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Tips & Techniques > Bargain Pattern Weights

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Posted by: Gigi Louis

About Gigi Louis starstarstarstar
Member since: 4/4/02
Reviews: 77 (tips: 16)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 1/11/03 10:56 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 40 people   
I can't take credit for this tip because I learned it from Cynthia (the lady who owns the shop where I teach). I wanted to share it with you because I think it's a great idea! For wonderful but super cheap pattern weights, go to your local hardware or home center. In the plumbing aisle they have flat washers. The larger ones are wonderful to use for anchoring your pattern. They are flat and just heavy enough. I chose the ones that are about 3" in diameter. I think they cost about $.20 each or I could have bought an entire box of them for a few dollars. I bought 24 and in retrospect, I should have purchased the box. I like these much better than my "real" pattern weights as they are much flatter. I use them when cutting with the rotary cutter or with scissors. If you have a handy husband (or are handy yourself!) it would be easy to make some sort of a stand for them with a block of wood and a dowel. I just keep them in my cutting caddy (one of those household caddies with a handle where I keep everything I need to cut out/mark patterns as my cutting area is in another room).

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Klutzy said... (4/7/12 11:50 PM) Reply
I figured I'd use tuna cans but after reading this I wonder if they need to be that heavy. Would quarters (coins) work?
plafollette said... (10/17/10 6:48 PM) Reply
I have done the same thing. When I first got them, I washed and dried them then used spray adhesive to put felt on one side of them. The work great.
moonjuice said... (10/21/09 10:48 PM) Reply
I keep thinking I should invest in some pattern weights, but they kind of seem expensive for what they are. I sometimes use tins of tuna, but this sounds like a better idea if they sit flat. Going to try this one!
Marybeme said... (5/19/09 12:24 PM) Reply
This review is from 2003. I asked my husband if I could find some 3 inch washers at our local hardware store for like 20 cents and he laughed at me. He thought it would be hard to find them that large and that cheap. He suggested a privately owned hardware store. I was curious if anyone has purchased any washers in the last year or so and if so, where? Also, I did find online that dock washers are larger. I may have to find these at a marine supply store? Ideas? I need some pattern weights.
sewneil said... (9/24/08 10:00 AM) Reply
I was thinking of purchasing the pattern weights which cost way too much and will definitely try this first. Thank you.
swanny2070 said... (5/21/08 0:49 AM) Reply
You might want to spray the pattern with 3M™ Repositionable 75 Spray Adhesive. It should make the pattern like a giant Post-It note, then you can peel it away from the fabric when you are done. From the 3M web Site: "It resists bleeding, staining and wrinkling plus has a smooth glue line. Use it to hold badges during stitching, patterns prior to cutting, T-shirts during silk-screening and to hold paper masking in place."
oscarlet said... (6/3/07 10:56 AM) Reply
Mine are big square ones from the framing dept at Home Depot, a lady at Joann's whispered to me about them years ago when I was standing in line with some olfa ones. They are good and heavy. My friend uses the round ones and glues them together. I like having square ones so I can fit them into corners. Another friend has river rocks in a basket to use as pattern weights.
Linda E. said... (8/12/06 7:17 PM) Reply
I covered mine with ribbon I wanted them pretty and soft on the patterns so the edges wouldn't catch an rip the tissue.
brrmm said... (7/16/06 1:00 AM) Reply
Great idea. Another thought, you could glue a door handle to the top for easier handling. I use any little cans from the pantry....just this morning was baked beans. ha ha.
guinnessstrength said... (1/17/05 2:00 AM) Reply
I generally work with heavyweight materials like cordura, I use the legs of old pairs of jeans filled with 2-5 lbs of lead shot for heavier/wider pieces and it works like a charm
Barbara Klink said... (10/2/04 0:21 AM) Reply
I stacked my 2" flat washers 3 high and covered each stack with a favorite quilting cotton. Then I glued a round piece of felt to the bottom of the stack. So pretty, I love to use them.
Mary Stiefer said... (7/19/04 8:41 AM) Reply
I also use washers for weights. The ones I have a 2 inch washers and I glued two together using E6000 glue (purchased at a craft store). These work great. I don't seem to have a problem with shifting either. I think it's because they are heavier with two together. Good tip.
Gigi Louis said... (6/23/04 11:55 AM) Reply
Cynthia, these are the round, flat washers. They are super-cheap, especially if you buy an entire box.
cynthia w said... (6/23/04 9:57 AM) Reply
i must have looked at the wrong washers because when i went to Home Depot they were $1.80 a piece! That's no bargain when you want a dozen. I'll go back again and ask for help.
Diana M said... (6/19/04 9:21 PM) Reply
One more -- my MIL got into the craft of rock painting a year or so ago. The only place I found to put these cute little gifts is in the sewing room -- palm sized river rocks work great as weights.
speedythemouse said... (4/20/04 6:05 PM) Reply
My mom told me she useds table knives. If they are metal with decent size handles they work pretty good.
juliette2 said... (4/14/04 11:14 PM) Reply
I use 8oz lead sinkers from a fishing supplies shop. I spray painted them to make sure the lead doesn't stain the fabric. Spray with a metals primer before painting.
Creekside said... (3/28/04 6:49 AM) Reply
