Every sewer knows how uncooperative a flimsy tissue sewing pattern can be. Holding the paper in place while pinning and cutting sometimes seems to require four sets of hands, or a whole lot of pins that prick your fingers as soon as you let down your guard.
That’s why a set of pattern weights is such a handy sewing accessory. The weights help hold the paper down on the fabric while you lay out and pin the pattern. While they won’t completely take the place of pins, pattern weights can often substitute for pins while you lay out and cut fabric for a sewing project.
Pattern Weights: an Indispensable Sewing Tool
Here are six clever free or low cost ideas for pattern weights, offered by members of the Your Sewing Room Yahoo online group.
- Smooth rocks collected from your favorite lake or river. They can be used as is or finished with polyurethane to make them shine. River rocks are completely free, and serve as mementos of visits to beautiful places.
- Fabric “bean bags” filled with BBs from a sporting goods store. Making a fabric pattern weight bag is a great way to use up fabric scraps: simply cut two identical-size squares from leftover fabric. Sew around the edges of the squares to make a bag, leaving a small opening. Fill the opening with BBs, then whip stitch the opening closed by hand, or use a sewing machine to top stitch all around the bag. Make sure your fabric is sturdy and seams are well secured, though—the last thing you want is a few hundred BBs flying onto the floor of your sewing room!
- Heavy metal washers from the hardware store, wrapped in tape, fabric or colorful yarn, or dipped in Plasti Dip rubberized coating to smooth any rough edges.
- Glass furniture coasters. These are sold new in sets of four, but may be a little expensive. Look for used ones at thrift stores or yard sales.
- Glass tea light or votive candle holders. Many households have a few of these in a drawer somewhere, or they can be found new at any party store. They can also come in handy for holding pins while you work on the pattern.
- Picnic table tablecloth weights. These are more expensive than some of the other options mentioned here, but they come in lots of fun designs. You can find tablecloth weights online for sewers who love sailing, wine and cheese, flip flops, or many other themes and hobbies.
When you choose pattern weights for your sewing room, make sure to pick something you really enjoy looking at and holding in your hands. Making your sewing room a place of beauty will make you want to sew more often.