Monday, October 14, 2013

Ham Bag Tutorial

My husband loves ham.   Every Christmas he comes home with a very large ham.   So, I have made him his very own Ham Bag.  He can keep his prized ham wrapped to perfection, until three days after Christmas when I can face ham no more and make him chop it up and put it in the freezer......

To make a ham bag or two, you will need:

Tea towels - calico also works but one hot wash and getting the wrinkles out is more work than I can stand.
I bought a four pack from Safeway for about $8.   I needed some right there and then: you can no doubt get them cheaper, just make sure they are cotton.

The embroidery was completed first.  I used two of the four co-ordinating designs for the bag.  The one I thought would stand out the most became the applique and I have one left - I will make a smaller one for use as the ham shrinks!

The bag is made with the applique being on the 'flap'of the bag.   Once you have decided how big you need to make your Ham Bag, iron a fold above the design area and set up your machine to embroider the applique and position the writing where you like.   Each design has a basting stitch to keep the tea towel in place if you are not hooping.

Once the design is complete, stitch two tea towels together across one end.   You now have the embroidered towel and a second towel together.   I used the hemmed ends as a guide line for stitching ( in the picture you can see the label).  Make sure you secure each end and then trim off the hems.
press to one edge and stitch down.   If you want you can overlock this edge, but it is inside the bag and won't be seen.  

Place the joined tea towels wrong side up  and once you have decided on the depth of the bag, trim the second tea towel and re-hem. 

  (You can see in the photo that I used some clear elmers glue to keep the hem folded until I have stitched, this will wash out).   With the wrong sides together, I simply ran a seam up each side to create a bag.   The embroidered part of the tea towel now sits over the top as a flap.  

Of course, if you really want to keep it simple, embroider the design on a tea towel, fold tea towel  in half and ta da, Small Ham Bag!!! For the bigger design, embroider on one tea towel and then stitch together with a second tea towel and  double ta da!!!

I would recommend giving the bag a good wash before use.   I used spray starch to keep the fabric crisp whilst stitching, but I don't want starch on my ham!!  


After the ham is removed from its packaging, the best way to keep it from drying out, is to simply soak the Ham Bag in the following solution, wring it out, and place the ham inside the bag and store in the coolest part of the refrigerator.  Change over every couple of days and repeat the soaking.

SOAK SOLUTION:  4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  That's it!!

These are a neat little hostess gift at Christmas time - and take no time at all to whip up.  

The applique and wording is now available over in my Etsy shop - Ham Bag.  Comes in two sizes -   5 x 7 (Pig 6.93 x 3.76inches /Wording 6.94 x 1.76inches) and 8 x 12   (Pig 10.84 x 3.02 inches/Wording 11.50 x 6.22 inches).

And remember, it is only 70 days to Christmas as I write this........

Sue xxx


  1. Thanks for your tutorial. I'm looking for the link to the designs and will make one for our ham :)

    1. Hi Julie, the embroidery design is available here:

      and the smaller one is here:

  2. I purchased this ham bag design today. So pleased with the results. Stitched out beautifully. Love the pig and the text looks beautiful

  3. I purchased the ham bag design today and love it. It stitched out beautifully. Love the pig and the lettering is beautiful. Going to have the flashiest ham bag this Christmas. Thank you

    1. So pleased to hear you love it Lesley!


I would love to hear from you, just so I know I am not talking to myself - the cat is tired and so is the dog!