Sewing patterns tend to be printed on a light and flimsy tissue paper. No problem there — except that light and flimsy means it’s likely to be blown or nudged away at first chance! You need some way to set the pattern in place on top of the piece of fabric you’re cutting.

Most people follow one of two conventions — they pin, or they weight.

Pinning works fine — you pin the pattern to the fabric. Downside is that it takes extra time to do all that pinning. Plus — if you need to move or adjust the pattern later, you’ve got to un-pin and re-pin to do so!

Weighting is easier — just use some solid weights to hold the paper in place. Quick to do and easy to adjust! You must be careful not to use weights with sharp edges else you may tear the paper.

Sewing stores sell a variety of low and flat weights suitable for this purpose. Some people use cat food or tuna fish cans — but you’ve got to be careful of those edges.

Or — you could make your own weights for pennies. Literally!

Sew a few small bags from scraps of fabric, then stuff them with a handful of pennies! Close up the bag and you’ve got a secure pattern weight with a soft bottom that “adjusts” itself when you set it in place (so no torn patterns!).

It’s easy to sew a handful of these pattern weights — takes little time and you’ll use up those fabric scraps that are too small for anything else. Plus, it’ll only cost you pennies!


Joey Robichaux maintains Sewing Stash at, a sewing and crafts directory with thousands of tips, articles, tutorials, patterns, links, and resources.

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