A Super Easy Pattern Weights Tutorial

A Pattern Weights Tutorial

Whenever I make clothes for myself, whether I use a commercial pattern or a pattern that I made myself, it’s the cutting out stage that always takes longest.

Since I started using a rotary cutter, the process has got quicker than when I was using scissors, but it still takes a while.

This is where pattern weights can be very useful!

Pattern weights remove the need for pins. You simply lay the pattern pieces over the fabric, pop your pattern weights on top, grab your rotary cutter and away you go!

Pattern weights can be whatever you like. Rocks, metal rings or little bean bags, it doesn’t matter. They just have to be heavy enough to hold the pattern pieces steady while you cut them out.

This is not an idea that I have dreamt up myself. It’s something else I have learnt from The Great British Sewing Bee.

It’s obvious that the contestants need to maximise their time. If they can save time in the cutting out stage without compromising the finish of their thing, then they’ll have more time to spend making sure that their sewing is up to scratch.

Although I am not in a competition I’m all in favour of saving time. So I decided to make some pattern weights to speed up the process!how to make pattern weights tutorial

How to Make Pattern Weights

You Will Need

Scraps of fabric, rice, barley or something similar (uncooked!), usual sewing supplies.

Cutting Out

For my pattern weights, I used a rectangle 18 cm x 9 cm. You can make yours whatever size you like, but to get that nice triangular shape, the rectangle you use will need to be roughly the same size as 2 squares joined together.how to make pattern weights tutorial

Cut 1 rectangle for each pattern weight.

Sewing Up

1. Fold 1 of the rectangles in half so that the right sides are together. Sew along the bottom and the side. Trim the seams.how to make pattern weights tutorial

2. Turn it out and fill with rice. Be careful not to overfill it. The rice will need to be able to move about and overfilling will also make it difficult to sew up. About 2 thirds full is probably about right.how to make pattern weights tutorial

3. Fold the raw edge over so that it is inside and press with your finger.how to make pattern weights tutorial

4. Pin the top of the pattern weight so that the side seam is in the middle. By doing this, the top edge will run at right angles to the bottom edge.how to make pattern weights tutorial

5. Slip stitch the opening.how to make pattern weights tutorial

You now have 1 pattern weight! How many you make is up to you. I made 9.how to make pattern weights tutorialhow to make pattern weights tutorialhow to make pattern weights tutorial


If you don’t have any rice, you could use barley, dried peas or dried lentils.
If you are short on time, batching will make the whole process quicker.
Have a rummage through your fabric scraps. They’re a great way to use up odds and ends of lovely things that are too small to do much with, but that you don’t want to throw away!
If you need somewhere to keep your pattern weights, you could make a little box or a bowl. The smallest of these fabric boxes would probably about the right size!

storage boxes gridOr you could make a burlap bowl.burlap bowl squareOr you could crochet a bowl.crocheted bowl thumbnail

Linking up here.

About AnnaWilson

I'm Anna and I live in Norfolk with my four beautiful boys, my husband and a three legged cat. I don't have an actual craft room due to the fact that we are six messy people living in a not very big house. I do however have a pile of unfinished projects. Thankfully there is plenty of room in cyberspace, so make a cup of tea, pull up a chair and make yourself at home! And please leave me comments! And maybe like me on Facebook :)

38 comments on “A Super Easy Pattern Weights Tutorial

  1. I keep seeing the peeps on Sewing Bee using them, and the rotary cutters and think maybe I need to upgrade, at the moment I’m still an old school scissors and pins kind of girl!
    I assume you need something to cut on with the rotary cutter though and I usually do my cutting out on the living room carpet! (Christmas list maybe?)
    Julie recently posted…Lace Cut Off Jean ShortsMy Profile

  2. What a fantastic idea!! Anything to save time when cutting out a pattern is awesome!! Thanks for the tutorial on these sewing weights!

  3. I’d never heard of these until I saw them on the sewing B. It seems quite a lot of people use them. I’m stuck in the 60’s, 70’s when everyone used small pins. These look so cute.

  4. Thank you Anna, As a 75 year old avid crafter, several of these will be made today. I never stop sewing.

  5. Sewing B gave me the confidence to start sewing again after many years, and I noticed that scissors and pins seem a bit out of date – perhaps my sewing machine from the 70s is a bit dated too!!

  6. Looking forward to making these sewing weights….I saw them on the sewing B programme too….can’t wait for the next series…so pleased it has has made sewing ‘trendy’….my daughter has started sewing….what a great hobby! Thanks for your ideas and pattern!

  7. Gracias por esta idea, ya lo hice y me quedรณ muy bien!
    Thank you for this idea, I did it already and it was great!

  8. Hi Anna,
    Thanks for the info, had tried a dif. pattern before but this is much simpler and easy to do 10 as a gift and sew up the last side watching the telly.

  9. Just found you via SewCanShe. I’m sewing a 3 piece outfit for my daughter’s wedding and was wishing I had some Pattern weights. All I could think of was some kind of metal washer or nut and was afraid they would be dirty or greasy. Now that I’m almost done with my outfit, I’ll stitch these adorable weights up for my next project. Thanks so much!

  10. I recently made pin cushions and found that crushed walnut shells worked very well. I am thinking that the walnut shells would be an excellent substitute for rice or beans.

  11. I saw the paperweights last week and
    immediately jumped up and headed for my scrap bin. I made a dozen of them and probably would have made more for my daughter but I ran out of rice. Thanks for the inspiration and the instructions. Best wishes to you in all your endeavors!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

COMMENTS POLICY I love reading your comments and I try to answer all of them. However, any comment that includes a personal attack aimed either at me or at another person who has left a comment will be deleted. Differences of opinion are fine. Rudeness is not. Thank you.