Make a tailors ham to help with pressing your seams.

Technique Materials

linen or cotton, thread, wool scraps

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  • Catinhatweb_wetcanvasprofile_large

    Feb 4, 2013, 10.42 PMby Artbox

    I am having difficulties in finding the wood shavings/flakes. Home Depot was downright rude about it.. They do NOT have that sort of thing. Anyone know where I can get what I need? even online?

    1 Reply
    • Missing

      Aug 23, 2013, 07.20 AMby sandyhale1205

      Go to the pet store and buy the wood chips that are sold for hamster or gerbil cages

  • Catinhatweb_wetcanvasprofile_large

    Jan 22, 2013, 05.54 AMby Artbox

    I’m going to give this method of making a tailors ham, a try on making a simple hat block. It takes steam, pins,, and I can make it into any shape I need for my millinery projects.

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    Jun 1, 2012, 05.15 AMby Wendy Bond

    Thank you, this is exactly the thing I was looking for. :D

  • Summer_breeze_top_thumb_large

    Feb 23, 2011, 02.28 PMby 1sewingprincess

    I created a downloadable free pattern based on this tailor’s ham tutorial and a seam roll pattern. Feel free to download it http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/tailors-ham-and-seam-roll-free-pattern

  • Missing

    Oct 23, 2010, 07.59 AMby grands18

    Thank u so much. My mind just couldn’t see how to make it and you showed me such a simlpe way. I truly appreciate you.

  • Me_pecks_large

    Aug 1, 2010, 03.13 AMby nessys

    This has got to be better than a wheat bag (for sore neck) wrapped in a towel . . .

    Nikkishell – you are such Dear to pop these wonderful tutorials up for us all!

  • Missing

    May 27, 2010, 04.53 PMby plookiss

    Brilliant, I was going to buy one and everyone mentioned ‘make your own’ and because I didn’t know how, looking at this looks easy, can’t wait to have a go.

  • Missing

    Dec 10, 2009, 03.45 PMby bibliogrrl

    I can’t wait to make one of these! It will be far easier to use than the fabric wrapped coffee can I’ve been using in the interim.

  • Missing

    Aug 28, 2009, 05.40 PMby lottatroublemaker

    Sorry, forgot one thing… In case I should get problems stuffing with sawdust, I bought a bit of back-up stuffing – a big bag of polishing yarn, you know, the fine cotton yarns that are used to polish boats and cars with – before they used to call it Twist here, don’t know if that is the case in other countries though (wasn’t listed in the dictionary)… I’m sure that that can be used too, that it can be stuffed real hard… But, the sawdust works great and when you steam, it smells so good! Heck, maybe you could even add a bit of dried lavender in the sawdust?

  • Missing

    Aug 28, 2009, 05.34 PMby lottatroublemaker

    Hi, I made mine today! Actually, I sew two, one for another too, but she’ll have to stuff it herself, as that was hard work! I saw a commercial one in use in a video on YouTube (from class at fashion school it seemed), and the teacher there explained that it had a cotton side for cottons and a wool side for woolens. Since I had some wool fabric (not very sturdy though), I cut 4 cotton parts, and one wool part. I only stuffed 3 compartments though, as if it had 4 layers, so that the wool fabric was supported by one wool layer. I went to my local lumber yard and I didn’t even have to scoop the sawdust myself, the guy there did it for me, filled half a sack and taped it shut! The sawdust was real fine, and that is obviously what you need, not wood shavings as you normally get in the pet supplies section! The sawdust was real easy to stuff to a compact and quite hard ham. I took a 1.5 liter (around 45 fl.oz?) bottle, and sawed off the tip (checked the opening in the ham first, so it would match) and bottom. Then cut off the tip and bottom of a large plastic (around 15 fl.oz) yoghurt cup and cut a nice lip from it which I taped to the tip of the bottle, to prevent too much spills of sawdust. I also cut the top of a yoghurt cup, it fit nicely inside the bottle. I filled the cup with sawdust, put it inside the bottom part of the bottle (as a cartridge) and poured the sawdust into the ham. I filled the middle compartment 2/3 or so up, then the two side compartments. At some point I started using the yoghurt cup only, squeezed it flat, so I easily could pour the sawdust into the compartments. As I went on, I used my hand/fingers to work the sawdust into the sides of the ham. I filled it as far up as I could using the cup, then the last part was done using a plastic spoon. When it was filled to the top in each compartment, and it looked pretty well stuffed (no air), I first folded the two middle compartments over eachother and sew them shut with a few coarse stitches, then filled a little on top of that too, and folded in my seam allowance, then sew it shut. When that was done, it did look a it funny shape wise, but all you need to do, is to work with it, pound it into shape.

