September 23, 2014

I have been following Tasia from Sewaholic for a few years.  I remember watching her take the brave step towards full time patternmaking.  There were not a lot of indie patternmakers at the time so I am sure that it was pretty scary.  I was in awe.  She has certainly established herself as a talented designer and patternmaker and as a great business woman.  Can you tell that I look up to her?

And now she has gone and done another cool thing, written a book, and it’s called the Sewtionary.  I am always excited to see other sewists succeed and turn their love for sewing into a real business.  The home sewing world has grown so much in the last few years and I think a lot of this can be attributed to those like Tasia who have taken their craft seriously and therefore have reached a wider audience. I for one am so excited to support them as they do so.

The book jacket describes it as :

“From “applique” to “zippers” and everything in between!

Tasia St. Germaine of Sewaholic shares 101 of the most essential sewing terms and techniques. Presented in an easy-to-use format, this alphabetical reference gives more than just definitions: photographed step-by-step tutorials will guide you through each technique, showing you in detail how to apply the technique to your own projects. No matter what stage you’re on in your sewing journey, The Sewtionary is here to help.”

 I would describe it as a book that I will refer to over and over again.  It’s full of tutorials from basic to more advances techniques with colored photographs for each step.  I went through the book and chose one of the tutorials that I wanted to try for the tour.  If you saw Lladybird’s post yesterday you will notice that we had the exact same idea.  Oh well, it was too late to make something new. Apparently we both had the same thing missing from our sewing studio.  (You should check hers out if you havn’t already.  She even includes a step by step tutorial because she is cool and generous like that.)

So yes, in the Sewtionary Tasia teaches us how to make a tailors ham and seam roll.  I honestly can’t believe that I have gone this long without them.  Making them was a lot easier than I ever imagined.  The hardest part was finding the sawdust.  You won’t believe how hard it is to describe why you need a grocery bag full of sawdust to the local mom and pop lumberyard.  And then, just for fun, try to describe what a tailors ham is.  In the end I had my husband bring some back from a trip he was on where he saw my family who is renovating their house.

Tasia recommends cotton for the top and wool for the bottom of your ham and roll.  The wool is from my stash.  I have a few yards of it that I inherited from my mother.  It’s really beautiful I just am still figuring out what to make with it.  The cotton is from April Rhodes Arizona line for Art Gallery fabrics.  I’m pretty stoked about how they turned out.  Much more chic than the average pressing tools in my opinion.  A couple extra tips from me after making them – Use a funnel to get the sawdust into the ham/roll, use a wooden spoon to press the sawdust into the corners, and be ready to make a huge mess.  A lint roller came in very handy to clean up the pressing tools and myself afterwards.

If you want to check out the rest of the fun blogs on the tour and what they have to say about the Sewtionary check out the links below.  And if you want your own copy of the Sewtionary you can buy one here.


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  • Reply Clio September 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Those are the best looking pressing tools!

  • Reply Heather September 23, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Great review Kelli! And amazing tools too – so much cooler looking that my sad little ham.

    • Reply True Bias September 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      thanks heather. as long as yours does the job right?

  • Reply lisa g September 23, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    your tailor’s ham and seam roll look awesome! i’m ashamed to admit that i don’t have either… i may have to give the diy version a shot. thanks for the tips!

    • Reply True Bias September 24, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      thanks lisa. you should do it. super easy!

  • Reply Sara September 23, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    I really wish I hadn’t gone out and already bought a ham! So expensive, and not nearly as pretty… maybe I can make a few as gifts to fellow sewists in my life! Ha! Also, I have no idea where I’d even get sawdust… (I’m in Canada, and according to Lladybird via Tasia, we can’t buy sawdust here!)

    • Reply True Bias September 24, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      i think this would make an awesome sewist gift. and yeah getting sawdust was the hardest part for me. i would say just keep your ears open and the next time you hear of someone saying they are into wordworking ask for their sawdust. i am sure they would LOVE to give it to you.

  • Reply Ginger October 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    LOVE the fabrics you chose! They’re so good! If you used fresh sawdust, you might wanna hang onto some extra or track a little more down. As it loses moisture, it sort of shrinks up and your ham will feel emptier… ask me how I know! 😮

    • Reply True Bias October 6, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      thanks sonja. good to know. i did keep some thankfully.

  • Reply Linda Rees October 31, 2014 at 3:56 AM

    I made a tailors ham and I use it all the time! I got my sawdust from a pet shop. The ham smells lovely when you use it- like freshly cut wood! Tip- it makes a HUGE mess, sit in the garden to stuff it.

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