For our DIY blog post this week, we created a few much-needed pieces of equipment that are essential to have on-hand for any sewist! These pieces have been wonderfully helpful additions to our sewing studio, so if you've been looking to upgrade and improve your sewing space too, you'll love this DIY!
Read on to learn about how we transformed fabric scraps into pattern weights, a tailors pressing ham, seam roll and ironing board cover.
These delightful cylinder-shaped weights are made from fabric scraps of Vintage Finish Linen and filled with brown rice. So incredibly easy to make and also such a visually satisfying pop of colour to have on the cutting table- we love how they turned out!
We made up two sizes; a large size that measures 8cm in diameter and 6cm in height and a small size 6cm in diameter and 6cm in height. These are self-drafted pattern weights and we began by first marking out the pattern on vilene.
We drafted the top / bottom pattern piece for both sizes by drawing up two circles, 8cm and 6cm in diameter, adding 0.6 cm seam allowance to each, and notching at the quarter. To draft the sides for these weights; we draw up a rectangle shape that measured in length the exact circumference of the top / bottom and 6cm in height. We then added 0.6mm seam allowance to the top and bottom of the rectangle, marked notches at each quarter, and finally added 1cm seam allowance to each end.
We cut out for each pattern weight; x2 top / bottom pieces and x1 rectangular piece.
These were a quick sew, firstly by stitching the rectangular short sides together, creating a cylinder shape, and making sure to leave a 2.5cm opening in the middle to turn through at the end. Next, we attached the circular top and bottom, carefully pinning to align the four notches as we stitched around the circumference of the circular top and base and then finally turning them through to press!
The final stage was to fill with brown rice that we'd picked up from our local bulk whole foods nearby. We made sure we packed the rice in very tightly and then gently blind hand stitched the gap closed to finish.
You could also fill the weight with other grains you may have a surplus of, perhaps lentils or beans or even sand would work very well too!
Tailors Pressing Ham and Seam Roll
These are such game-changing pressing tools to have in your studio that help to shape garments and are especially super useful in tailoring! The firm contoured shape of the Tailor's Ham assists in molding curved areas such as collars, cuffs, darts, sleeves heads, and waistlines, while the Seam Roll is an amazing tool for pressing those hard-to-reach areas in a garment such as cuffs, sleeves, and trouser leg seams. Traditionally Tailor's Hams are made from natural woven fabrics with one side in wool and the other side in cotton, to withstand high levels of heat and to assist with pressing different fabrics weights. These are stuffed with natural woodchips or sawdust to create a firm heavy filling.
We did a little research beforehand and there are a few free downloadable patterns out there to create these Tailor's Hams from scratch. Jennifer Lauren Handmade, Tilly and the Buttons, and Corset Training all have some good patterns to follow. We chose a set of patterns from Corset Training website, making a minor adjustment to the length of the Seam Roll, and added 7cm.
We found some sizeable scraps of a thick 100% wool coating to use for one side of the Tailor's Ham and Seam Roll and then used unbleached cotton Calico for the under-side and lining. For the stuffing, we also managed to source some natural untreated wood chips, usually used for smoking food. Please note it's very important to not use anything that has been treated with chemicals (as you will be inhaling the steam when you are pressing with the iron!)
Overall this was a pretty fast make, with the pattern pieces cut on the cross to allow a natural stretch in the fabric. We used approximately 40cm x 50cm of both fabrics - so it's definitely worth raiding your scrap stash when choosing fabrics as you really don't need much at all!
The Tailor's Ham and Seam Roll were so quick to sew up, stitching around the curved patterns pieces of wool coating and calico pieces, clipping seam allowance back, and then turning through the small opening to the right side. We made sure the tailors set were stuffed super tightly with the wood chips and even left overnight for the wood chips to settle in before topping up the next day. The very last step was to hand sew the opening closed.
Once dusted off these beautiful and satisfying molded shapes were ready to start pressing our seams to perfection!
Ironing Board Cover
This is something that has quite a lot of use in our busy sewing studio and with our well-loved ironing board cover urgently needing a makeover, we decided to whip one up in colourful crisp Liberty Cotton Twill. It’s such a great way to add a little personality to your studio or sewing corner, while also making a customised cover that fits your board perfectly too - so it's a win-win!
Using guidance from a combination of tutorials such as The Spruce Crafts, we traced off a pattern on vilene for the ironing board cover. We created the pattern for the ironing board cover by first tracing the outline of the ironing board (which measured 133cm in length and 45cm wide) added 5cm for the fabric cover to wrap underneath the board, and finally adding a further 2.5 cm for the elastic casing.
The Liberty Twill was 147cm wide and was just the right length for the ironing board pattern, so we used just under 70 cm in total and 1.5 metres of our Black 6mm Braided Elastic. Super economical!
To create the casing on this cover we pressed the outer raw edge under by 0.5cm and then folded again by 1cm and edge-stitched around the cover and making sure to gently pleat around the curved corners as we stitched, leaving a small opening along the straight edge to feed the elastic through. After gathering in the elastic to fit the board tightly, securing the elastic by stitching the ends together we had finished! ( or you can also just tie a knot in the elastic-if the elastic is narrow).
If you would like a padded ironing board cover, you could use a padded fabric as a lining, such as cotton toweling or perhaps spongy wool coating. To create a padded lining for the cover, cut the spongy lining the same size as the outer but take off the additional 2.5cm casing on the lining only so as not to add extra bulk when gathered. Baste the two fabrics together, along the outside edge of the lining, and then continue to stitch the casing, adding the elastic to finish.
For these DIY's, you’ll need:
– Pattern paper or vilene (for creating a pattern/template)
– Fabric shears
– Iron and ironing board
– Fabric remnants or scraps of your choice
– Thread and a hand sewing needle
– A sewing machine
– Rice or heavy grain for the filling (Pattern Weights)
–2kgs untreated sawdust or fine wood chips (Tailors Ham and Seam Roll)
–1.5 metres of Black 6mm Braided Elastic (Ironing Board Cover)
Pattern Weights – Vintage Finish Linen
We chose linen remnants and leftover scraps from past projects to create these small pattern weights. Using our Vintage Finish Linen colours in Navy, Sea Salt, Red Clay, Green Smoke, Ochre, and also in Vintage Blush Heavyweight Linen.
We choose a thick 100% wool without a pile, so this Wool Melton was a great choice for this Tailors Set. For the underside and lining, we used calico, however, you could also use something like Liberty Cotton Twill or Cotton Sateen.
Ironing Board Cover – Liberty Cotton Twill
We made this cover from a Liberty Cotton Twill (now sold out!), the weight of this cotton was the perfect fabric to provide a crisp and sturdy long-lasting cover. Other fabrics that would also work well would be cotton sateen and cotton drill. For the spongy lining, we would suggest any large leftover scraps from making a coat perhaps a Wool Melton would be perfect too!
This scrap-busting studio set was such a fun project to make up and create such useful items we have been needing in our studio! We have been using the Tailors Ham and Seam Roll every day since completion and most definitely makes sewing garments like our new Poppy Coat pretty dreamy. We don't know how we lived without these guys!
All of the DIY pieces were pretty simple to make and would be a great project for sewists of all levels and even make the perfect gifts for fellow crafters out there! Don't forget to share your beautiful makes on Instagram @wearethefabricstore using #TheFabricStore.