How to Use Pattern Weights – Plus a Tutorial for Sewing Your Own with Scraps

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If you don’t use pattern weights, let me tell you why you should! To be honest, the first time I used pattern weights was was one of those Aha! moments for me. Then I thought ‘yup, people are right about these, they fix so many cutting problems!’ You can use any small, smooth object that has a little bit of weight to it for a pattern weight, but if you want to sew your own, I’m sharing a tutorial for that too.

For more fun projects like this, check out all my free sewing patterns.


So these are my old pattern weights. I still love them even though I made some pretty new ones. My sister made the octagonal shaped weights… they are actually part of a checkers game she made for me with a patchwork board and ceramic pieces. She covered the ceramic pieces with fabric, ribbon, stickers, and modge-podge. Late one night I was about to cut out a pattern and the checkers game was sitting out so I grabbed some pieces to use as pattern weights. We haven’t played checkers since because I love them as pattern weights!


Here’s why you should use pattern weights:

  1. Pinning your pattern pieces to the fabric can cause the fabric to stretch, wrinkle, bulge, and otherwise not cut correctly (especially with knit fabric). It also tears your pattern pieces. And it is s-l-o-w.

  2. Using pattern weights is so much faster plus all your work smoothing out the fabric is not wasted. The weights will gently hold the pattern in place while you cut.

  3. Pins put holes in your fabric (obviously). That may be just fine for most fabrics, but on some fine fabrics pins could be damaging. Why take the chance?

How to sew pattern weights:


The handles on these pattern weights really make them fun and easy to use! I thought that I was adding the ribbon just for embellishment, but that little loop to help pick them up with turned out to be pure genius. I made 12 fun little pattern weights (with ribbon finger-handles) using three inch squares of cotton quilting fabric and some pretty Anna Maria Horner ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons. They are very easy to sew.

You will need:

  • 24 squares of fabric 3’’ x 3’’ (that’s less than a fat quarter or just a handful of fabrics from your scrap bin!)

  • 1 yard of ribbon, 1’’ wide

Prep work:

  1. Cut the ribbon into 12 three inch pieces. Decide which squares will be your tops and bottoms. Place a piece of ribbon (right side up) on top of each top piece (right side up).  Place a bottom square over, right side down.

  2. Pin. I used only one pin in the middle of each set to hold the ribbon in place.  You may use more pins if you wish.

 Sewing steps:

  1. Sew around each fabric square, leaving a 1 1/2” opening for filling and turning. Sewing little outward ‘legs’ to the raw edge helps those raw edges turn inside later. Clip the corners to help them turn nicely.

  2. Turn each pattern weight right side out, placing ribbon right side up.

  3. Fill with rice, small beans, glass beads, or other material to add weight. Two tablespoons of rice in each one worked perfectly for me.  Fold the raw edges to the inside and pin the opening closed.

  4. Sew the opening closed sewing close to the folded edges.


Have lots of fun with your new pattern weights. You will love the little ribbon handle!

Happy sewing,


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