One of these days I am going to make a shirt and with this in mind I have been reading and re-reading Peter's sew along at Male Pattern Boldness. One of the notions I have read about in David Coffin's book and Peter's blog is the tailor's ham. This item is intended to make the pressing curved seams easier. There are those who say it's very difficult to manage without one. With all of the advice dancing in front of my eyes I decided to see if it would be possible to make a ham all of my very own.
There are dozens of tutorials on how to make your own tailor's ham. I found this one at Chance of Rain which has an easy to print pattern piece and clear photo strip instructions.
The ham is made up of three layers of calico, one of cotton poplin and one of wool [?crepe?]. Here I have tacked the layers together and am now sewing them right sides facing. It's a while since we've seen the Singer 15K80 so I thought I would give it an airing. It sailed through the layers like a hot knife through butter. I back tacked the ends of the seam by turning the work in the machine. Not my favourite way be easy to do with small goods like the ham-shell.
Here is my ham-shell after clipping the seam allowance and turning. The pattern advises keeping clipping to an absolute minimum so as not to weaken the seam.
Anyone for porridge? No it's wood shavings - well softwood bedding to be exact. It's cheap enough and easier to find here than your actual sawdust. It has a wonderful smell that reminds me of my Dad.
Here is my ham after I had stuffed and sewn it shut. The finished size is approximately six by nine inches. I'm not sure if I got it stuffed full enough but it feels pretty firm. I'm looking forward to seeing if it is large and curvy enough to be useful.
There's something quite cute about a tailor's ham don't you think? It's certainly tactile. I can now see why they used to stuff soft toys with sawdust!