Full steam ahead

Let’s go over this again: I bought those two Ektorp loveseats from Ikea two weeks ago and because I’m not at all ready to even begin my living room redecoration, they are sitting in their huge boxes in my tv room. Since then, all I’ve really done is take the slipcovers out so I could see the actual colour of them – and yes, white comes in many colours.

The slipcovers were, as expected, pretty creased from being folded in their boxes for who-knows-how-many-months, so I decided that even if I’m not actually planning to put together the loveseats for who-knows-how-many-months (I see a theme developing here …), I would give them a good ironing. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them after that, but I thought that I could at least get the ironing out of the way so I wouldn’t have to do it later.

Now, I recently purchased a new iron. My previous one was a hand-me-down from my mom, and I’d had it for something like 20 years. I have no idea how long my mom had had it before that, but let’s just say that it really wasn’t much of surprise when the thing ceased to heat up at some point. I don’t iron very much at all – maybe once every three months or so – so it took me quite a while to remember to get a new one. Like a year or two. But I did get one last summer and I hadn’t used it yet. The slipcovers could be my new iron’s maiden flight!

I carefully followed the instructions and filled the water reservoir and turned all the dials to where they should be to iron a cotton blend fabric. I spread out the first cushion cover and started to iron.

First of all, it’s bloody HARD to iron slipcovers! There are curvy bits and corners and very wide pieces of fabric that don’t fit nicely on the ironing board! I really do know how to iron properly, even if I do it only rarely, but this was most emphatically NOT FUN!

And second of all, I had to go over everything two or three or four times to get the creases and wrinkles out. It took me TWO HOURS to iron the entire slipcover and cushion covers for only one loveseat! My arm was tired, and I was frustrated. I had the iron up to full heat, but this fabric just didn’t seem to be very amenable to being all smooth. I did eventually make it look presentable, but it was a long, tedious, and tiring job. This didn’t bode well. At this rate, I didn’t think I would EVER wash and iron those slipcovers if I spilled anything at all on them – I would just live with the stains rather than go through all this enormous effort again. Needless to say, after I laid out the newly-pressed pieces on DD’s old bed, I unplugged the iron and gave up for the time being.

Last week, I made attempt number two. I decided to iron one cushion cover. I mean, I was really in no hurry to get all the pieces done, so maybe by doing only one item at a time, it would be more palatable, both time-wise and effort-wise.

Again, I carefully read through the instructions on how to use my new iron, because this was only going to be the second time I’d used it. I paid particular attention to the part about adjusting the steam. I couldn’t see the steam icons on the iron itself very well, as the light in the room isn’t fabulous for reading and I also have over-fifty-years-old eyes. I got a flashlight and shone it on the steam icons. Ah – there were three of them. One had an X on it – obviously, that meant the steam was off. One had a big cloud – lots of steam, I figured. The third one had a half-cloud – not that much steam, I suppose. I checked the instructions. Yep. I was right.

And to which icon had I adjusted the iron? To the icon with the X on it. Which meant no steam. Which meant that I had done those previous two hours of discouraging ironing with no steam, just heat. Which, in turn, accounted for the rather long and difficult time I’d experienced in ironing the slipcovers for that first loveseat.


I flipped the dial to the full steam icon, and started ironing. I got two cushion covers done in under ten minutes. They looked great.



4 responses to “Full steam ahead

  1. But…. if you don’t put them on right away, don’t you need to fold them up somewhere? And if you fold them up somewhere for months, won’t they just be creased again? And will you not just have to iron the whole kit and kaboodle again?

    Was that not, all things considered, an exercise in futility?

    You’re welcome. ;-p

    • Ah, but you forget that I am an empty-nester in a three-bedroom home with a finished basement. I actually don’t have to fold up the newly ironed slipcovers at all, I’m just laying them carefully on DD’s old bed for now. Then when she comes home for a few days at Christmas, I’m planning to drape them over those huge loveseat boxes that are currently festooning one side of my basement tv room. And when I do finally put together the loveseats and put the slipcovers on, if any creases have developed, I have a clothes steamer that will quickly do the trick.

      See? I have a plan!

  2. I got tired just reading about your efforts. Sometimes life is too short for such arduous endeavors. By the way, I like the snowflakes.

    • I didn’t anticipate that it would be such an ordeal, for sure! But now that I’ve got the iron steaming properly, the rest of the pieces were pressed much more quickly and easily.