Irene from Serger Pepper here! How is your sewing machine? Did you clean it from the last time we met? And did you make a bag for your laptop? Or maybe you've been too busy choosing your first serger…
Today we're here to talk about a sewing tool I didn't use for a lot of time (my mom still looks at me weird when I say I'm not using pins… whaaat?):
What are pattern weights? Exactly what their name says!
They can be any heavy object, better if not too fragile or spiky, absolutely not sphere-shaped 🙂
They are used, just like pins, to keep the pattern pieces stuck to the fabric while you cut it, to make sure you're cutting as accurate as you can.
Let me show you my unconventional pattern weights:
You can see I use almost anything to weight down my paper pattern pieces: I have a DIY hubby who made me some cool metal chunks, but I often use beer cans, cat food, soy beans filled jars, rolls of elastic, stones, grandma's cutlery silverware, food tins, drinking glasses…… as I said: anything goes!
I often say I should make some cute ones like the ones listed down below but… too many things to do and not enough time is my mantra!
Pattern weights Pros Vs. Pins
- much faster to put on and to remove
- making little adjustments (like when you are aligning your pattern to the fabric grainline) is easier and faster
- they don't leave holes on the pattern pieces, making them last longer
- they don't leave marks on delicate fabrics
- they don't bunch the fabric as pins do, making easier for you to cut fabric true to the pattern piece
- you can't ruin your scissors blade by accidentally trying to cut pins
Pattern weights Cons Vs. Pins
- they work best paired with rotary cutter and mat: sometimes it's hard to slip the scissors below the fabric and still keep pattern weights holding the pattern down!
- … I really can't find other Cons… can you spot others? Please add your experience in the comments section!
A couple of side notes about pattern weights:
When using thicker fabrics, choose heavier pattern weights, or the whole thing won't work!
Depending on the pattern (simple shape or full of details) and the fabric (thin slippery jersey vs. stable quilting cotton) I'm using, I sometimes decide to place all the pattern pieces on the fabric and then pin them all around before I cut them.
This make the process faster, because I can rapidly check that I have enough fabric for my project (really useful when you're refashioning old clothes instead of buying yardages from the bolt!), then go ahead to accurately transfer marking to the fabric.
When I need to trace darts or other marks, I prefer having my pattern pieces perfectly attached to the fabric, until I'm done.
No-sew ideas to make your pattern weights
Before we start: each pattern weight link will take you to the original ‘Pin'.
This is so you can follow through to read them now, if you like, or re-pin them if you prefer to check them later.
These are probably my favorite: I've crocheted for a big part of my childhood, and I love that they're filled with coins!
Interesting that these are made in two pieces (one with a magnet)… not sure how I would use them: If I know me, if I separate the two parts I will almost certainly lose one of them!
This is the way most sewers make their pattern weights: with washers!
Sewn Pattern Weights DIY
Another way to use washers, sewn by hand
These are pretty fun: ribbon is added on top, so you can slip your fingers on to grab pattern weights!
Cool and embellished with a reverse applique these pattern weights may be a cool handmade gift (with a coordinated drawstring bag) for any sewer… I would love to receive them, sadly I don't know anyone who may think to make them for me, in my “real” life!!
Maybe not cute… but with a smart shape, these pattern weights can be used to secure down weird-shaped pattern pieces: you can fold them to follow pattern corners!
Not originally supposed to be Pattern Weight, but…
This last section puts together a few ideas that will do great as pattern weights, just use an heavy filling (BBs or gravel are great… sand would be too, but it's not that handy!)
Little Chicken Pyramid Bean Bags – Glue Stick Blog FREE PDF pattern
Aren't they simply divine?
Try with this tutorial, if you've never created a pouch to be filled… it's for my easy heat pad but, working on different measurements (I would make them narrower), you can make great pattern weights with it!
This is a no-brainer! These glass gems are a genius hack… just be sure you don't get the spherical ones!
Interested in more Pattern weights DIY?
You could follow my Pinterest Board entirely dedicated to pattern weights!
And you? What do you use for pattern weights? Let us know!
See you next time,