Hamming it up

One of the tools that every resource says I'll need to make shirts is a tailor's ham. Now, I could have bought a ham somewhere for about 10 bucks. But, I didn't. Because we all know that I'm an...


So,here's my ham, and my seam roll. I included the wood point presser that I found in an antique store this weekend. I should be all set for ironing (Peter, I hope you're reading this and will show me how to use this tool in the sewalong).

When I read about making a ham in the sewing book from the 60's, my first thought was "I have all that". It just took a piece of wool, a piece of heavy cotton and a bunch of wool scraps. Easy, peasy.

So, I drew out the pattern, just the way they said and I transferred it to the fabric, just the way they said.

And, I had an old wool blanket from my grandmother that was a holy mess when I inherited it
23 years ago. Believe me, this pic is lipstick on a pig because this was in bad shape. So, I decided to give it a new life as my ham. The book said wool was preferred over sawdust. Are the new ones filled with sawdust? Or was sawdust readily available for a housewife of the 60's?

I didn't expect to have trouble cutting the blanket up and cutting out the paint drips where it had once been used as a drop cloth. But, I did. After all, it was my grandmother's.
Anyway, the instructions said to sew around three sides and pack the ham with soaking wet wool and hang it to dry.

And, what I got was the size of a bed pillow and swallowed up my twin size blanket scraps and wanted much, much more. So, I unpacked it and resewed it about half the original size and packed it again. This time, it took just the scraps I thought it should. And, we packed for about an hour, stopping to stand on it and then pack it some more like the instructions said. And, then I hung it to dry. And, I worried that it would mold. So, the second day, I started ironing it. I ironed it about every 3-4 hours and clouds of steam would rise out of it. I'd let it cool and then iron out some more. And, while I ironed one side dry, the other side would get soaked from me pressing down, so I'd flip it and work the wet side til it was dry and flip it again. I did that as often as I could on Monday and again on Tuesday morning. And, now it's dry. So, it's been sewn up and now it's a picture for a quick post.

I also made the seam roll, but it didn't call for wet wool. Both these were easy to make and I've used the seam roll already and it is much more convenient than the rolled up towel I used to use.

Travel update. The Hudson Bay coat didn't make it. I wore it the other day and the sleeves are open as is the bottom of the coat and cold air just blew under it. I pulled out all my warm coats last night and we settled on the traditional looking dark green london fog. It has all the benefits of my other coats in one. And, the final test was folding the coats to put in the overhead. The london fog folds up flat and square.

The hudson bay folds to about 9 inches thick and doesn't compress.

Take care, everybody. I'm going to the office for a bit and then onward and upward.


Cynthia L. said...

I am cracking up about lipstick on a pig. I had forgotten some of the "southern" sayings. My daughter always laughs when I say "hairlip the govenor." I don't know if you have ever heard that one!

The Ham looks great. Sounds like it was a lot of work, but very rewarding.

Peter said...

That ham sounds like more work than a Virginia Ham! But it LOOKS great.

Vesuviusmama said...

Overacheiver about sums it up. I can't imagine what those are for!