The unassuming tailor’s ham is one piece of sewing equipment that I never have beyond arm’s reach. The more you sew, the more you realise that anything with a curve is your friend – the French curve, the dressmaker’s dummy, the tailor’s ham. After all, the human body is a big mass of curves, orbs, concave and convex surfaces. Flat, we are not!
I’ve found the tailor’s ham particularly useful when it comes to tacking down neckline facings or basting shut pockets. Why work on the flat? My hips aren’t flat and neither are my shoulders. If I do try to work on the flat, I find these details pulling, not sitting straight, or need redoing. So, out comes the tailor’s ham. Below is a picture of a pocket piece that needed basting closed. I draped the section over a tailor’s ham, then pinned and basted.
And below are details of a neckline facing I recently tacked down. Same technique: drape it over a tailor’s ham. You’ll note I don’t even attempt to line up facing seam with shoulder seam. There are lots of tutorials out there for making your own tailor’s ham. I’m gonna say, if you go down this route you want your ham to be really firm. The best ones are stuffed with sawdust. (For a comprehensive guide to UK sawdust suppliers, look here!) You don’t want a spongey ham, you want something that’s going to stand up to a lot of wear and tear, can deal with pressure, steam and heat. You want an alpha female tailor’s ham!
Any thoughts on this piece of equipment? Suppliers or tutorials you can recommend?