Okay my lovely followers, just a quick little post about a non-sewing but sewing-related project I decided to undertake a while ago. Something I’ve always wanted to have, but just haven’t been able to carve out time to complete – pattern weights! Pattern weights are a great option to have on hand, to use with fabrics that are either very delicate, and may not be suitable to pinning, or for fabrics that are very shifty, making it hard to keep the fabric from squirming around during the pattern pinning process. There are lots of great free tutorials out there on the Web about making your own pattern weights. Using all sorts of creative materials. For me, after checking out a lot of really interesting options, I decided I liked how the large, heavy washers worked, when wrapped in ribbon. They would have a hole in the middle, which makes it easy to pick up and place or replace on the pattern, and the hole can be used to store the pattern weights on the wall, on pegs. Which is always a great option for me, as I have limited drawer storage space in my rather smallish sewing studio. They are smooth, you can make them pretty, and they were fast and easy to make. So, follow along with me on my pattern weight journey!
- Heavy duty washers (I used 3/4″ flat steel washers, 3 washers per pattern weight. Buy enough washers for the number of pattern weights you wish to make)
- 1/2″ to 5/8″ wide grosgrain or satin ribbon, 4 ft. per weight (one 9 ft. Offray grosgrain ribbon spool purchased from Joann’s made 2 weights. Buy enough ribbon to cover the number of pattern weights you wish to make. Wee bit of simple arithmetic involved)
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
- matches or lighter (to melt ribbon ends to prevent fraying)
- toothpicks (to spread the glue)
- Fabric glue (optional – you can always use the hot glue gun)
First, I went off to my local Lowe’s to pick up my washers. I wanted to get some pretty hefty metal washers, so I opted for the 3/4″ flat steel washers, which came in a box of 20. I wanted to make a total of eight (8) pattern weights, so I bought a box of 20 weights, as well as four additional single weights (the weights were also sold individually). That gave me a total of 24 washers, 3 per pattern weight. Here’s what the box of washers looks like, bought them in the Hardware section:
Next, you’ll want to rev up your hot glue gun. I just used regular glue sticks in my hot glue gun. Now – being sort of a borderline OCD person, I happened to notice that the washers seemed to have a “top” and “bottom” side. One side has rounded edges, and the other side had sharp edges. So, I took care to align the washers with right sides up (in the photo below, you’ll see the “right” side with the rounded edge has a stamped, “UAJ” on that side). Not that it probably matters once wrapped with the grosgrain ribbon, but it made me feel better when I was constructing them!! I put the hot glue on one side, and simply stacked three weights on top of each other, glued together. I will warn you – take care to align the weights evenly with your first attempt, as for me, the glue really grabbed, and the weights were stuck together with my first attempt. No real opportunity to make adjustments!
Once the three washers were glued together, I wrapped the grossgrain ribbon around the washers. I cut a 4 1/2 ft. length of ribbon to work with, which was half of the ribbon on the 9 ft. spool. I hot glued the starting end of the ribbon by inserting the starting end up the inner hole from the bottom, then glued the starting end of the ribbon on the top of my 3 washers.
I took care to wrap very tightly, and every few wraps, I dropped a little bit of hot glue onto the washer, then continued wrapping.
I tried to wrap the ribbon evenly, covering about 1/2 of the previous ribbon wrap. Again, that OCD thing (has to look even, symmetrical, OMG, I drive myself nuts sometimes). Once I was back at my starting place, it looked like this:
I then cut the ribbon end, so that the cut end met with the bottom inside edge of the inner hole (to hide the cut end a bit). I took my handy lighter, and carefully melted the cut end of the ribbon so it wouldn’t fray down the road. Didn’t take much exposure to the flame to melt the end. Take care not to overdo the melting – you don’t want the melted end to darken or burn. Once the end was nicely sealed, I put another drop of hot glue on the top of the wrapped washer set, and held down the sealed end to glue it firmly to the top of the wrapped washers. I did use a little bit of Fabri-Tac here and there, to make sure that the sealed end was really well glued down, inside the hole (hot glue didn’t always make it to the end of the ribbon). I used a dab of the Fabri-Tac placed on the end of a toothpick, and carefully placed it under the sealed end. My finger fit inside the hole, so I just pressed it down and held it for a few seconds, to make sure the ribbon was well and truly stuck down. You can always use hot glue, too, just extrude a drop onto a napkin or paper towel, dip your toothpick in the glue, and apply to the underside of the ribbon end, if needed.
Repeat the process for each of your three washers. Voila! You’ve now got a nice set of hefty pattern weights you can use!! Each pattern weight ends up weighing about 4.4 oz., which is very close to the Dritz cloth pattern weights (which I used as a weight guideline), maybe slightly heavier, which I think is a good thing.
So, give it a try! Very easy, took me maybe about an hour total to make up eight pattern weights. Love how they turned out, and can’t wait to bust them out on my next pattern I plan to cut out. May even make a few more!!
Remember, Cohen says, “Go sew!”