Fabric-covered Sewing Pattern Weights




Introduction: Fabric-covered Sewing Pattern Weights

About: I am mostly a crafting dilettante. But despite wanting to try every new craft, I do have a few I've stuck with for a long while, including sewing and glass bead making.

Pattern weights are used while cutting the fabric for a garment or craft sewing project.  The pattern weights hold the pattern down to the fabric,allowing you to cut without having the pattern shift.  And they're faster than using pins. 

Pattern weights can be bought from sewing and craft stores, but usually cost $10 for 4 weights, e.g. this set on Amazon.   Like many crafters I use heavy, metal washers as weights because they only cost $.25 - .5 each.  Naturally I wanted to decorate my weights, and here's how you can too.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:
  • 1 or 2 heavy washers for each weight.  I used 2" wide washers
  • Something to mark a circle with.  This should be twice the width of your washer
  • Fabric scraps at least double the width of your washers in both directions
  • 1 large 'shank' button for each weight
  • a needle
  • thread
  • fabric cutter or scissors
  • thread snips or scissors
  • Hot glue gun, or just regular craft glue if you're more patient than me

Step 2: Draw a Circle on the Fabric

Use a pencil, fabric marking pen, or chalk to trace around the edge of your 'circle sizing device'.

If you are using a single washer for the weight, cut the fabric along the marked line.  If you are using two washers, cut slightly outside the line, about 1/8".

Step 3: Sew a Gathering Stitch Around the Circle

You can mark the stitching line 1/8" inside the edge of the circle, or just estimate the distance from the edge.  This project is fairly forgiving to mistakes.

Thread a needle with an 18" piece of thread.  Tie a knot in the long end.

Inserting the needle first from the 'right' side of the fabric, sewing a running stitch just inside the edge of the fabric.  The size of the running stitch will depend on the fabric, smaller stitches for lightweight cottons, larger stitches for heavy fabrics like denim or fake fur.

Step 4: Gather the Circle

When you've stitched all the way around the circle, make sure your needle exits the fabric on the 'right' side.  Fudge your stitches slightly if you need to.

Pull the thread until the circle starts to gather up.  Place one or two washers inside at this point. then continue to pull the thread until the fabric is gathered up, completely covering the washers.

There will be a small hole left in the center.

Step 5: Tie Off

Pulling the gathering tight, tie a knot close to the surface of the fabric.

Reinforce the gather by stitching around the circle again, through the gathers.  Once you've been around the circle again, tie another knot and cut off the excess thread.

Step 6: Glue the Button

Using a hot glue gun, squirt a bunch of glue into the center hole, and around the edges of the hole.  Press the shank of the button into the glue filling the center and press down until it cools.

You can also use regular white craft glue, like Sobo, if you don't have a hot glue gun.   You'll just have to wait longer while it dries.

Step 7: Make More!

You can never have too many pattern weights.  Especially when they're this pretty.

1 Person Made This Project!


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7 years ago on Introduction

Love these! I have purchased weights, but these are much prettier. And... always need more. I have a sack of small ball bearings that I think I can now put to use.


10 years ago on Introduction

I've been looking at different fabric weights & these are brilliant!! Thanks for such a great 'ible ;)



10 years ago on Introduction

I'm a new sewer and I never thought of using washers! Brilliant!


10 years ago on Introduction

This is great!
Im doing applied apparel technology and our school finally got us some "weights" (off cuts from the steel from the construction section) these are great... but this would have been so handy to know instead of waiting for school supplies.
Thanks so much for this ible.. Im going underthe house to see if I can find any large washers =D


10 years ago on Introduction

This so cute!
I did a similar thing several years ago-winding variegated yarn around pairs of heavy washers--but the embellishment make yours way prettier.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I saw a similar idea, where the washers were wrapped in bias strips of fabric. That's the project that gave me the idea to encase them in a 'yoyo'. I love the variegated yarn idea. Bet they're pretty.


Great idea, I never used washers, neverthought about it. I used knives and forks from my silverware drawer. I just found a new project. Thank you!