Keep Patterns in Place With Adorable Weights!
Skip the pins and cut pattern pieces quickly and accurately! Follow this guide to learn how to make pattern weights and why to change over from pins. Not only are these weights helpful, but they're also adorably dressed up as colorful candy pieces!
No matter how long you've been sewing, you probably learned to hold the paper pattern pieces to your fabric with pins. This traditional method does work, but it has a few disadvantages.
First, pinning your pattern can take awhile. The pins also make holes in the pattern and it can even tear as you work. Not to mention, the holes can weaken the pattern which isn't good when you want to reuse it. Finally, it's difficult to keep the pattern flat and smooth as you pin. The pinning process causes the paper and the fabric to shift slightly which can distort the pieces for whatever you're making.
In contrast, after laying your pattern over the fabric you can set pattern weights on top in no time at all. The weights hold the paper in place while preserving the pattern and keeping the integrity of the pattern shapes. Not to mention, you won't have any extra holes in your fabric, which is important for many types of material, such as when sewing leather.
Pattern weights come in lots of shapes and sizes, many of which are simply heavy washers. For this DIY project, washers create the weight, but they're wrapped in felt so they look like happy pieces of candy.
DIY Pattern Weights Materials
Tools and Supplies
- Felt in candy colors
- Embroidery floss in black and matching colors
- 2 washers per pattern weight
- 1/8-inch wide ribbon
- Large needle
A Note About Choosing Washers
The sample candy pattern weights use 1-3/4" diameter washers. They have a good weight to them so your pattern stays in place. You can substitute other washers as long as they are heavy enough.
Prepare the Felt Pieces
For each pattern weight, cut the felt into a square that's large enough to wrap around two washers. If you're using 1-3/4" washers, you should cut 4-1/2" squares. For all washer other sizes, hold two washers together and wrap felt around them to see what size to make the felt candy wrapper.
To make your candy pieces cute and kawaii, embroider a face in the middle of the felt piece. Use all six strands of black embroidery floss. Stitch the eyes with French knots and the mouth with a scalloped fly stitch.
Check the Wrapping Overlap
Wrap the felt around the two washers again to check how much overlap there should be. In the sample, the overlap is about 1/2". Remove the washers.
Stitch the Wrapper Into a Tube
Thread the needle with all six strands of matching embroidery floss. Sew across the back of the felt candy wrapper with running stitch.
Holding the felt in a tube shape and keeping the overlap even as you stitch can be awkward at first. Once it's started it's much easier.
Stitch the Ends of the Candy Wrapper
Slide the washers back in the felt tube and center them.
With six strands of matching embroidery floss, come up from the back and then make three large running stitches across the tube, leaving a long tail at the beginning. The line of stitching should be near the edge of the washers.
Tie the Ends Into a Candy Shape
Pull the stitches tight and then tie the ends of the embroidery floss as though tying the candy wrapper. It helps to hold the first half of the knot while completing the second half so that it stays tight.
Trim the ends of the thread close to the knot.
Repeat the stitching and knotting process on the other side. Before you stitch, make sure to push the washers in as far as they'll go so you get a snug fit.
Add Ribbons to the Ends
Tie thin ribbon around the knots to finish off the look. Start with a knot, then tie the bow and trim the ends.
If you had a hard time getting the ends gathered and tied tightly on the previous steps, you can usually pull the gathers in a little more with the ribbon. However, if you make them too tight, the stitches may show.
Make Candy Weights for All Your Sewing Projects
Make as many pattern weights as you need. For small projects, you don't need many, but you may want as many as a dozen for cutting large pattern pieces. And by using a rainbow of colors you'll feel like a kid in a candy store every time you sew!
Want to give your candy pattern weights a holiday flair? Use white felt and paint peppermint stripes on the center section!
These weights also make a great gift for someone who sews. Make them a set and package them in a canister that looks like a candy jar!