I hope you’ve been enjoying The Great British Sewing Bee. I’ve had lots of lovely comments about my little pattern weights so thought I’d share a tutorial so that you too could have a bamboo steamer full of the very best sewing dim sum.
Why use pattern weights? Well, there’s a time and a place for pattern weights- but generally they’re a super easy and quick way to keep your pattern in place while you cut out your fabric using a rotary cutter. Some people swear by scissors, but with scissors you really should pin the pattern in place to prevent it shifting which can be a bit long and cumbersome. Some people swear by rotary cutters. Personally I only tend to swear when I’ve managed to nick myself with the blade more than anything… (They are blooming sharp!)
These particular set of pattern weights were whipped up late one evening using left over scraps from Tanzanian/Zanzibari kangas (the traditional clothes made up from one large continuous piece of printed fabric, much like a sari).
Pyramid Pattern Weight
The finished size of the pyramids are 5cm wide, and approx. 4.3cm tall. They’re smaller than some of the pattern weights you might find, but I preferred having smaller ones that would fit into smaller sections of patterns e.g. the shoulders. The key is to make them heavy enough to hold fabric still. There’s lots of photos to help make things easier!
- Filling (see below)
- Interfacing (optional)
- Scrap fabric
The how to:
- Print the template: Pattern weight (remember to set your printer to print as is and un-tick ‘scale to fit’). Cut the triangle out along the bold line.
- Cut out a triangle in the fabric and interfacing. I used interfacing to give the fabric a bit more weight and make it more sturdy, but this is optional so I wouldn’t worry too much if you don’t have any to hand. On the up side-it’s another good way to use up any scraps you might have.
- Fuse interfacing to fabric if using fusible interfacing. (I know. These steps are complicated. Feel free to take a break and make yourself a cup of tea. You deserve it.)
- Now to channel your inner-origami master: Place the triangle right side facing up. Take corner b and bring to corner a. Pin together.
- Stitch along the side, stopping 1.5cm before the end. Remember to start and finish with a backstitch.
- Take corner c and fold up to corner a. Pin together and stitch along the side- starting from the top corner (a).
- Flip the pyramid! And pin together the last remaining side seam. Stitch down the seam, starting at the top again but this time leaving a 2.5cm gap at the bottom.
- Clip all the corners, apart from the corner with the gap.
- Turn the pattern weight inside out through the teeny tiny gap.
- It should look something like this: How sad and deflated…
- Use a point turner or a blunt pencil/something pointy and poke out the corners to make them more sharp.
- Fill in the weights with a fill of your choice. I used rice, but you could use lentils instead. You might want to use a rolled up piece of paper to make a funnel to avoid pouring rice everywhere. You could also use a funnel. I have a funnel (to be honest, I’m not sure why/how it made it’s way into our kitchen…) I would recommend adding some washers for added weight, my pure rice ones are a little light. You could also add lavender for a nice smell, but for some reason the smell of lavender makes me feels a bit queasy… Make sure you fill them up well, nice and plump. With use the fabric may start softening and you wouldn’t want it to become sad and limp (see above photo. It’s not a pretty sight).
And you’re done! See, that wasn’t too hard was it? Now repeat with ALL THE SCRAPS IN THE WORLD and we can build our very own pyramids of Giza. Yes. Lets make that happen.
Hope that was helpful and worth the wait. Do send me photos or tag me on Instagram (thelittlepomegranate)/Twitter (lil_pomegranate)!
Rumana aka the little pomegranate (more on the name later…)