Thursday, August 21, 2008

Make your own HAM (yums!)

The pressing variety I mean... :)

Store bought hams just don't do it for me. They are expensive and they are also hard to find - good ones that is. So I set out to make my own a couple of years ago.

First, I made a paper pattern.

Then I cut out the fabric cover pieces; upholstery cotton (you might recognize that Ikea fabric) for one side and terry cloth for the other side (for pressing of velvets and corduroys).

I sewed the two pieces together, right sides facing, leaving the bottom straighter edge open for turning and stuffing.

Pressing hams are normally filled with sawdust. But I live nowhere near a lumberyard and they don't just sell things like sawdust at the supermarket. So...

....I used hamster bedding!

Which is really just pine shavings.

I stuffed it until my hands were sore, then I stuffed it some more with a wooden dowel, packing the shavings in as tight as I could. Put more shavings in and continued pounding until it was as full as it could get.

After that, I hand-stitched the opening close, going back and forth a few times just to make sure it would NEVER open.

And Voila!
A ham worthy of being invited to dinner even.

I was so proud of what I had done that I made a seam roll to go with it...that same night. :D

I'm very happy to say that I'm still using the ham and roll (:P) today and just couldn't do without them.

The pine shavings inside gave off such a sweet scent each time I used the ham (and seam roll). I highly recommend using hamster bedding, or sweet-smelling wood shavings, as stuffing ;)

Edited to add:
Hams are used for pressing curved seams like darts, so that shaping can be easily achieved. A seam roll allows for pressing of long seams like the side seams on sleeves, skirts and pants, without pressing them flat and thus avoiding indentations made by the seam allowance. Here is a great video tutorial done by Threads on the very subject.
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