Tools for the job

I’m feeling rather smug at both having finally got round to doing some­thing I’ve been meaning to do for months AND having saved myself about £25 in the process.

Tailor's ham and sleeve roll

Tailor’s ham and sleeve roll

I’ve made myself a tailor’s ham and a sleeve roll.  Don’t look too closely at the rather rough and ready stitch­ing.  The ham is three layers of cotton (an old sheet that’s being cut up in my studio for mul­ti­far­i­ous uses) and then calico on one side and wool on the other (emnants from a toile and a waist­coat).  It’s stuffed full of wood shavings as tight and firm as I could get it and then I’ve bias bound the seam.  The sleeve roll is Saturday’s Guardian news­pa­per rolled up, rubber band to hold it in place and then wrapped in more of the old sheet.  Filled with zeal, I’ve also taken off the ironing board cover and padded it with three old towels before putting the cover back.  I’ve not done this neatly as the ironing board is getting very rusty and probably should be replaced.  And if I replaced it, I might buy a larger one so no point cutting the towels to an exact fit just yet.

Pressing is such an import­ant part of dress­mak­ing that I’m really looking forward to the next excuse to use these.  As ever, having the right tool for the job makes it easier and more sat­is­fy­ing.

However, I did find myself “acci­dent­ally” looking up on the net how much the ironing boards we were using at Central St Martin’s cost.  An ironing board with a vacuum system that pulls the steam away from the material so that it’s prac­tic­ally dry as soon as you lift it, with the iron con­nec­ted to a 3.5l water con­tainer giving a powerful steam blast.  The iron sole­plate was quite small and heavy, but the results were impress­ive.  Seems like the board and the iron come in at around £350 plus VAT each which is a scary sum, albeit less than I had thought it might be, so I have added it to my longterm save-up-for-it wish list.  I think it’s down below a better man­nequin to drape on and raising the height of the cutting table I use at the café to 90cm!

Now off to use those buttons in the pho­to­graph. I’m repla­cing the ones on a pat­terned cardigan I have.  A non-matching mul­ti­col­our set will do it more justice than the present ones. 


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