Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It's a very serious business, this ironing of clothes and it has rules.

Rule number one:
Never, never buy clothes that need ironing.

Never buy a sheet set for $20 at a 'going out of business' sale without looking at the tab that says 100 per cent cotton. It doesn't matter if the sheets have pretty embroidery and match your white and mauve butterfly doona because if it's cotton, it has to be ironed for the next 10 years before it's beaten into submission and becomes soft enough to be called luxury. And don't be conned into thinking it's a European Brand because the name looks Swedish because it's made in China and you've just broken your self-imposed ban on anything Chinese.

If you have done a bad thing and shoved all and sundry into the dryer so that it looks like the cat has been sleeping on them for months then only iron the front. I mean if you sit or lay your head on something then no-one sees the other side.

Never iron tea towells, just fold them in half cover with a pillow case and sit on them until you've finished the other stuff. Creases gone and a neat fold in the middle.

Never marry, he'll expect you to iron his shirts and press trousers. If he does, then it means he had a mother who spoilt him rotten because she did it all and didn't teach him how to. No woman wants anybody that needy. Of course they can learn to do strange things all by themselves. The ex would roll up one sock, stuff it down the toe of the matching one. A complete waste of time but fascinating to watch the male mind at work. Being a woman, I simply bought the same kind and colour of sock and threw them all in the drawer.

Don't skimp on the iron. I bought a cheap one and it drinks water like a football club on a beer bender. Cheap irons don't bother with writing on the dial so it's a guess as to where the cotton or wool setting is. If you're lucky you get min and max. Get a teflon coated one, it's so easy to clean any melted lace off the bottom and good ones have grooves to go around buttons.

And now that we're going through autumn and it's getting chilly, ignore the plaintive whine from the bottom of the ironing basket. You won't need those cotton dresses until near Christmas and the cat needs something to sleep on.


Andrew said...

Pure cotton sounds so nice, but there was a good reason why god invented nylon and polyester.

Elisabeth said...

Have you read a short story by Tillie Olsen called 'I stand here ironing'. It's a story that makes up for all the horrors of ironing in its sheer depth and beauty, but ironing is something that I too have abandoned in more recent years.

Germaine Greer first introduced me to the possibility of not ironing in the 1970s and I took her advice. These days I've almost forgotten how to iron.

Your advice here is wonderful.

Mindy said...

I always find that body heat solves the need for ironing sheets.

Lord Sedgwick said...

I have hazy memories of my mad mother using (a) heavy flat irons wot you heated up on the top of the wood stove and (b)a whizzbang metho powered stove.

R.H. said...

Iron the sheets? Pillowcases? TEA TOWELS???


Well I've heard of it, but never thought people actually did it.

I remember the heavy flat irons, and my old man's little metho stove. Very proud of it he was too, the old c**t. The irons were all metal and you needed a tea towel or bit of rag wrapped around the handle.
We lived in a very narrow dead end street, coming home one night I looked down the passage of the house opposite and the mother was using an electric iron, plugged in to the overhead light socket.
Electric iron. Good heavens; it seemed enormously modern.

Jayne said...

Hanging out (hand) washing without putting it through the hand wringer/mangle/call it what you like and the weight of the water dripping out drags any creases out on the clothes line.

Quite enjoying TT America but, yes, more humour needed. FB did stone knapping a few years ago - loved it, uses it in his lapidary work at times.

Kath Lockett said...

EXACTLY. Always buy t-shirt material for everything. Even suits!

River said...

Ha Ha. I don't iron anything except my work shirts, even those I don't iron after every wash, only if they've come out of the dryer really badly creased. From line hanging they're usually okay, since after wearing for half an hour no-one can tell the difference. All of my sheets are a poly/cotton blend, no ironing, teatowels are cotton, but they're that waffle weave type, again, no ironing, plus I hang things (almost everything) over the line so they get a crease directly across the middle, this is used to fold them squarely. Everything except shirts is folded straight off the line into the basket, smooth enough to put away. Shirts go onto a hanger. My first hubby was finicky about his shirts, so one day I threw them at him and said he should iron the bloody things himself. He did. I used to iron school uniforms until the kids got old enough and learnt to do them.

JahTeh said...

Andrew, not even god could have imagined Tony Abbot wearing nylon speedos and polyester bike gear. I was given a cotton sheet set for a wedding gift and they lasted 25 years, the embroidered top sheet is still good quality.

Elisabeth, I haven't read that but I would never stand to iron. When my knees stopped working, the ex used to iron his shirts and I never bothered to tell him to iron only the fronts. It was such a joy to watch him fiddle around and take hours what would take me 30 minutes.

Mindy, I agree except for new all- cotton sheets and the fitted bottom sheet is worse but since it's stretched across the mattress, wrinkles go unnoticed.

MiLord, I do remember my great-aunt using one to shape felt as she was a milliner. I suppose all those wooden hat shapes would be worth a bit now.

Robbert, there are stories in my family about all sorts of appliances being used that way. Winter heating was quite often the gas oven left open as long as someone had enough pennies for the meter.

Jayne, I don't know how you manage without a washing machine. I used to do the washing for mum on a Saturday afternoon, putting the clothes through two rinse troughs and through the mangle (electric) and getting my hands caught. That laundry was freezing in winter.
TTA needs to import Lord Hughes.

Kath, I agree but for one my size, try buying it in lengths for a dress. Mum had a very nice sheet set, pretty so I'm making that into a dress for next summer and it will drip dry.

River, that took me right back to my school uniform. I was always ironing it on the bedroom floor just before the bus was due. Only ironed the front of that as well, the blazer hid the back.

Middle Child said...

I love "Home Hints from Copperwitch"... I asked Don to marry me after both kids were born and he was able to look afterhinself so that made him very attractive to a girl like me whi was not prepared to be a slave to anyone

Ozfemme said...

So THAT's what those grooves on the side of the iron are for....

and THAT'S what irons are for....

who knew?

hazelblackberry said...

I like the first rule of fight club. No, wait, I mean ironing. The second rule should be: NEVER IRON SHEETS!