[MY DAY] Pattern Weights

Remember how the other day I was like “I can’t sew until next year!!!” and was upset and angry about that? Well, I totally went back on my word and decided to sew. After work, I picked up some fabric with some really fun designs on it (because I obviously need more fabric (not)), along with some other unrelated supplies, like quilt batting (for adapting my dress form) and knitting supplies (my mom and I are going to learn how to at some point). I also picked up some brown rice to fill my sewing project.

I decided to do the pattern weights from Sew Can She. The tutorial seemed simple enough to follow, it would be the perfect excuse to use my cutting mat and rotary cutter, and having pattern weights would be ultra useful in the future. Pattern weights weigh down patterns, if you didn’t know, during the cutting process to make sure the pattern doesn’t go running off somewhere and to keep the fabric smooth, since pinning causes it to be bumpy and uneven. While you can use really anything with weight as a pattern weight (like cans or packs of gum), I thought it’d be nice to make some.

When I started, first I had to play around with the rotary cutter because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. Then I found out that unless it’s in the “locked” position, I can just press it down on the mat. In order to test to make sure I was cutting things correctly, I took a scrap piece of white fabric and cut that on the cutting mat with the rotary cutter. I was having a bit of trouble getting it to lie down well, so I sliced it up to make it smaller and more manageable on my rather small cutting mat (currently not going to pay $20 for a mat to cut on – a small one is fine for my current projects). I cut it and everything seemed fine, so I went ahead and began cutting my funky fabric ones.

The work in progress of the first weight (which failed). This shows the stained-glass-like pink fabric.
The work in progress of the first weight (which failed). This shows the stained-glass-like pink fabric.

The first pair of fabrics I chose were these stain glass bubble gum pink and plopped watercolour paint green fabrics. The stain glass one kind of reminded me of a turtle shell, as well as reminded me of the stain glass Photoshop filter (which I’m pretty sure is what they used to make the pattern), so I placed that on top of the green, which reminded me of a turtle body. Once they were both imperfectly cut on with my rotary cutter and my clear ruler because I am a terrible cutter currently (even if I cut straight, it’s never actually straight), I cut a black ribbon, pinned them together, and went into my closet where my sewing machine is currently located.

An image with the stain glass filter applied. Can you see why I think the fabric's pattern was made in Photoshop?
An image with the stain glass filter applied. Can you see why I think the fabric’s pattern was made in Photoshop?

I attempted to make a bobbin with pink thread and CLEARLY failed because it sucked my test fabric (another scrap of white fabric – I have a lot of white fabric) into the bobbin area, requiring me to pull it out. I ended up taking out that bobbin and switching it for another one I made in the past. I chose a green one to go with the green fabric. I stitched it together and it seemed like it was going great! Then I saw that the ribbon was already coming loose (oh no), so I made another one. I had plenty of fabric, after all.

Clipping the corners to allow them to square out properly.

The second one was made very much the same way as the first, except I cut the ribbon four inches instead of the three inches the tutorial says to do. The idea behind this was to allow my ribbon room to not unravel. After I cut the edges (to allow them to be poked out) and cut excessive fabric, I went onto the next stage of stuffing.

Pouring in the brown rice.
Pouring in the brown rice.


I chose brown rice to stuff the fabric weights with. I debated between getting beans or rice, which ultimately came down to which one would I like to squish better? Which one would I rather be squishing in my hands when I’m absentmindedly staring and thinking about whatever I am thinking about? The rice was the clear winner to me. Once I started filling, I realized just how annoying it was to fill the them up. I made a makeshift funnel (I don’t have one at home for some reason) and a measuring spoon.

When it came to closing, I debated for a while – in the tutorial, it just said to stitch across. I guess for something you’re going to use to weigh down tissue paper, that’s fine. However, I wanted a hidden stitch (meaning to make it look like a seam) and considered hand stitching the opening closed. I eventually decided on this particular weight though (I keep on wanting to call it a pillow), I would follow the directions, which is what I did. I was right. I wanted I nicer, cleaner closing.

