you have in the bottle. You can also pour off the left over bit in the bottom of the bottle into the next bottle because the tops screw off.

After spraying the fabric with starch, I flip it over and give it a good press with my hands to really bond the starch with the fabric. Then it's pressing time!

I really like how hot the Rowenta Travel Iron gets while I'm pressing. This level of heat is particularly necessary when working with finicky things like binding or turned edge applique.

The extra long cord of this iron makes pressing much easier. I think there is a law in all houses that electrical outlets must be placed in the most inconvenient areas of each room! With a longer cord, I'm able to reach my ironing board without needing an extension cord.

So that's it for this Feature Friday!

Of course after writing all this out, I'm really craving an afternoon in the sewing room, simply pressing and cutting fabrics for a new quilt. What is it about the fall that just makes me want to jump into a new piecing project?!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Great info! Any tips on keeping the starch off your ironing board? Sometimes I iron things that I don't want to get residual starch on.

  2. I have been using the Rowenta Travel Iron for a little over a year now and I just love it. I have had a lot of irons for quilting over the years and this is by far my fav.

  3. I am so happy to see that someone besides me doesn't iron fabric until it's going to be used. Why do the work twice?

  4. I too LOVE my Rowenta travel iron. In fact, I have 3! I like to have extras for friends to use. I also went to Walmart and got a small folding table (it's about 18"x24")and made an ironing pad to fit it. The table and iron are great to have next to you on a retreat.

  5. I buy starch in 1/2 gallon bottles and dilute it myself. I have used the same spray bottle for quite a while, this way. Less waste, and I can make it as weak or strong as I want it for what I am starching.

  6. I have not found the Niagara Starch here in Houston. Does it burn on the iron? The Faultless that I used burns on my iron and then it must be cleaned or it will mark my fabric. Wonder if the Niagara burns?

  7. I am very fond of my Rowenta travel iron. I agree that it's the best iron I've owned. My second choice is the Shark iron, because the steam is great and it has a long cord. Also, not expensive so if it only lasts a year, I'll get another one. They come on sale up here in Canada fairly often. I have two, one upstairs and one downstairs.


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