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Forum > Patterns and Notions > Making a tailors ham. ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Making a tailors ham.
It's traditionally stuffed with sawdust. Why? Would this work, too?
jadamo00
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Date: 8/3/12 12:44 PM

Over at the PINCUSHION THREAD , I found out that a good substitute for emery powder is FINELY GROUND WALNUT SHELLS. You can buy this in a pet store as REPTILE BEDDING; however, the smallest sack is 5 quarts.

I wonder if I could stuff a tailors ham with it? Professional tailors hams are stuffed with sawdust or horsehair.

Do you know WHY that is? There’s gotta be a good reason why it's sawdust and not just old rags, right?

Do you think the walnut shells would work?

Any advice, knowledge, or opinions welcome!

j.







-- Edited on 8/3/12 12:46 PM --

beauturbo
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In reply to jadamo00 <<


Date: 8/3/12 1:03 PM

Easy availability most likely. A lot of things have been stuffed with saw dust and horsehair over the years.

I think it's because everyone used to have saw dust at their house (if you have a saw, drill press, lathe ect. in your garage, shed, barn) you most likely have a big box under it to just even collect the saw dust.

Also horse hair used to be plentiful as everyone had horses. I don't think they were in particular pulling any horsehair off the horses, it's just that if you have ever had a horse, you would notice that horse tail/mane fur does shed and even get stuck in even the wood, of the coral fences. Other common things I can think of that were stuffed with saw dust and maybe horsehair would be the cloth bodies of lots of older Composition Dolls sometimes. Kathe Kruse, the famous cloth doll maker in Germany, I think used to stuff her dolls, even with reindeer fur back then, so what ever is available, gets used in things.

I have had a horse, and a saw, and clean sawdust would be good to stuff something that you wanted very firm and dense. The horsehair, unless it was washed and sterilized, if just found stuck on your coral fence, maybe not so much in something over years and years, as it would be just much like your own loose and discarded hair or any other pet hair, and might break down or collect bugs and stuff over the years though.

loti
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In reply to jadamo00 <<


Date: 8/3/12 1:27 PM

I'm thinking availability as well as density. You need stuffing material that you can pack tightly, is smooth and will serve as a stiff base for all of the ironing and steaming. I recently bought a vintage Dritz tailor's ham and didn't realize until it was home that it smells a bit musty (it is stuffed with sawdust). You have me intrigued with the ground english walnut shells, that could work, but I'd be interested in knowing how fine the texture is.

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jadamo00
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In reply to loti <<


Date: 8/3/12 1:41 PM

Quote: loti
the ground english walnut shells...how fine the texture is.

I checked it out last night: it seems very fine. You really can check it out at any pet store!

Also, the ground walnut shells seem to have good HEFT: I know a lot of tailors hams are heavy, so the walnut shells seem to have the right weight.

I heard once that the hams are stuffed with sawdust because the wood holds the heat, or something, that makes for maximum effectiveness as a pressing tool But, who knows? If there is old wisdom about this, I wish I knew it!



j.
Elona
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In reply to jadamo00 <<


Date: 8/3/12 1:53 PM

When I was a kid, making your own tailor's ham--with sawdust stuffing--was one of the sewing projects for beginners. Like many here, I suspect the reason for a sawdust filling was simple availability, plus the fact that sawdust was generally clean, dry, and inert.

I can report that packing your home-stuffing of choice is time consuming, and without a lot of work, the finished product will not approach the firmness and smoothness of a commercial ham.

Even though I lived on a farm and all the materials necessary to make a ham were right there, I never did it again. Commercial hams rule!

jadamo00
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In reply to Elona <<
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Date: 8/3/12 2:01 PM

Quote: Elona
I can report that packing your home-stuffing of choice is time consuming, and without a lot of work, the finished product will not approach the firmness and smoothness of a commercial ham....I never did it again. Commercial hams rule!

I totally, TOTALLY believe you, and I was already warned this. It's just that they are SO EX-PEN-SIVE!

Right now, I use a very (very) tightly rolled terry cloth towel, wrapped flat and tied with seam binding.



j.
Elona
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In reply to jadamo00 <<


Date: 8/3/12 4:57 PM

True, they are expensive, but maybe less so if you squirrel away a percentage of the price for several months. Alternatively, there are often pretty good deals on ebay.

These things last forever and are beautifully made.


-- Edited on 8/3/12 5:02 PM --

simplystitches
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In reply to jadamo00 <<


Date: 8/3/12 10:50 PM

If you can get to a Joann's watch the ads for the notions wall to be on sale at 50% off. All of the pressing aids are included in the sale.

Debbie

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Date: 8/3/12 11:04 PM

Dritz Pressing Ham @ JoAnns is on sale right now for $8.79, but the regular price is $10.99.

CMC

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Date: 8/3/12 11:06 PM

Are you talking about a special ham? I got mine for less than $9 at Clothilde or Nancy's, I think, and have seen them at Joann's for not much more.

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