Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sadly Lacking in Certain Skills

I was in a thrift store recently and overheard two older ladies talking.

One of them said to her friend, "Your clothes always hang so nicely on you. You iron everything you wear, don't you?"

Her friend said, "No, I don't iron my clothes, I press them. And there is a big difference."

And I said to my ignorant, little ol' self, "There is?"

If anyone out there in Smithellaneous Land knows the difference between pressing and ironing, I would sure like to hear it.

Also, I'm curious to know how many people even iron (or press) their clothes these days. I might occasionally spend ten minutes ironing a few things for the week ahead, but I sure don't do it very much.

I've even heard of people ironing sheets and underwear and while I admire their dedicated diligence to freedom from wrinkles, I am in no danger of starting that practice anytime soon! I'm fortunate to even get Steve's dress shirts ironed when he preaches.

And how about mending? Does anyone mend anymore? I don't mean like darning socks (and I've never understood exactly how one even darns a sock) but sewing on buttons and hemming pants.

I did sew a button on Steve's shorts last week and felt very much like Ma Ingalls (from Little House on the Prairie) as I did it. Unfortunately, I had to call Sarah in to thread the needle for me, since the needle holes seem to have gotten a whole lot smaller in the past few years.

I remember one particular hemming job I did a few months ago on a pair of khaki pants I got from Goodwill. I thought I would be really smart and iron the hem first so that it would be easier to keep the hemming line straight.

After ironing (or was it pressing?) the pants, I diligently hemmed (and hawed) for at least half an hour. (Mrs. Speedy, I ain't.) When I finally finished and proudly held the pants up so that I could view my splendid work, I saw something very sad.

Something pitiful. Something disheartening.

I saw that I had hemmed the pants with the folded-up material facing OUT!

On BOTH legs!

How in the world does one manage to hem pants backwards?

And then why in the world would a person who had done such a foolish thing write about it on her blog so that other women could be delightfully appalled by her goofiness?

Good question.

Maybe it's because confession is good for the soul.

And so I hereby confess that I don't know the difference between pressing and ironing, I don't iron (or press) underwear and I hemmed a pair of pants the wrong direction.

Is there any hope for me? Any hope at all?

Don't answer that.

18 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what the difference between ironing and pressing is, and I only iron clothes when absolutely necessary. I will hem and mend things, but only when belts and safety pins won't do the trick =)


Nancy said...

Well I asked Mom since she used to work at a Laundry mat and cleaner. She said the difference between pressing and Ironing is that with pressing, they use a larger machine. With Iron. Just the Iron.
I dont know :-(

Melissa said...

Yeah, I always thought you needed a special machine to press clothes, something you could only find in a laundramat. The only mending I can do is sew on a button. I don't iron anything unless I have a collar or something that's flipped up and won't lay properly. I do iron my needlework before having it framed, and that's about it!

Anonymous said...

I iron a lot of my clothes including my scrubs. It just makes me feel like I can handle my day better that way. My son also irons most of his clothes including his tee shirts. Also, I love to sew, so I mend everything that I can. My son is very particular about the length of his shorts. I hem all of them to the correct length. OCD? Maybe a little! Anna

Anonymous said...

Becky- I do iron shirts,pants, shorts but no underwear or sheets.Dress shirts go to the laundry as do all pants that Jeff wears to work.
I do not like to mend & when Jeff comes home & hands me a button I wish I could throw the item out. I wear capris (except in winter) which don't need to be hemmed. You're not alone.

Margie Miller

? said...

OK, I had to look it up. Pressing is a sewing term. When you iron, you move the iron back and forth. Pressing is when you set the iron down on the cloth and quickly lift it back up. According to the website, ironing can stretch the fabric and change the way it lies. That can affect the way a garment looks when it's put together.

I grew up in a house where we ironed just about everything. You haven't lived until you've ironed your fathers boxer shorts! We hung our clothes to dry, in the summer it was fine since they hung outside and the breeze aired them out but in the winter everything hung in the basement and was stiff and wrinkled. Ironing helped to alleviate some of that. These days I prefer my the dryer.

Oh and I take everything to be tailored, even missing buttons.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I don't iron like I used to! My Mom used to have a special machine where you layed the piece of clothing on it and pulled the top down and it seemed to steam press it. Can't remember the name of the thing!

