Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tutorial: Dressmakers Pattern Weights

Cutting out patterns is one of those things that doesn’t need to be so tedious. Pinning out paper patterns is a pain! Have you ever considered weighing patterns down instead? You should!

Since college, I have hankered after a set of pattern weights or cloth weights for my own personal use. Unfortunately, like a lot of the cooler items I used during my course, metal pattern weights (like these, or these) are not available on the retail market in Australia and the cost of shipping them here from overseas is crazy.

You can buy home-use sets which are basically small metal washers with a nylon coating- or you can raid the pantry for tins of food. They’re all adequate substitutions- but to me, it felt like I was being “cheap”, not “thrifty”. Being thrifty is about doing a good job with limited resources. I wanted to look forward to laying out my patterns and perhaps feel a little extravagant when using them.

After some brainstorming with Mr Thrifty, we headed off to our local Bunnings hardware store for supplies. My first stop was metal washers. I’d seen retail versions of weights using washers as well as DIY tutorials for covering them, but I wasn’t overly impressed by the weight of them or the sizes available. I’m sure they work but they just weren’t doing it for me.

When I explained what I was thinking to Mr Thrifty, he showed me what he had found further down the aisle and I was overjoyed by what I saw! He had found some metal plates or brackets (or whatever the heck they’re called!) similar in size to the small Morplan cloth weights. I will admit, I got a little excited… The smallest Morplan weight is 20GBP, that’s close to 30AUD. My bargain hunting brain went in to overdrive as I scanned through what else they had in that section.

One shelf up and two places across I spotted a wider bracket. It was the same length but twice the width and half the thickness. I grabbed four of the large ones because I wanted to stack two of them together so they were double the weight of the small ones. And I grabbed six of the narrower plates because half a dozen sounded like a decent number to have in my stash.

Cost so far: $37.30 AUD

Technical note: both sizes of the brackets weigh just under 500 grams (1 lbs). The smaller plate is 20cm x 5cm (8in x 2 in) and the larger plate is 20cm x 10cm (8in x 4 in).

On our way home we stopped in at Spotlight (a necessary evil one has to face when needing fabric) and picked up half a metre of “fake quilt” fabric that was $12.95pm. I’m not a quilter and I’m sure a quilt fanatic would frown upon its use but it was lovely fabric and I’m glad I bought it. After Spotlight, we stopped off at one of those discount variety stores and I found a roll of cream coloured grip map for $2.50. Grip matting wasn’t a part of the original plan but it ended up being a nice addition to the finished weights. It cushions the fabric from the hard edges of the metal plates.

Cost so far: $46.25

You know what you need and where to find it, now all you need to know how to make them!

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