Both ribbons coming undone.
Both ribbons coming undone.

I noticed shortly after that the ribbon was coming undone again, like it had the first time. I was shocked! How did my plan fail? Then I remembered: I had cut down the excess fabric when cutting the edges which included the ribbon. That meant on my other pattern weights, I couldn’t cut the excess fabric.

That’s when I prepped several other pieces of square fabric for sewing. Once they were all cut, along with the ribbons, I pinned them together, and put them aside for sewing the next day since I had to get to bed for work.

The next batch of weights.
The next batch of weights.

For this next batch, I decided to use white thread to stitch them together, hand stitch them shut…and use some homemade potpourri of some sort to make them smell nicer. The brown rice only one (the one from the day before) smelled a bit too much like dough for me. I wanted something that if I put it near my mouth while thinking, it smelled good.

If I remember correctly, I stitched them together right after work, listening to ARTPOP again over and over. Or was on Skype talking to Hurricane again? Both of those occurred while sewing, I just can’t remember what came first. Once I completed stitching, I filled up one bag that was some what of a failure (one that used a white ribbon instead of black and it wasn’t spaced well) and tried to hand stitch it shut.

Oh, hand stitching, you are my enemy.

For now.

You’ll be my friend eventually.

I was on webcam with Hurricane while I did this. He had to show me how to tie a knot at the end of the thread because I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to and trying to do a french knot like with embroidery wasn’t helping me either. I tried hand stitching the hole closed and knew I totally wasn’t going to be able to do that. I needed to practice hand stitching more on its own before I did that. So, I decided to do it the lazy way: use HeatnBond.

The process of sealing up the weights.
The process of sealing up the weights.

HeatnBond was both my friend and my enemy when I used to sew cosplays for myself and friends. It was a quick way to fold hems and didn’t require any sewing whatsoever. They made everything looked nice. The bad thing was that it could get messy if I wasn’t careful. I ruined my mom’s iron once and she got really upset with me. Oops. Oh well, that was a long time ago anyway and I’m using my own iron now.

I used a bit of HeatnBond on the open spot of the weight and it sealed it up beautifully! It was a grand choice! Perfect!

I continued to fill one more weight (with not just rice, but potpourri) until I went to bed. I was planning on working on more of it after work, but I decided against it and just to relax and go to bed instead. I think I was only on my computer for a moment to simply shut it back down after deciding to turn on my PS3 to watch TV shows.

I finished filling today though, along with sealing them all up. The filling took a while and I ended up having to make a new funnel since the other one kind of got ruined and I wanted something with a bigger bottom to let everything fall in easier.

My finished pattern weights.
My finished pattern weights.

I’m pretty dang happy with my pattern weights! This is my first time sewing with some funky fabrics, which was insanely fun to use. It makes me want to use patterned fabrics far more often in sewing! They’re far from perfect, but that’s fine. As long as they do their job, they’re great. They’re a cute little bunch, aren’t they?

I’m considering making more at a later date, but I think 6 pattern weights is enough for right now.

After I made this project, I began thinking – what if I do take the time to sew now? I don’t necessarily have to finish a project in a day, but taking a few days to complete a project will be satisfying enough, especially for right now. I do want to rebuild my skills and gain new ones sooner than later. I also want to get to the point where sewing wears me out less, just like how I began pushing myself to do artwork more frequently to build up my stamina for it.

I want sewing to be like artwork for me. It’s something I want to be able to pull out and do over the course of a few days without feeling worn out. I want to feel neutral to all the parts I hate when I think about them and continue to love the parts I already love. It will just be another creative outlet for me. This time though, there’s a chance of me showing it off and wanting to show it off, unlike my artwork where sometimes, I want to keep it all to myself.

Now to decide what project to do next. Drawstring pouches? Half circle zipper coin pouches? Boxes? Gloves? Hand stitching practice?

I’ll let you know. Maybe.

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