I started learning to sew (and knit and crochet) in 3rd grade so I do hem my own pants and replace buttons (if they're noticeable and needed!). Didn't say I liked it! Gave up sheets & underwear about 4 decades ago! But all tablecloths & cloth napkins still get the hot iron applied!

I still love to sew an outfit, but it's become just as expensive to make a dress or suit as to buy one!



Anonymous said...

The only thing I press is my luck!
And, I can't remember the last time I ironed ~ I use the 10-minutes in the dryer trick. I love travel-knit skirts and dresses just for that no-iron reason. My husband even made me one of those ironing boards that fold back into the wall.

L in AK

Catherine said...

Becky, I did the same thing once upon a time to a very nice pant suit I had. I used that iron on tape. Recently I just bought a "mighty mend it" kit that allows you to mend, hem and repair with fabric glue. It is suposed to work for leather, fabric, upholstery, cuffs, hems, etc. I have not used it yet but will let you know.

I did successfully hem a pair of pants using fabric glue. I found a pattern/color/fabric I loved in summer slacks but they were too long to be capris and too short for long pants and just did not look right at that length. This was a super bargain $2 Salvation Army purchase that I really wanted. So I cut and glued and they have held up just fine.

I recently bought some madras plaid shorts that again I really liked but the buttons came off taking a bite out of the fabric. I am thinking of trying to somehow darn that area so I can sew the buttons back on them since, I want to keep those shorts. We'll see how ti goes. Maybe I'll use the glue or velcro.

My summer find at the thrift shops have been great VHS tapes of movies and shows for $1! I have two old VCRs and use them. I have found some great classics as well as some relatively new stuff. I am just thrilled to get these for that price.

Jan Reynolds said...

You told us that story because YOU like to make us laugh, and that my friend, is FUNNY! I actually got the giggles, thinking what you must have been thinking when you first realized you had sewn those pant hems wrong side out... I'm sharing this story tomorrow morning at work (literally at the water cooler).

Jan Reynolds said...

Oh and by the way, I iron (or maybe I press, I'm not sure) my clothes every single morning, always have.

Pam D said...

I don't iron OR press, although I'm in agreement that pressing is just that.. pressing the iron down. I usually think of it being done with a LARGE press though, not a small hand-held iron (which is CALLED an iron and therefore should be used for IRONING, not PRESSING). Which doesn't matter to me anyway, because I don't do it unless I absolutely MUST, and then we'd have to delve into "what does MUST really mean?" and I'm just not up to going there tonight. I do, however, sew on buttons and have sewn patches onto Cub Scout uniforms. And, I have hemmed (but never hawed) and have yet to do it inside out but have come very close.
Finally, what is UP with the tiny holes on the needles now? I don't even have a Sarah to thread them for me... it's very sad.

brooke said...

hi becky -
i iron sometimes. when i'm in the mood to look a little more put together.. but being a phd student that isn't much of a requirement..

as far as fixing things.. i sew lots of things - not socks.. i just buy cheap light socks to wear under warmer winter socks with holes.. but i sew undergarments to make them last longer.

leeanne said...

I iron my clothes as I need them. My grandma used to call it 'pressing'....Hmmmm. Summer clothes are mostly cotton and seem to have more wrinkles. I love to sew, but hate to mend, but haven't done either in quite some time. Oh, I forgot. I did sew on a button a couple weeks ago and could barely find the hole in the needle too! Dang!

leeanne said...

Oh and I flubbed up my friend's new curtain. She asked me to shorten it so it would fit her new french door. Did a beautiful job on it. The stitches were perfect. It looked store bought. Yeah. I cut it too short (HER measurement, but still.....) so had to go get a new one. Oh yes, I felt so proud.

SuziQCat said...

I don't iron unless it's a dress shirt for a meeting. I through everything in the dryer and then hang it up immediately (well pretty soon) after it's done.

I still have to get mom to sew buttons on my clothes! I go to the tailor to have pants hemmed. Ma Ingalls, I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I must be the odd woman out ... I do mend, buttons, hems, I've even darned some holes in my nieces riding pants! Just give me a needle, some thread & I am happy :o) I also love most of the needleart crafts . . . sewing, quilting, cross stitching, crocheting (but NOT KNITTING!)

PS To anonymous . . . i think the machine your mother had was called a "mangle"

Lauren said...

I mend more and more things as I get older - I was just musing the other day that it seems like a shame to have the bridesmaid's dress for my sister's wedding professionally altered when I hem all of my other own clothes! Granted, I can't do anything fancy, but it comes in handy.