top of page

What's a pressing ham and how to recover it?

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

This week is all about pressing hams (aka tailor hams). You may have been sewing a while now or a complete newbie, and may have heard about these products but don't really know what they are or how to use them? Well don't you worry girls I am here to help!

First off let me say that learning how to press well is important when making garments, it really elevates your project and helps give it that professional finish. When I teach workshops, I can actually tell which garments were pressed well while sewing and those that weren't. It makes a HUGE difference.

When you make garments you will sew darts, set in sleeves, and create lots of curves. The idea of the pressing ham is that you are pressing the dart or curve into the shape it is intended to be rather than flat onto the ironing board. I have my ham (that actually looks like a leg of ham) that I use for pressing my darts. I also have a sausage roll that I use for pressing my sleeves and anything that is in the round.

Always start by spraying a little bit of spray starch. You guys all know how much I love @soakwash #flatterspray . What this will do is soak into the fibres and then when you press with a hot dry iron, it will dry and hold the fabric in shape that you pressed it in. Place your ham underneath your dart or curve and move it around until the curve fits nicely onto the ham. If you don't have access to a ham, I have used a stuff dolls head, a rolled up towel, or fabric folded up. They aren't perfect but they work much better than pressing flat.

P.S. If you have any sewing questions or queries on products etc let me know and if I write about it on a Tuesday Tip post I'll send you a free PDF pattern of choice too!

P.P.S How gorgeous are my pressing hams looking after I recovered them? Want to know how? Read below to find out how...


How I made them pretty...

I posted this little baby a while ago, but it is so awesome I thought it worth sharing again.

There are no boring and drab red pressing hams for me!!! I was able to make my pressing hams worthy of being on show in my sewing room just with a little update, using one of my favorite @artgalleryfabrics @barijdesigns fabrics!! My mother-in-law helped me create these by unpicking the original, using it as a pattern and sewing these new ones. She's the expert hand sewer so I was more than happy for her to help!

Has anyone given this ago? I would love to see your updated pressing hams? What fabric did you choose for the project?


Hey y'all!

Welcome to Sew To Grow!
Our mission is to help you build a perfectly fitted handmade wardrobe, so when someone asks where you got your fabulous frock you can confidently say 'I made it!'. To help you on your sewing journey, here you'll find a range of tutorials about sewing techniques, garment fitting, notions and tools, fabric and more!

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
bottom of page