Confession: It did not occur to me that tediously pinning patterns directly to the fabric and cutting around them with scissors was not the only way to cut out my patterns until…well, embarrassingly recently. It is honestly probably for this reason that I did not do a lot more sewing when I was younger, because the pin-and-cut process was never my favorite part of creating a garment.
Learning that rotary cutters and self-healing mats were a thing was a serious breakthrough in my sewing journey, and I highly recommend a good set as a first purchase for any beginning sewist. I currently use this large cutting mat and this cutter for most projects.
The second major discovery in my series of “pins are not the only way” revelations was the existence of pattern weights. One day, as I was strategically weighing my paper patterns down with a collection of small soup cans and votive candle holders to cut around them, I realized my husband had been quizzically watching from the doorway. “Do we need to, you know, buy something to hold your patterns down? So you don’t have to use pantry items?”
It had also never dawned on me that pattern weights were readily available to be purchased, but, as a DIYer, I scoffed at the idea of doing anything other than making my own darn weights. (Plus, I didn’t see any ready-made ones I really liked.) So I consulted Pinterest, and I finally found this tutorial from Positively Splendid. Not only are these beanbag-like weights adorable, they’re super easy to make and very practical.
In her tutorial, Amy makes a small “bag” from 3.5″ squares of fabric, then creates a kind of channel around the edge by sewing 1″ squares in the center of the bag. Then, she fills the channel with, of all things, BBs. I’d seen some tutorials calling for rice or beans, but the BBs are the perfect size and weight to fill out the little bags and hold patterns – even the small or oddly-shaped ones – in place. It’s definitely worth investing in a package of them.
The only somewhat tedious part of this project is hand stitching the openings of the pattern weights closed, but even that comes together quite quickly. This is a fast and practical project that you’ll use over and over again, so it’s definitely worth the little bit of time it takes to complete.
What’s your favorite sewing revelation, and how has it changed your making progress? Let me know in the comments!