This is Part 4 in my goal to finish my UFOs. This is where I set myself the challenge of learning to love ironing.  


Recap: All UFOs gathered and placed in their own bags with the UFO Action List completed for each one. I discovered that I stop most often at cutting errors and binding. I uncovered limiting beliefs around 3 main areas: ironing, cutting, binding. 


Why would I want to force myself to love ironing? Well, if I do it right, it won’t feel like forcing at all. AND, if I can learn to enjoy ironing, it won’t hold me back from choosing fabric, pressing it flat and being ready to cut. 


How in the heck am I going to get myself to love ironing? 


You’ve guessed it, I’m going to self coach myself through this using The Model. 


If you haven’t heard of The Model yet, here’s a blog post where I explain it. I’ll be adding this sentence later on. 


Why don’t I love ironing? 


Understanding exactly what my brain is telling me about ironing is the perfect place to start. I like to do this with a thought download – which is just a list of my opinions and thoughts about a topic. 


Right. Thought download first: 


  • I always burn myself. I’m a dangerous ironer. 
  • I don’t have a convenient or comfortable place to iron. 
  • I hate ironing. 
  • All my fabric always has to be pressed before I start sewing. 
  • It takes forever. 
  • I don’t know what all the bits on my iron even do. 
  • The fabric might burn. 
  • I remember having to iron my school uniform in a rush every morning at boarding school. I usually got in trouble for being late. 
  • Ironing comes with a side of guilt and shame for me. 
  • I’m terrible at ironing. 




It’s so interesting what a thought download can bring up. I never knew that when I iron, even for quilting, I’m subconsciously feeling guilt and shame. 


Now that I’ve identified this feeling, I’m going to try it out the next time I iron. Do guilt and shame come up? Can I sit with these emotions? Can I name it, hold space for it, and let it fade away over a period of time?

[Side note: I’ve been able to name fear, sit with it, and let it fade away – so I’m betting on myself here!] 


And then, can I bring a side of curiosity here, when I release the shame and guilt? 


Right. Let’s get to work. First, I want to look at my unintentional thought models, and see the results they are creating. The C line will be Ironing for all of these. 


Then I’ll create some intentional models, with useful feelings and helpful actions to get my new desired result. Then I’ll put the intentional models into practise.


Here’s the model framework 


C      Circumstance 

T      Thought

F      Feeling 

A     Actions

R     Result 


*full credit here to Brooke Castillo and The Life Coach School for creating The Model. 


My Unintentional models 


C      Ironing

T      I always burn myself

F      Stressed

A      Move jerkily when I iron, don’t stay focused and calm, don’t iron often enough to be good at it, don’t pay attention to where the iron is. 

R      I do burn myself.


C      Ironing

T      I don’t have a convenient place to iron 

F      Frustrated

A      Avoid ironing, don’t make any changes to make it easier, look for evidence of how I don’t have a convenient place to iron. 

R      I still don’t have a convenient place to iron


C      Ironing

T      I hate ironing

F      Angry

A      Focus on how much I hate it, amplify the feeling of hate, do it rarely, avoid it, feel angry when I have to do it, even for things I love like sewing. 

R      I create my ongoing hate of ironing.


C      Ironing

T      What all the bits on my iron even do? 

F      Stupid

A      Resist feeling stupid, tell myself I don’t care and don’t need to know, don’t try to learn, pretend that I already know.

R      I still don’t know what they do.


C      Ironing

T      It takes forever.

F      Bored

A      Avoid doing it, setup up ironing board slowly, multi task while doing it. 

R      I make it take forever.


C      Ironing

T      I always feel like I’m in trouble when I iron.

F     Guilty

A     Avoid doing it, do it reluctantly, do it at the last minute so I’m late.

R     I do get in trouble when I iron.

Wow, that was a lot of models, maybe too many. But you get the point here I think. When I have thoughts about negative consequences, I end up actually creating those results with my actions. OMG! Mind blown!


Creating intentional models 

How about creating some positive results now? What do I want to think about ironing? How am I going to get there? 


C      Ironing

T      I want to be able to just iron easily.

F      Motivated

A      Make sure iron is easy to access, it’s ready with water, put the correct ironing surface easily to hand. 

R      I can iron easily.


C      Ironing

T      I can make a comfortable place to iron.

F      Decisive

A      Assess and choose my ironing spot, clear it off, and commit to keeping it cleared off. Check the cord reaches and get extension cord if needed. Put the finishing touches on my ironing spot.

R      I do create a comfortable place to iron. 


C      Ironing 

T      I want to understand how to do it properly.

F      Committed

A      Look up my iron and it’s features, read the manual and learn what each thing does, watch videos on best pressing techniques for quilters.

R      I do know how to do it properly.


C      Ironing

T      Ironing for me makes me happy. 

F      Satisfied

A      Look for fabric for my next UFO project. Press it ready. Imagine sewing it while I’m pressing it.

R      I do feel happy while I iron.


Getting results using the models

What happened next? How did I put these models into action? Taking it one step at a time, I used the model to guide my actions.


Step One 

I set up my ironing place. Now it’s easy to set up and put away. Writing a quick 2 minute setup and take down checklist was useful too. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve created a sewing cupboard hack in my daughter’s bedroom. The sewing machine itself stays set up, but nothing else does. 

Small ironing board on top of a wooden chest of drawers with a small blanket underneath to keep the ironing board stable. The iron is on the ironing board.
I now love ironing in my tiny ironing station!

Step Two 

Using my checklist, I practised getting set up to sew and packing up. This includes setting up my ironing station, my cutting station and plugging machines in and getting settled. With a couple of practices, it now only takes under 2 minutes to be completely ready to sew. That’s quicker than brushing my teeth! 

sewing room checklists written on paper and stuck on a wooden wall with green painters tape
The rough and ready sewing room checklists I use now.

Step Three

Time to learn about my iron. I found the Black and Decker iron manual online and read it cover to cover. I literally took notes about how my iron works, what features it has and how to use it. Imagine me studying for a test, with notes scribbled in my workbook and highlighted. It seemed so silly, but this was a big part of building my ironing confidence. 


Step Four 

The experts taught me the difference between pressing and ironing, and the proper way to do it. I watched youtube videos until I felt comfortable that I knew what I was doing. I learnt to press down straight, then lift, instead of swishing. Karen Brown of Just Get It Done Quilts taught me that swishing distorts the fabric weave, and gave me some really helpful hints. 


Step Five 

Lastly, I spent some time being in the feelings. First I felt shame and guilt. As I ironed, I allowed it to come up, I named it and let it go. Gradually, as I got more comfortable with my new ironing spot, my understanding of my iron and how to press quilting blocks properly, I got confident. I did this over a few sessions. 

While I did this I focused on my intentional thought, “Ironing for me makes me happy”. I directed my thoughts and feelings about ironing to thoughts I wanted to think. “I love ironing”. This felt awkward and hard at first. It took a few practices to get the hang of it. 


It worked! I love ironing! 

Since then I’ve worked on a few UFOs and ironed a bunch of binding strips. I’m so happy to say that I love ironing. It’s just the best feeling to be able to enjoy this part of the sewing process. I don’t put it off anymore, or only choose fabrics solely because they aren’t wrinkled. 😆 

I’m really loving how this process is as much focused on bringing back my sewing mojo as it is on finishing my UFOs. Working hard to get the results I want is so rewarding.


What’s next? 

What comes next? I’m going to keep working on my UFOs and coaching myself to love the other parts of sewing. Binding next, then cutting I think.

What’s your story? What do you wish you loved about sewing? What do you dislike the most? Tell us what you love and why?