Win Your Ironing Battles with Big Bust Darts and Princess Seams

Here's another clothing challenge for full-busted women: curvy darts and princess seams on a flat ironing board.

In the past, I've carefully aligned the seam with the edge of the ironing board and rotated as necessary until each section of the curve has been pressed. Half the time, the result is . . . okay.

And half the time it isn't.


Ironing a Campbell & Kate L-size shirt, like the blue 8L below, can be especially hit-or-miss. That's because they have "shaped" bust darts that are great at accommodating an H cup but not so great at accommodating a flat surface.


Last week I discover a solution for the ironing perfectionist who has a large bust. It's called a tailor's ham, and it is a tightly packed pillow around which you can mold the bust-shaped sections of your tops and dresses to achieve beautifully pressed darts and princess seams.

Mine is the ordinary plaid ham from Dritz that costs around $14, but there are many sewers' blogs with instructions for making your own, or you can even custom order one through Etsy.


I began with the shirt inside out. See how well the point of the shaped dart flattens onto the ham's surface? Goodbye, wrinkled nipple look!


  Next, I ironed it right side out against the tailor's ham.


Here is the final result.


A tailor's ham isn't necessarily a time saver, but it certainly makes one's ironing efforts more efficient. One note of caution, however: don't iron upside down! I focus so much on the wrinkled seams that I keep forgetting about gravity and spilling the steam water onto my shirts.


Finally, here are two more final results from my first week of using this great tool for full-busted women who want to look sharp and crisp, even around their curves.




2019 edit: I've since discovered the benefits of a sleeve ironing board.Yes, it's good for sleeves, but the narrow surface also makes it easy to iron small curved spaces.