Sewing Tip: Pressing (Sleeve) Boards and Hams

OK, the title here sounds way too serious!!!  Or maybe you are saying, what does ham have to do with sewing?  Ha, ha!  But I’ll tell you, I cannot live without my pressing board and ham. You don’t need to sew clothes to get some great use from these two items. I use one or the other almost every time that I sew.

This is my pressing board.  It has two sides, one with a wider and more rounded back-end, and a narrower and more pointed end….

And you just flip it over, and the other side also has a wide end, but it is shorter and narrower than the wide one on the other side, and the more narrow end is a bit more rounded and wider, than the narrow end on the other side. You can see this in the following pictures.

This board works great when you are trying to press seams, especially when the material is something like a fabric basket, or a sleeve, or anything that doesn’t fit well on the end of your ironing board.  Or if you are trying to get into a corner to press it, this works great!  And it folds up flat for storage, so it’s easy to keep it close by, without it getting in the way. Just flip the little lever in the middle.

I don’t use my pressing ham as often as I do the board, but it is still great for smoothing out rounded items.

This wonderful item, shaped like a giant egg, is made from two different fabrics.  The plaid side is wool, and the white side is cotton.

You use the wool side for synthetic blend fabrics and wool, any fabric that requires low to medium temperatures.  The cotton side is for cotton, linen and other fabrics that require medium to high temperatures.  Again, the ends are two different widths so they work great for different sizes of areas.

I have found that having these two pressing aids available has helped me get through a project more times than I can remember.  I hope that you find them useful as well.

Thanks for coming by!

UPDATE:  My apologies to any of you that may have gone looking for a ‘pressing board’ at your fabric stores, or online.  The board is actually called a ‘sleeve board’, and I have been using it so long, I totally named it something else, in my mind.  I hope that this hasn’t caused you a lot of difficulty and time.  Thanks so much!

4 thoughts on “Sewing Tip: Pressing (Sleeve) Boards and Hams

  1. Cheryl,
    I am enjoying all your posts. After reading this one I scourged the internet trying to find one. Would you share where you purchased it? (Please don’t tell me your husband made it for you!) I made a basket a week ago and it would of been so helpful. Thank you so much.

  2. I could really use a pressing board like that in my studio because there’s no room for a full size ironing board. I have my mom’s vintage ironing hams, but I never use them. They are more nostalgic around here ;) Great advice, as always!

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