A dowel on a block would be perfect, but for the handy-husband challenged among us, how about one of those wooden paper towel holders that are meant to sit on the counter top?
mugsisme said... (2/9/03 3:25 AM) Reply
My kids left some juice boxes out one day. As I was stackig them up to put them away, I noticed how heavy they were. Now I keep 4 of them in my sewing room for cutting. (Easily replacable if they disappear!)
Paulette James said... (2/3/03 7:04 AM) Reply
Terrific idea! I will be visiting the local Home Depot very soon.
texellence said... (1/18/03 5:44 PM) Reply
re: the caddy, i bought an unfinished wood "plaque" and one dowel strip. Cut the dowel into 2 pieces of about 4" each, (could do more depending on diameter of weights and the elngthof the plaque) . Drill using a countersink bit , into the botom of the plaque where you want the dowels to be placed and on the bottom of each dowel piece separately. Then just screw a flat head screw in from the bottom through the plaque and into the dowel. I spay-laquered, then put cork stick ons on the bottom to keep from any scratching. Whole thing took about 1/2 hour, if that (not counting drying time) and cost me less than $5, did it one Christmas holiday morning after I saw the price of weight caddies for my bright yellow purchased weights. I will definitely hit the hdwe store for the washers--super Tip!
Gigi Louis said... (1/17/03 5:13 PM) Reply
Mary, that's a great idea!
SouthernStitch said... (1/17/03 2:39 PM) Reply
The sheets you buy to hold rugs in place can be glued to the bottom of the washer, or rubber banded to the larger ones nicely, and it makes them stay in place. Wide rubber bands placed across the diameter, just two in a cross formation work well too.
Sew_K said... (1/12/03 6:11 PM) Reply
I have used these flat metal washers for some time now and love them. It was a hoot, though, when I walked into a hardware store to buy them. I was coming back from church so I was pretty dressed up and in heels that day. Since I didn't know what aisle the washers would be in, the owner of the store offered to help me. I wish you could have seen the look on his face when I asked for a dozen of them. He said, "Are you sure you want the really big ones? These are used for major plumbing repairs!!!"
Dale C said... (1/12/03 5:28 PM) Reply
Great idea. It made me think about what I use for weights and I added mine to the tip list.
mudcat said... (1/12/03 4:20 PM) Reply
I used to use tuna fish cans for weights (I always bought tuna in bulk from Costco) a trick I learned from a Fashion Design student in Seattle. Now I use my long clear quilting rulers because it's less work. I've noticed that the Kwik Sew patterns and patterns traced off on the dot stuff don't really move as much as traditional tissue pattern paper. ~Alice
Gigi Louis said... (1/12/03 12:09 PM) Reply
Loreli - isn't it unterlegsscheibe? I'll have to post a photo of the washer.
Loreli said... (1/12/03 3:00 AM) Reply
Gigi thats a super tip. I must now just find out what flat washers are in german. Hope I find it in the dictionary.
Star said... (1/12/03 1:25 AM) Reply
Great idea. I've been using the many remotes I find around the house weigh my patterns down!! It works, until we need to change the channel!
Ruth C said... (1/12/03 0:09 AM) Reply
I love this idea and will look for washers the next time I visit a hardware store. Until then, I steal Fancy Feast Cat food cans from my pantry. When I find the pantry is empty of food for my "boys", I always check my sewing room before I head to the store!
Maria Hatfield said... (1/11/03 2:27 PM) Reply
CindyK, i found a picture frame once at a yard sale i guess it was meant for a mans desk because it was made out of nuts/bolts and other doo-dads. but i thought it was cute and different. so i bought it and put our picture in it but when i sat it on the glass end table it kept sliding around. so i took some of the stuff you can put in your cabinets to keep the plates from sliding around and glasses too. well i just cut it out to the size of the frame and glued it on there with a dot of glue (not much) it kinda feels like puffy paint come to think of it. but it sure did the trick! if you take a piece of this and slightly rub it against some fabric you'll see it doesnt shift around at all. i bet some one could take a small circle of it and glue it onto the bottoms of the weights. that'll keep them in place.
Karla Kizer said... (1/11/03 2:24 PM) Reply
I like these, too, and I agree with Cindy that stacking a couple of them makes them a bit heavier. I haven't gotten around to gluing them together, although there was that failed experiment that involved dipping them in Plasti-Kote - the stuff made for tool handles. Gigi is right, though: the price is right. And they store in much less space than traditional weights.
Gloria Allender said... (1/11/03 1:31 PM) Reply
I have used washers like these for a couple of years. I think they are great. The idea of a dowel on a block to hold them is really good too. Right now I just keep them in a plastic container.
CindyK said... (1/11/03 12:44 PM) Reply
I used these also, but found they weren't heavy enough. If you glue two or 3 together (I used Gem-tac) they stay much better. With the variety of sizes, you can really fit most any pattern shape. One could also use something like puffy paint on the bottom if they slid too much.
Lisa Laree said... (1/11/03 12:29 PM) Reply
I think your 'cutting caddy' is a good tip, too!
Gigi Louis said... (1/11/03 11:03 AM) Reply
Deepika, I haven't experienced any shifting. My "real" sewing weights don't have the pins like the O-Weights anyway so I can't miss them.
Deepika said... (1/11/03 11:00 AM) Reply
Gigi, I have heard others talk about these washers too. The idea is good but what about the shifting? I like my olfa weights because they have tiny pins underneath so there is no chance of pattern shifting. Thoughts?
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