Tuesday, October 28, 2014

pattern weights gift set

Here's a great DIY gift idea for the sewing enthusiast in your life - a set of colorful pattern weights!

Thing 1 is doing a LOT of sewing as part of her apparel design courses in college. During my last visit to warm and sunny Savannah, I noticed a jagged broken glass jar candle on an end table in her apartment. She had been using it as a pattern weight, and it slipped off the table. So of course the mom (and avid Pinterest user) in me decided right then that I needed to make her a set of pattern weights :) I got the idea for these no-sew functional and fun weights from this pin.

Supplies needed for this project are:
  • (30) flat 3/4" metal washers from the hardware or home improvement store
  • (5) 15 ft spools of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon
  • high-temp glue gun and glue sticks
Hot-glue the washers into sets of 2 and 3 washers to make 12 pattern weights (you'll end up with 6 of each). One 5 foot length of ribbon will cover a stack of two washers, but a stack of three washers requires about 6 feet. Cut two of the ribbon spools into thirds (5 ft lengths) and cut the other three spools in half (7.5 ft lengths). Use a candle lighter to "melt" the cut ends of the ribbons so they won't fray.

Secure one end of a single ribbon to a washer set with the hot glue and begin wrapping by pulling the ribbon up through the center and around the outer edge overlapping the ribbon as you go. When the washers are completely covered trim the ribbon, melt the cut end, and simply secure it with another small bit of hot glue. Be careful because high-temp glue is very hot. Sorry for the lack of photos of these steps, but all my fingers on both hands were very busy holding the ribbon tight and trying not to get burnt with the hot glue! Depending on the strength and dexterity of your hands and fingers you may want to cover half of the weights one day and save the other half for the next day. My hands were really starting to get sore after covering the first 3 or 4 weights.

Naturally, cute pattern weights require an equally cute traveling and storage container, so I used these fun fabrics from my stash to make a zipper bag. Both fabrics are from a recent line called "Mama Said Sew" by Sweetwater for Moda - perfect for this project, huh? The darker fabric is printed like a dictionary page with all sorts of fabric and sewing terms defined, while the lighter fabric says, "Sew Sew Sew..." in a script font.

The pattern I used is Amy Butler's "Origami Bag" from her book Amy Butler's Style Stitches. The "mini" size measures 10.5" inches wide across the bag top (7.5" across the bag bottom), 3" deep, and 3.25" high - just right to comfortably hold these weights.

A decorative charm (from the jewelry making department at JoAnns) on the zipper personalizes and finishes it off perfectly!

The weights are getting a lot of use in her sewing studio classes. She loves them and most of her classmates do too. This useful gift was pretty inexpensive to make (about $20 total for the washers and ribbon) and is so very useful for the sewist in your life. Hobby Lobby carries a huge selection of ribbons (other craft retailers do too) so you can make a set to suit every friend's color and style preferences.

And now I think I need to make myself a set!


  1. These are really nice and I love the bag!

  2. What a fabulous idea, so pretty.

  3. How clever: A beautiful and practical gift!

  4. Soooo clever and soooo cute!! Love the bag too... it's the perfect finish. You are so talented!

  5. I am so in love with these that I simply have to make them for myself! My hubs picked up the washers at Home Depot, so now I'll be looking for the ribbons. Or, might it work to use selvages? I'm trying to brainstorm something else to wrap them with so I can glean from my sewing/craft closet. Thanks very much for sharing this idea. Just like with the a-line skirts, you've inspired me.

  6. I love these, what a great idea and thanks for sharing!! I need to make some of these :-)

  7. Hi Nancy! I'm glad you like them - so easy and so very useful. I've got to get busy and make a set for myself too! Enjoy the rest of your week :)

  8. Hi. Nancy! Thanks so much for such a detailed explanation for how you made these weights. Saved me so much time. I wanted to share a couple suggestions that I found made threading ribbon easier and save finger cramping: 1) use a large eye yarn needle or big eye beading needle to thread ribbon through the hole. 2) Use a binder clip to hold the wraps in place as you create them. 3) Every few wraps secure the next wrap with a dab of hot glue. This secures the wraps from slipping while making and later with use.


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading a little bit about me and taking the time to comment! Have a wonderful day!


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