Thursday, January 9, 2014
TUTORIAL - Pattern Weights (EASY!)
While digging through my fabric piles, I realized that I didn't need big pieces, so I turned to my overflowing scrap bin:
First, for those who don't know, pattern weights are used as an alternative to pinning when you cut fabric using pattern pieces. (It's a lot faster to weigh that tissue paper down, rather than poking through it with pins.)
Pattern weights come in all shapes and sizes. I have seen people use large metal washers, rocks (like me), and scissors. I chose to make small, round weights because I make quite a bit of children's apparel. And, because you can never have too much practice sewing circles.
HOW TO SEW PATTERN WEIGHTS:
Using scrap fabric, find a round shape that is suitable for your needs. I used a pickle jar lid, which is about as small as you want to go since the finished circles come out at about 3".
Cut out your circles and press.
Set your sewing machine for a short stitch, and position your needle about 1/4" from the edge of the circle.
Go slow. This is not a race. If you are having trouble stitching the curve, don't be afraid to raise the presser foot (with the needle piercing the fabric) and turn the shape every so often. Whatever gets you through this without turning in to a lunatic...
Sew around the circle, leaving a gap of about an inch or so. The larger the gap, the easier it will be to pull the fabric right side out, but the harder it will be to close it up when it is filled with weight.
"Clipping the curve" - You will see this term a lot on apparel patterns when making necklines, hat brims, and sleeves. Basically, you can use pinking shears, or cut small triangles to give the fabric some flexibility in order to make a clean, rounded shape.
As you see below, I do not clip the curve at the gap that was left unsewn. It's much easier to fold that "gap fabric" to the inside when it hasn't been clipped.
Once the disks are filled to your satisfaction, you can hand sew the gap shut (to make it pretty), or just shove that sucker under the presser foot on your machine and stitch the edge closed. Make sure that all of your filling is moved AWAY from the stitch area before you use your machine. If you can't move the filling enough to have the presser foot sitting flat, empty a little out and try again.