Friday, May 14, 2010

Confessions of a reluctant ironer

I finally bought these sheets for the guest bed, which are perfect with the room and oh look!, also match the hand towels in the adjoining bathroom. I'd been stalking them for ages hoping to find something I liked just as much at a lower price point, but that never happened, so in anticipation of two fabulous houseguests arriving next weekend, I finally bit the bullet. Pearl embroidered sheets in red arrived yesterday, just perfect out of the package (and happily un-monogrammed, of course). Rejoice! Bedding problem solved!

I washed them, because that's what you do with new sheets before you put them on the bed. Only, when they came out of the dryer, their perfection was no more. The washed and dried sheet set looked like a pile of white garbage that had been left to die a painful death in a wind tunnel. Which I suppose sounds very much like a dryer, now that I think about it. But these sheets weren't just wrinkled, they were 90-year-old-smoker-with-a-tanning-bed-addiction wrinkled. What do I do with this?!

Does this mean... I'm not that kind of girl! Surely I don't have to...


Isn't that the stuff of Martha apprentices and brittle Wasps who have entire rooms devoted to storing their heirloom linens? But there I was:

Only, not so much, because the true ironer of the house quickly came to my assistance after being appalled at my ironing technique. He's a much more effective ironer than I am. Wearing crisp shirts to work every day instead of my current tank top and yoga pants will do that a person, I suppose.

Two refills of water in the iron later, the sheets look okay on the bed, but nothing like the crisp glory I'd imagined for the sight straight across from my work desk five days a week. Major bummer. This leads me to my next question:

Is this thing for real?

While I admit that a mere two days ago I would've scoffed at the very notion of this machine, even now, wrinkled sheets and all, I'd spend $2,000 on approximately two thousand items before even considering purchasing this thing.  And so I must ask:

1) Seriously... how do you get the wrinkles out of these damn sheets without having the previously noted "linen room" and a $2,000 ironing apparatus?

2) How do I ensure that I never, ever, ever fall in love with sheets again that turn out to be the bane of my not-even-anal-about-wrinkles-unlike-others-in-my-household existence?

3) $2,000? Seriously?

While we're on the hot topic of ironing, I will confess there was lots of ironing humor in play during our European vacay last week. See, by the time we met T's family in Ljubljana, our clothes looked and smelled exactly like they'd spent four days in rainy on the outside/smoky on the inside Prague and Vienna, with nary a hotel iron in sight. I quickly realized where T's ironing love comes from after his father was late to the first wedding event of the week due to his own fretful search for a hotel iron in Ljubljana (seriously - they don't exist in any city we stayed in, don't even bother asking). The group of us ended up setting off hotel heat sensors the next few days due to excessive shower steaming of our clothes, until my father-in-law broke down and found an iron in a Ljubljana department store, which promptly became the hottest item in town among all 34 wedding guests. ("I heard someone has an iron." "Go to the ninth floor, knock on room 907." "Really? Someone scored one?" "What can I do to get a piece of that iron?")

That said, any guesses what my gift to all the in-laws will be this Christmas?


  1. I haven’t tried this myself but have heard of people taking the sheets from the washer to the dryer and only drying them for about 5-10 minutes and then making the bed with damp sheets. You smooth out the wrinkles and then walk away. Supposedly they dry flat and crisp. It’s worth trying! Good luck!

  2. Ha! Roomie is the resident ironer at our place too. Good to know about the sheets, I'll be sure not to register for them. Shame shame Pottery Barn!

  3. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I'm literally starring at the W-S page, mouth agape, with an errant trickle of tzatziki on my chin. That has to be an April Fool's joke that someone forgot to delete.

    I don't iron. Ever. I had an adorable dress to wear to Sally's bridesmaids luncheon that was wrinkled during travel... so I wore another dress. Both sets of ridonc-high-thread-count sheets we received off our registry look like shit when I dry them... I just wave the white flag of surrender and pull the duvet up over them and hope they straighten themselves out... or else pray that our house guests have already turned out the lights when they crawl into bed!

  4. I don't even try to make the sheets un-wrinkly. It's a wonder that they're even clean. :)

  5. I have found no solution to wrinkly sheets, but when you discover the holy grail (that does not cost $2000), you let me know!

  6. Thanks for the commiseration, everyone...

    I should add that for our own bed we use sateen sheets, which DO NOT WRINKLE. Reason #134 that's our sheet style of choice. But are they made in white with perfect red embroidered pearls? No.

  7. I wouldn't use this on sheets, but it's awesome for traveling -- Downy Wrinkle Spray. I was really skeptical at first, but it works! It's not going to make a dress shirt look like it was pressed, but it's like a mircle in a spray bottle for smoothing out suitcase wrinkles.

  8. Have a cleaner press them. Won't cost much and they will do a bang-up job. Plus, you won't need to wash these sheets very much (unless you end up with tons of guests).

  9. I second Nancy's vote that you take the sheets to the cleaners- especially if they are guest room sheets that won't get used as often. Do you have a steamer? I've had my eye on a pricey (though much more reasonable than tha $2k bs contraption) rowenta model for some time now. I bet it could tackle wrinkly sheets like a champ.

  10. I'm with The Waspy Redhead on looking into a clothing steamer-- I've been eyeing one for my curtains, which are so long that they pile on the floor and wrinkle as I try to iron them. Also, I think my grandma used to remove the sheets from the dryer while they were still slightly damp and then iron them. Which is probably essentially like steaming them, since the heat of the iron dries them. Worth a try.

  11. From my perspective, your first mistake was buying sheets because of how they look! I've only ever bought sheets because they were on sale! And your second mistake was buying white sheets for a houseguest that's a few years short of potty training! :)

    And your third mistake? Noticing that they're wrinkled. I guarantee you we won't make that same mistake! Trust me, I'll be so glad I'm getting in bed that I won't have a spare moment to notice how the sheets look!!!!

    I'm with Kate here. Just cover them with something that makes you happy when you look up from working and call it good!

  12. Don't mock the Miele magic. I have been lusting after one of those for, well, longer than I'd care to admit. If I did not live in an NYC shoebox this wouldn't even be a discussion. I am a sad, sad individual.

    In any event: high temperature, damp sheets. Not just a spritz of linen water damp, but cool to the touch and different in color from dry damp. Not too wet, not too dry. It's a bit like blowing out your hair in that your sheet will take on the shape it dries in.

  13. If you line dry the sheet, either outside on on a line inside you can give them a good shake and tug before you hang them up they will have a lot less creases.

  14. I scoffed when I discovered my mother-in-law took her sheets to the cleaners so they would come back ironed, but now I look at the wrinkled sheets and think, "she's crazy, yes, crazy like a fox!". I still haven't done it but I may someday....

  15. My sympathies - would you believe I have those same PB sheets, in the same red? And I've been just as disappointed in the wrinkling. The only solution seems to be taking them to the dry cleaner, since Miss Business Super Casual here isn't going to pick up an iron - or a $2,000 press machine, much as I'd love to own it - anytime soon.

  16. I have two all Battenburg lace tablecloths that I stole from Bullock's before they became Macy's. Napped the $500 one for $75 and the $350 one for $50. But guess what? You cannot wash them or they will shrink into a placemat. So I spot treat them as needed and then take them to the French Hand Laundry in Pasadena and they do a fantastic job. You can even mail them specialty things and they will make it all back to you. So, I have never taken bedding to them but I will if I ever find the duvet set of my dreams. Don't laugh or scoff, do it and be happy! Karen


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