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Making Sewing Pattern Weights

Category Sewing
Pink Sewing Pattern Weight
Some seamstresses choose to not pin the pattern pieces to the fabric, but rather to use weights to hold them in place. This is a guide about making sewing pattern weights.
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March 14, 2010

With just a few sewing scraps or some recycled clothing, you can make your own pattern weights instead of buying expensive ones from the store. They also make great gifts for anyone you know who sews. Using weights saves your sewing patterns from pin damage, and speeds up pattern cutting.

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Approximate Time: Under 10 minutes each.

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Draw a 2 inch circle onto heavy paper, for your pattern and cut it out. It might help to draw a 1 inch opening mark on your pattern to remind you to leave an area open.
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  3. Sandwich your 4 inch squares so that the stretchy fabrics are on the outside, the woven shirt fabric square on the inside. Pin your circle pattern near the middle and zig-zag around outside it, remembering to leave about an inch unstitched for filling.
  4. Tuck the tip of a funnel (or paper shaped into a funnel ) into the opening (picking either side of the fabric square sandwiched inside) and empty the whole packet of BB's into it. Be careful to just let a few at a time roll in so that the funnel tip won't get clogged.
  5. Zig-zag the opening closed, and continue stitching all the way around the circle again for stability. Make sure you have the BB's on the top side here as you stitch, they'll stretch the fabric upwards and the bottom layers will lay flat so you get a smoother rounded circle. (If you'd not put the stabilizing woven fabric inside, you'd have a floppy mess at this point.)
  6. Using your pinking shears, cut outside the stitching, through all layers at once, all the way around the circle.
  7. There. You're all done. Since I'm a sewer and made my own set of about a dozen just for myself, I used any old bits of leftover fabrics and thread, never minding the colors really.

    If you're making these for a friend, use whatever pretty colors they might like. If you sew with fleece, you can get creative and make these shaped like a flower. Simply cut petal shapes freehand as you're cutting around the circle at the end. They're not quite as good as the stretchy swimsuit type fabric, but they will work.

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*Note: The reason for using swimsuit type stretch fabric, is that it holds its shape better while holding the weight of the BB's, letting them roll and distribute evenly. The "shirt fabric" inside provides just enough stability to keep it from stretching too much. If you're using fleece scraps, you may not need the extra fabric square inside.

Do start with a square at least 2 inches larger than your pattern either way though, as it's much easier to guide under the sewing machine foot, and also makes it easier to put in the BB's and hold them there before stitching the opening shut. Trust me on this, I'm still picking up BB's from before figuring that out.

By Mary from Mountain Pine, AR

Comment Was this helpful? 3
March 14, 20100 found this helpful

I used to know a woman that used drinking glasses for pattern weights. I always thought that sounded like a lot of work, getting them out of the cabinet and then putting them away again. lol Let alone the risk of knocking one on the floor and having it break.

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

I use to use kitchen forks,spoons & knives for pattern weights untill my daughter gave me the weights for a gift,I have enjoyed them very much,good luck.

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March 21, 20100 found this helpful

I use large washers for my pattern weights. You can spray paint them if you want.

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September 25, 20100 found this helpful

Awsome idea.Thanks.

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August 17, 20130 found this helpful

Instead of using BBs, couldn't you use fish tank gravel, or ground walnuts, or maybe even small pebbles that you would use to decorate large vases that have a water plant at the top? Or maybe even sawdust?

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April 7, 20140 found this helpful

I'm not sure I understand the purpose in using weights to hold patterns? Seems rather awkward to me. I've been sewing for 50 odd years, mother taught me, and we always just used a few straight pins to pin the pattern to the material. Sure a lot cheaper than buying a pkg of bb's for each weight. And you don't have to worry about them scooting around.

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April 7, 20140 found this helpful

After reading some of the responses, glass ware, forks, spoons, etc. It sounds more of setting a table than sewing...lol. I personally don't understand the purpose of using weights, but what about a plain ole ordinary Rock? And if you're into pretty things...paint it, decorate it... wrap it in tin foil.

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May 6, 2015

If you prefer to use pattern weights, instead of pinning, these yoyo pattern weights are an easy and fun option. They are also a great way to use up scrap fabric.

Yo Yo Pattern Weights

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? 3
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