Okay, I'm kinda nervous about including pattern weights in 'Sewing 201,' but I received so many comments about them after our last Sewing 201 post that I think we should just talk about them now and assume you use them from here on out, okay? If you don't use them now, read on to see why you should.
To be honest, starting to use pattern weights was was one of those whoa moments for me. When I thought 'yup, people are right about these, they fix so many cutting problems!'
Keep reading to the end for a tutorial.
So these are my old pattern weights. I still love them even though I made the slick new ones above and I'm gonna give you a tutorial below. My sister made them... they are actually part of a checkers game she made for me with a patchwork board and ceramic pieces. She covered the ceramic pieces with fabric, ribbon, stickers, and modge-podge. Late one night I was about to cut out a pattern and the checkers game was sitting out so I grabbed some pieces to use as pattern weights. We haven't played checkers since - sorry Bekah!
Here's why you should use pattern weights:
You probably already know this, but pinning your pattern pieces to the fabric can cause the fabric to stretch, wrinkle, bulge, and otherwise not cut correctly (especially with knit fabric). It also tears your pattern pieces. And it is s-l-o-w.
Using pattern weights is so much faster plus all your work smoothing out the fabric is not wasted. The weights will gently hold the pattern in place while you cut.
Here's the Tutorial:
I made 12 fun little pattern weights (with ribbon finger-handles) using 24 three inch squares and a yard of pretty Anna Maria Horner ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons. They are very easy to sew:
- Cut the ribbon into 12 three inch pieces. Decide which squares will be your tops and bottoms. Place a piece of ribbon (right side up) on top of each top piece (right side up). Place a bottom square over, right side down.
- Pin. I used only one pin in the middle of each set to hold the ribbon in place. You may use more pins if you wish.
- Sew around each square, leaving a 1 1/2'' opening for filling and turning. Sewing little outward 'legs' to the raw edge helps those raw edges turn inside later. Clip corners.
- Turn, placing ribbon right side up.
- Fill with rice, small beans, or other material to add weight. 2 T. of rice in each one worked nicely for me. Pin opening closed.
- Stitch opening close to edge.