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.


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. 🙂

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  1. 28 yards

  2. Debbie Williams says:

    27 yards

  3. Lisa Marie says:

    42 yards.
    jklmengland at windstream dot net

  4. 54 yds
    nufdoog (at) Hotmail (dot) com

  5. Sue Knower says:

    26 yards

  6. My guess is 37 yards of ribbon.
    Such a fun contest and such pretty ribbon!

  7. 55 yards

  8. 23 yards

  9. 28 yards? Love the idea of these pattern weights. I have used tuna cans, or clementines, but sometimes I do not have enough cans on hand… and no clementines either.

  10. Nancy in IN says:

    So pretty in a jar. 53 yards.

  11. Darcy Brown says:

    27 yds! has to be! 🙂

  12. 49 yds of ribbon

    bethbimber(at) gmail (dot) com

  13. Nicole DuPlessis says:

    30 yards? sewingphd (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. Maureen Mate says:

    My guess is 36 yards.

  15. 91 yards
    anne (dot) rimler (at) gmail (dot) com

  16. Kristi Coburn says:

    23 yards!

  17. Karen Foster says:

    78 yards of pretty

  18. 67 yards

  19. Suzanne Ripple says:

    32.5 yards

  20. My guess is 48.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Well, I think I’m going to go big and guess 125 yards (c’mon little titchy ribbons, help me out!)

    Those pattern weights work SO WELL with the fabric choices. I really like the idea. Do you have any issues with the rice attracting any unsavory critters?

    Thanks for the offer!

  22. I’ll say 50 yards.

  23. My guess is 45

  24. Alicia sellers says:


  25. These are so cute and a great idea! I would love for you to post them in my Craft Room Tips, so I can feature them! Every week I feature a craft room idea and would love to feature these. 🙂

    You can submit them here at this link….. so I can feature it.

    Sewlicious Home Decor

  26. how about 120 yards.

  27. Jeannette MacPeek Trombley says:

    45 yards

  28. I’m going to say 48 yds

  29. i’m guessing at 125 and 1/2.

  30. 201 yards for Sewing 201 tutorial 🙂

  31. Erin Wilson says:

    I’ll say 63~

  32. Is it 52 yards?

  33. I’ll guess 50 yards.

  34. My guess is 75 yds. Thanks for the tute – I’ll be making some for sure!
    gussek at Hotmail dot com

  35. Amy Blom Hopkins says:

    I’m going with 150 yards 🙂

  36. Cat Crafty Bishop says:

    94 yards

  37. Valentina says:

    Let’s say… 58 yards?
    Those weights you made are really cute, they probably make you smile every time you’re tracing. I was thinking about something like this, but just can’t find time in between my projects to squeeze in a project like this. So I went to Home Depot and picked up 10 hex nuts, each 1/2" in diameter. They aren’t cute, but at 50c each, they fit the bill. Their size and weight is perfect for my needs 🙂 And before I picked those up, I just used dining utensils (knives). They are heavy enough, but could be awkward due to their length/shape (depends on what you’re tracing).

  38. Judy Bowes says:

    I’m guessing 73 yards! Love those pattern weights.
    jbechosend at sbcglobal dot net

  39. My guess is 112 yards

  40. 44 yards of ribbon! I love the pattern weights idea!! I think i would actually use these weights.

  41. Jackie Reynolds says:

    My guess is 59 yards.

  42. 58 yards

  43. Ellen Taylor Barth says:

    28 yards

  44. Robin noteverstill says:

    I say 47!

  45. Diana Hinds says:

    56 yards
    Such pretty ribbon.
    Thanks for the cute tutorial… Going to cut some squares from my scraps for this one!
    DianaHinds (at)

  46. Lesley Johnston says:

    i guess 132 yards….and i am jealous at how awesome it all is!

  47. Cindy Byrd says:

    22 yards.

  48. Teretta Owen says:

    My guess is 30.

  49. Michelle K says:

    I’m gonna go with 72 yards. 🙂

  50. I’ll guess 56 yards

  51. Suzanne Ripple says:

    25 yards

  52. Suzanne Ripple says:

    26 yards

  53. Suzanne Ripple says:

    42 yards

  54. Suzanne Ripple says:

    37 yards

  55. Suzanne Ripple says:

    32 yards

  56. Suzanne Ripple says:

    21 yards

  57. Suzanne Ripple says:

    50 yards

  58. I would guess 62 yards .. magsiesss at

  59. Laurie Miles says:

    66 yards of beautiful ribbon!

  60. Barbara Takemoto-Weerts says:

    My guess is 23 yards

  61. I’d never heard of pattern weights but I’m new to patterns, more used to quilting.

    Hmmmm, I’m not good at these games but let’s say 40 yards. Thanks!

  62. Bonnijean Marley says:

    107 yards. I love your pattern weights, but I have no idea about how many yards of ribbon.

  63. 41 Yards? I really hope I am right.

  64. Ann M Hoping you have 66 yards.

  65. 48 yards

  66. 76 yards.

  67. I think there is 54 yards of ribbon in your beautiful jar.

  68. Faye Nettles says:

    Maybe 87 yards?

  69. 47 yards.

  70. My guess is 27 yards. I love this idea!

  71. 36

  72. I would say there are 33 yards of ribbon. You have some awesome ribbons in there for sure!

  73. Anna duffy says:

    My guess is 52 yards! Love the colors you chose for the pattern weights! So cheerful!

  74. 64 yards of beautiful ribbon (

  75. Neat idea! My guess is 36 yards!

  76. I really hope there are 43 yards of ribbon in that jar!

  77. Isabel A. says:

    67 yards

  78. Phyllis Calvert says:

    Must be 60 yards total…..

  79. Lorie Ciccio says:

    My guess is 9 yards

  80. pPatricia Vallejo says:

    I will say 46 yards 😀

  81. cathy keeney says:

    I will say 85 yards

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