Review: Tefal Access Steam

Real talk: I hate ironing. IT’S SO BORING.

Unless I’m sewing something, that is. I always feel I’m getting more out of it. My mum prefers to do the ironing all in one batch. Me? I’m an iron as I go kinda girl. Or just not iron at all. Or I’ll even do that old trick where you hang up your dress in the bathroom as you have a shower.

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Given my general ironing laziness, I was pretty excited when Tefal got in touch to ask me to review a fancy pants garment steamer. Could this be the end of my ironing board?

First things first, here’s what you get. The Tefal Access Steam is handheld and comes with two attachments; one with a brush and a steam cover. You pop in some water via a removal tank at the bottom of the steamer and switch it on. It’s pretty quick to heat up – the instructions say about 45 seconds – so it’s pretty speedy. The idea is, you hang up your garment, press the switch and point the steamer at the thing what needs ironing.

So how did it match up to my iron? I tested it out on a few things in the wardrobe. First: a cotton Mathilde shirt which always gets creased really easily.

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I was a little disappointed on this front. It didn’t really get out the creases that well, which is a shame. The fabric’s a bit annoying on that front anyway, but I was hoping to get better results on this shirt given I’ve got a lot of garments in the same fabric.

I didn’t want to give up though, so I tried it on a homemade garment in a different fabric, a cotton viscose which creases like nothing else I own.

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As you can see, this one had much better results!

Given this is a sewing blog, I was curious to see how it could help on that front. Now, I don’t think it can really replace my iron – I need it to iron seams and pieces as I go, and I don’t think this can quite replace that. But, where it does come in handy is with fabric prep. It’s a pain to iron a massive bit of a fabric, but if you hang it over a curtain rod and blast at it with this, it makes it a much smaller job.

Altogether: not too shabby! It won’t be replacing my ironing board anytime soon, but, given how lazy I am, I imagine I’ll be using it a fair bit as a quick fix.

A few other sewing bloggers have reviewed this too if you’d like to take a peek, I’ve added the links below.

Sew Scrumptious 
A Million Dresses

A quick peek at the Colette Sewing Handbook

The Colette Sewing Handbook has been on my wish-list for some time now.

This independent pattern retailer is a clear favourite among the blogging community. Colette Patterns offers vintage-style patterns with clear and concise instructions – perfect for anyone just starting out with sewing.

On top of this, founder Sarai Mitnick has created a little community based around her patterns. The regularly updated blog, Coletterie, is full to the brim with all sorts of hints and tips for beginner and more advanced sewers alike.

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This community has been abuzz since Sarai announced there would be a Colette Patterns book and its release was timed with a tour around the sewing blogosphere.

Finally, I have my own copy! I’ve been a fan of Sarai’s work for some time now, having owned the Macaron dress pattern for about a year (I’m still on the hunt for the perfect fabric).

Colette Patterns has always stood out among independent pattern retailers not just for their unique take on the vintage styles sweeping the sewing blogosphere by storm but also because of the individual way in which the patterns are packaged. For someone used to the more traditional packaging of sewing patterns (folded into an envelope and near impossible to get back in!) the little instruction booklets complete with intricate, illustrated instructions are just lovely.

inside colette patterns bookThe book itself is no different. Sarai has based it around what she calls the Five Fundamentals: A thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric and a fine finish.

What really sets the Colette Sewing Handbook apart from other sewing books are the patterns. Oh the patterns!

Five patterns – one accompanying each fundamental – are included in the book, so you’re really getting your money’s worth. The patterns themselves are also easily adapted, as Sarai has demonstrated in several tutorials on the Colette Patterns blog.

Reading the book, it’s a clear winner for anyone just starting out in sewing. What I’m hoping to do is to hone my sewing abilities in 2012 using the book – sometimes I can be a pretty lazy seamstress and forget about these fundamentals, leading to some horror garments!

This won’t be the last you’ll hear from the sewing handbook – I can’t wait to get cracking on the patterns!

Any other Colette Patterns fans in the house? Also, don’t forget – I’m still looking for 2011’s inspirational makes, as explained in this blog post here!

I hope you all had a great Christmas!