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Mrs Bowden’s top tip – using a tailor’s ham

Mrs Bowden’s top tip – using a tailor’s ham

How to use your tailor’s ham


This time last year I blogged about making your own Tailor’s Ham – a very useful piece of equipment in the armoury of any dressmaker.  I thought it would be useful to give you some ideas for how to use the item when you are making your garments.

Let’s just talk about the anatomy of a Tailor’s Ham.  On one side it has been made with a double layer of cotton – this side should be used for pressing cottons, linens and fabrics where a high temperature is required.  The other side is made using pure wool and is for pressing using a cooler iron – for example if you are working with wools, silks or viscose/synthetic fabrics.

Many of us know we can use a Tailor’s Ham for pressing a dart as it allows the curve that’s created by sewing the dart to be maintained.  Use different parts of the ham which suit the shape you are trying to create and you will get a much nicer finish on the garment.
Use your ham if you are also pressing a curved seam.  This picture shows the side seam of a very shaped 1950’s jacket.  It’s all about maintaining the shape you are creating when you are pressing.
Here we have a useful way of pressing the sleeve head – just insert the ham into the garment and it gives the curve of the ‘arm’ to press against and achieve the shape you desire.
This is for swanky snazzy work.   Using the ham for pressing in pleats.  This shows the knife pleats being reinstated on an altered hem.   As the ham is stuffed with sawdust it is great to pin into if you need to leave something to dry after heavy steaming.  The pins can then be removed and the pleats should hold in place.
Hope you found the above helpful and I very much look forward to seeing you soon at Felixstowe Sewing School.

Until then,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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