Sewing Sewing Essentials

How To Use Pattern Weights

I just recently made my own pyramid pattern weights and absolutely love them. I had used them in the past but these were storebought or borrowed so I never really had my own. Before I used them I didn’t know how to use pattern weights and what you used them for.

A clear glass Kilner jar with yellow pyramid pattern weights against a blue background.

I decided to put together a little guide to show you the different ways in which you can use pattern weights and how to use pattern weights properly.

What To Use Pattern Weights For?

There are a number of ways you can use pattern weights. Here are the top uses of pattern weights.

  • You can use them for weighing down your paper pattern while you trace it.
  • While cutting out your paper pattern
  • While arranging pattern pieces onto fabric
  • Cutting out pieces from fabric
  • Weighing down material while you manipulate it.
  • They make great paper weights
an open book with yellow pattern weights holding down the pages on the top corners on both sides

What To Look For In Pattern Weights

I decided to add a few points in about what you might need to look for in pattern weights. I know buying them can be a little expensive so many people use alternative ones or make their own.

While finding alternatives are great and super fun they can also be damaging your projects before you get started. Here are a few things to look out for…

Weight Matters

When looking at what you are going ot use your pattern weights for will determine how heavy you want your weights to be. For example cottons, sheer fabrics and light materials won’t need much weight to hold them into place.

metal disk style pattern weights

Other materials that are much harder to carry and hold in place such as upholstery fabric, denim and slippery fabrics will need a little heavier weight to keep them grounded.

Manufacturing Material

The material the pattern weight is made from needs to be smooth, no spikey or ragged egdes and easy to pick up.

Prym packaged fabric weights

The last thing you want from your pattern weights is a rough edge that will catch your fabric and rip it or damage the weave of it. Try to find fabric ones as they will be easier to use, less harmful to your own fabric and nicer.

Easy To Handle

A pattern weight needs to be easy to use, easy to grab and move and hold in one hand.

single yellow pyramid pattern piece with a blue background. A pair of scissors and white thread on one side of the frame

If you are looking at making your own pattern weights, I would think about your hand size, how you want to be able to hold/grab them and the weight of them.

Making sewing life as easy as possible is the most important part of buying/making pattern weights.

How To Use Pattern Weights

There is probably no right or wrong way of use pattern weights but those who have never used them may not know how to use pattern weights.

Here are a few things you might want to know before getting started on buying or making your own pattern weights.

large squared pattern paper with a paper pattern piece on top with a jar of yellow pattern weights, tape measure and pen on the table

It mostly starts with your work surface, this can be your dining table, sewing room table or living room floor. Whatever you have to work with is fine just as long as you can work there.

Pattern weights are made to ground your pattern and fabric to the workspace so you can freely move around and trace the pattern and cut out.

a large piece of squared pattern paper that is held down in place with yellow pattern weights and a hand hold a pen.

Placement of the pattern weights is important as you want to be able to hold down the corners or key areas that will pop up or curl at the edges. Try place the pattern weights at these areas without crossing the line you need to be tracing/cutting.

nude fabric with a paper pattern piece in place being held down with yellow pattern weights

If you are starting off with tracing your pattern you will have a large sheet with all the pieces on. I would place a couple around the edge and then use the rest to put in the center area of the pattern you are cutting/tracing.

pattern paper with a paper pattern piece on top being held in place with yellow pyramid pattern weights

If you are using the weights for fabric and unsure how to use pattern weights for fabric, it is simple. Many times we are working with large pieces of fabric for bag making, dressmaking and other household items.

The large pieces of fabric can be heavy and without a large cutting table you can easily end up losing yourself in rolls of fabric. One of the best ways to make room and utilize pattern weights is by folding the fabric onto a chair at the edge of the table.

nude colour fabric laid of a table held in place with fabric pattern weights. how to use pattern weights

Place weights on the fabric at the edges to stop that from falling so you can cut out what you need one piece at a time/ section at a time. The other part of the fabric can be ripple folded onto the chair ready to pull onto the table and use.

Another way of how to use pattern weights is holding layers together. One of my biggest peeves is when I want to make a quilt the layers move. The layers move before I have even had a chance to pin them together and it is so frustrating.

3 layers of fabric on a cutting board with the corner turned over

You can use pattern weights to hold areas into place to minimize movement and keep the layers aligned.

3 layers of fabric on a table being weighed down with pattern weights

That is everything you need for how to use pattern weights. I hope this has been helpful and now you can go and get your own. If you have any pattern weights and want to recommend them leave a comment below.