    Real neat! :) Thanks so much for this great project, Burdastyle! :)

  • Missing

    Aug 21, 2009, 08.49 PMby lottatroublemaker

    This is just great – just what I need! Never knew about these… I bet that others will love it when I have made myself one too, so maybe I need to make more than one… Think I’ll go to the nearest store (like a Home Depot, I guess, although at a smaller scale) and ask to get saw dust from them. It makes sense that sawdust must be better than the wood shavings from the animal isle at the supermarket, because those are very large and coarse. But they do let you collect sawdust for free at such stores/lumberyards, which is no problem, only that it normally also has larger wood pieces in it. So bring with you a little spade (or a large spoon), so you can get in between the larger pieces and collect the dust only (I learned that the hard way when I went to get sawdust for a DIY project, mixed with glue it’s a great wood filler too!). I’ll sure make a trip one of these days! Shoot, another messy project… ;P, LOL…

  • Packfanweb_large

    May 27, 2009, 02.28 AMby heathertweed

    Great idea. They are so expensive to buy. You could get your sawdust from a pet shop or ask at a builders merchants where they cut wood.

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    Sep 15, 2008, 04.57 AMby imvisible

    Never heard of it. But it would be very usefull especially with small pieces. Great idea!

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    May 17, 2008, 07.00 AMby clairelovestosew

    Ohhhh. The whole time I was growing up my mum had one of these and I thought it was a pincushion…. Now I want one!

  • Missing

    May 10, 2008, 10.21 AMby katharine

    If you want to stuff with sawdust but don’t have an easily available source, just go to the pet supplies aisle at the grocery store. They usually have bags of wood shavings for use as hamster/gerbil/etc bedding very inexpensively.

  • 5895503519_d42bddbd6c_o_1__large

    Apr 22, 2008, 06.59 AMby nikkishell

    A ham is used to press curved seams. Just lay your seam over it and press with an iron, you will get a much better result than just pressing on a flat board.

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    Apr 17, 2008, 03.19 AMby squirrellypoo

    EK, that’s a great idea! Then that would minimise the chance of sawdust escaping… Shame I live so far away from my grandfather – he has a never ending supply of sawdust in his workshop. :)

  • Emilykate_large

    Apr 16, 2008, 10.30 PMby emilykate

    I stuffed the one I made with sawdust! I just bought one of those door snakes from a $2-shop- you know the draft stoppers that you put at the bottom of a door. If you do this its a good idea to do an inner bag from calico, part-stuff that with sawdust, then put the calico bag in an identical bag made of another fabric, put in the rest of the sawdust, then sew the calico closed, THEN sew closed the bag made from other fabric.

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    Apr 16, 2008, 07.40 AMby squirrellypoo

    is it okay just stuffing it with fabric? The storebought ones are stuffed with sawdust, and it was because of this that I hadn’t just made my own already…

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    Apr 15, 2008, 01.54 AMby officebusybody

    This is just what I need! Saves me having to wrap my hand in a couple of thick towels and pressing with that (yes, I really did that!).

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    Apr 14, 2008, 09.29 AMby britnlind

    Awesome. I am making one tonight. I cannot believe it never occured to me to make my own ham. Great useage of scraps too. Thanks so much!!!!

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    Apr 13, 2008, 11.49 AMby sterlingrocks

    OMG I have been Looking for something like this.. thank you so Much!!!!

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    Apr 13, 2008, 04.26 AMby peaudane

    thank you so much for this very useful how-to!

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