At some point in your sewing life, you really want your sewing projects to look professional. One of the easiest ways to do that is to invest in some good tools for tailoring. Pressing is so much of tailoring, and this trio of tailoring tools will help you get nice pretty pressed seams.
5. Tailor’s Ham
Tailor’s hams are called that because they look like a ham. So original, I know. This sturdy little device, usually filled with sawdust will help you press curves really easily.
Once you get used to pressing sleeve caps, collars, and curvy hems on a ham, it’s really hard to go back. All you do is drape a curve over the ham and press it as it lies. Let it cool on the ham and you’ll have built some beautiful shape into your garment.
For collars, you can wrap it around the ham and steam the shape right in.
There are holders you can buy for hams, though I’ve never found I need one.
Fun fact: a football tee will hold a tailor’s ham quite well.
6. Sleeve roll
Sleeve rolls are like tailor’s hams, but for sleeves. Press the seams on long leg seams or inside a sleeve.
Sleeve rolls can really help you press a long seam nice and flat. And because they’re fairly small in diameter, they help you create a pressing surface in places the pointy end of a ironing board is too wide to reach.
Bonus: Pressing on the curved surface of a ham or sleeve roll can also stop the pressed seam from making an imprint on the right side.
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7. Point presser/clapper
Let’s just throw it out there that tailoring tools have cool names. Clappers combine a little brute force with steam to help you make pancake-flat seams.
Press a seam, plunk down the clapper right over it to hold in the steam. Most of the time, you don’t actually have to actually smack the fabric [though clapping fabric is indeed cheaper than therapy]. Holding the clapper firmly on a pressed seam will do the trick.
The clapper will help the heat relax the fibers of the fabric. Just like with the ham, let the fabric cool and you’ll be rewarded with such a lovely seam.
I like this combo point presser/clapper. In the combo, the point presser is a handle for the clapper. Point pressers can help you get into the tiny nooks and crannies of a collar when you press it.
If you like sharp collars, a point presser is a must. It’s another one of the those helpful sewing tools that it’s hard to go back after having used it.
I keep my team of pressing supplies right under my ironing board so I can batch my pressing. That’s one of the 41 tips in my ultimate guide to sewing efficiently.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.