There are many tools that are essential for sewing: needles, iron, thread and chalk come readily to mind. One that often gets overlooked is a tailor's ham
(and yes, it's called a ham cuz it looks like one). It's basically a firm, rounded cushion that allows you to press curved seams so they retain their original, curved shape.
For some reason, I didn't take mine with us when we moved to Toronto. I've made due for the last little while, piling sweaters or towels under a seam to create the right curve. I plan to make one as most commercially available hams are filled with sawdust rather than fiber and aren't quite as nice to work with. Have I even started on this project, project #257 out of #489? Nope. Le sigh.
I usually use the ham at The Workroom
when I'm there to teach. Then one day, it hit me. The large cones of thread and yarn that I can't pass up at thrift stores could work as a stand-in, diy ham. I tried it out and success! While there are not as many options of types of curves, the yarn cone works pretty well. One caveat, I would only use one that has a natural fiber on it (the high heat and steam from the iron could cause a synthetic to melt and go icky) and that is a neutral/natural colour as the steam from the iron could cause the dye to lift and stain your project.
And that strangely shape green piece on my ham? I will hopefully be able to reveal what is it and what's part of by the end of the week.