Thursday, 18 July 2013

Making a Tailor's Ham (or Sewing in the Barn)

Currently. I'm working my way through the Sassy Librarian Blouse on Craftsy, instructed by Christine Haynes. The class requires or reccommends a few sewing tools I didn't have. One was this amazing fasturn tool for turning your sewn tubes of fabric right side out in a flash. Seriously, check out this video! Too bad it's too pricy for me when you factor in shipping.

The second was a tailor's ham. In the past, I'd always just pressed darts like normal on a flat ironing board (I guess that's what you get for being mostly self taught). I looks all over for a tailor's ham, but they are extremely hard to find in my area. I looked online and saw I could order one from Joann's, but I hate paying shipping on a single item and I didn't need anything else at the time. So I decided to make my own!

I looked at a few different tutorials and decided to go with this one by Serger Pepper. The tutorial calls for one side of the ham to be covered in cotton and one to be covered in wool. I had lots of cotton scraps to choose from (I went with stars). However, I didn't have any wool scraps around and I didn't feel like running to the fabric store just for this project. So I found this wool skirt that had to lying in my mending pile for ages. It doesn't fit anymore anyway, so I decided to cut into it for my ham. Look at me upcycle AND stashbust on the same project!

The skirt I sacrificed for this project

The empty ham
The tutorial was pretty straight forward, since it's basically a ham-shaped pillow. But that leads to the barn reference in the title. The tutorial calls for you to go out and buy a package of hamster bedding (wood shavings). Well, along with being a sewist, I'm also an equestrian! So last weekend when I went out to riding my horse (his name is Scarface, one of these days I'll post some pics of him), I also filled my ham with some clean shavings from the barn. Since, I didn't want to make a mess in the house/my bf's car, I sewed it up right there in the barn!

Completed ham - wool side
Completed ham - cotton side
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this project, although I think I underfilled it a touch, so I might go back and try to fill it a bit more. It was essentially free, since I already had all the supplies (or they were readily available), which is nice, since it would have cost me $18.29 to buy it from Joann's and have it shipped to Canada (the shipping was only $1 less than the cost of the ham). Now I can save my sewing budget for something fun (like maybe a pattern or two from Deer and Doe)!

As well, I will admit that some sewing shenanigans also occurred while working on this one late at night.


  1. 1) We need to see pictures of your horse. Oh horses...

    2) Good job making your own sewing tools! I feel like I should, and then get lazy and either do without or break down and pay for the convenience of not having to be clever, haha. It looks great! although a bit more stuffing might indeed be called for :).

    3) Your shenanigans make me think of my boyfriend: every time I pull out fabric and contemplate what to do with it, he says "you could make a stylish hat" and puts it on his head :P. Yours actually would make a pretty stylish hat though!

  2. That's so brilliant! I haven't bought a tailor's ham, either -- the Dritz ones are carried by a a few nearby stores, but they seem so overpriced. And I love your star print cotton side!