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Kristin Roach, founder and author of Craft Leftovers, has been a long-time contributor to CRAFT (both in print and online) so we are incredibly excited to be able to share a cool project from her new book, Mend It Better. As the title implies, Mend it Better is a book full of tips, history and projects related to repairing textiles. Kristin does a fantastic job of sharing her own personal stories of mending and crafting, alongside practical skills for extending the life of clothing, accessories and home goods. Chapters include background and basic information on things like patching, hemming, closures and then finish up with several creative projects using those techniques. Mend it Better is a great go-to resource that you’ll want to have within hand’s reach at all times, as well as a fun place to find easy project inspiration.
One of the things I really loved about this book was that Kristin provides instructions for making some actual tools that are instrumental in mending and sewing. I like the idea of not just making some kind of finished project, but actually constructing tools you can use for all your future projects. One of these tools is the highly useful tailor’s ham, an essential tool for handy and crisp pressing. We’re excited to be able to share Kristin’s project for sewing your own tailor’s ham that will make your pressing easier and more professional looking. Read ahead for the whole project, download the PDF of instructions and pattern and read on to see how you could win your own copy of Mend it Better by Kristin Roach.
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Make Your Own Tailor’s Ham
by Kristin Roach

Excerpted from Mend It Better © by Kristin Roach, Photo by Greg Nesbit Photography, Illustration by © Kristin Nicholas, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

This great pressing tool is so easy to make and it’s so helpful. It will take a few tries to get the hang of how to use it, but over time it will really improve your pressing results.
What You’ll Need
Template for ham (download instructions & pattern PDF)
Muslin, velvet, and upholstery fabric scraps slightly larger than the template
Batting, enough for 2 pieces the size of the template
Shredded paper to use as filling
Mending supply kit (see page 24 of Mend it Better)
Sewing machine (optional)


What You’ll Do
Step 1. Use the template to cut one piece of muslin, one piece of upholstery fabric, and two pieces of batting.
Step 2. Layer the fabrics and batting in the following order: batting, upholstery or velvet and muslin fabric, right sides together, batting
Step 3. Stitch around the edge of the layered fabrics, using a ½” seam allowance and leaving a 3″ gap. Turn the layers right side out through the opening.
Step 4. Stuff the ham as tightly as you can with the shredded paper. Use a ladder stitch to close the gap. Fasten off and trim the threads.

Download PDF Download the Instructions and Template for making a tailor’s ham, by Kristin Roach (excerpted from Mend it Better)
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.

Giveaway Time! One lucky CRAFT Reader will win a copy of Mend it Better by Kristin Roach. Just leave a comment letting us know what mending skill you’re most looking forward to learning from Kristin’s book (hemming, patching, darning, working with closures like zippers, etc.) Please be sure to leave your email address so we can get in touch with you if you win. Comments will close at 4PM PST on Sunday, March 25th. Contest is only open to US Residents.


  • Joshua Rease

    This book looks great! I just had to darn for the first time, and it was an exciting process. I look forward to the various techniques the author has illustrated!

  • Elizabeth Rehmer

    I am lookin forward to hemming and to working with closures like zippers. They intimidate me sooooooo much!!

  • Kathy

    I would love to learn how to darn. All of my socks have holes in them! What’s wrong with my feet?

  • Kathy

    I would love to learn how to darn. All of my socks have holes in them! What’s wrong with my feet?

  • Erin

    I would like to learn to darn and to fix broken zippers.

  • Aurélie

    I would love to know how to mend zippers … And I’m sure my mending skills could need some improving :-) Thanks for the give away!

  • sue at nobaddays

    Patching and darning — I remember my grandmother and mom mending all kinds of things. A skill I never picked up but now need with two small boys. My oldest can work through a pair of jeans in a couple weeks … skidding on his knees!

  • Carissa

    Patches! They never turn out right for me.

  • Carissa

    Patches! They never turn out right for me.

  • yahaira

    I can darn with a machine, but for the life of me can’t do it by hand (hello holey socks!) so would love to learn that. and maybe some creative patching!
    I was just thinking today I would love to learn how to make my own tailor’s ham, perfect timing!

  • yahaira

    I can darn with a machine, but for the life of me can’t do it by hand (hello holey socks!) so would love to learn that. and maybe some creative patching!
    I was just thinking today I would love to learn how to make my own tailor’s ham, perfect timing!

  • Shannon

    I would love help with darning socks, mending sweaters and fixing buttons! So much!!

  • Beth

    Patching, for sure. My daughter can make a game of Scrabble worthy of a dramatic knee-slide!

  • hilary

    I’d like to learn darning so I can repair all my argyle socks!

  • Eleanor (undeadgoat)

    I’m most excited about darning–I do sew, so I have *some* knowledge of hems and seams and (some kinds of) zippers, but darning and patching just never works out well for me.

  • gia

    i definitely need to learn to hem!! i cut off the bottoms of some pants on a whim… but i don’t know how to hem them!

  • gia

    i definitely need to learn to hem!! i cut off the bottoms of some pants on a whim… but i don’t know how to hem them!

  • gia

    (oops! sorry i didn’t know the first comment posted so i accidentally posted again!)

  • Cheryl

    I really would like to learn how to patch and work with zippers….both are a little scary for me!

  • Cheryl

    I really would like to learn how to patch and work with zippers….both are a little scary for me!

  • Erica

    Patching! I have a ten year old son which equals a definite need to patch things and but the patches have to look cool too :)

  • Cindy G.

    I’d like to learn how to properly darn things or patch up (or otherwise conceal) tiny holes in clothing.

  • Lora W.

    I need the instructional on patches. My son just joined cub scouts!

  • Deedee

    Working with closures like zippers. For my last felted bag, I just gave up and paid someone to do it!

  • robin

    If it taught me how to replace a zipper, that would be awesome! I’d love to win the book – thanks for the chance!

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