My sewing is very eclectic. Because my sewing is so eclectic, so too is my collection of sewing tools: I have countless rulers, types of scissors, clips, pins, blocking mats, etc. You name it, I probably have it. There is one tool in my collection that, I believe, is a must if you will be working on any type of projects that involve sewing curves. That tool is a pressing ham. I have two, actually. Each one has different curves available to handle anything on which I might be working. Since I like to use all the different curves and surfaces of the hams, I also have a stand into which they both will fit.
A pressing ham allows the pressing of curved seams without creating creases, as would happen if you pressed curved seams on a flat ironing surface.
Usually there is a wool side to the ham and a cotton side, allowing different amounts of steam and temperature to penetrate the fabric for your project. Since the ham is usually filled with sawdust or an equivalent material, you are able to pin directly into the ham, fixing your curve directly to the surface of the tool.
This makes it great for working with anything on the bias too (such as this jacket’s curved back neck).
Though this tool is used most often by garment sewers, I have also used it in home décor and quilting: anywhere I have needed to press a curved seam. I even use it to press flat seams that become curved when they drape over the body, such as those for darts.
By the way, I am all for saving money, but this tool should be one of quality. The two hams I use have been with me for over 30 years and have been used countless times, but are both in excellent condition. If you buy quality here, you will probably never have to replace it.