an illustration of a sewn pattern weight in the shape of a chicken

Tutorial - Chicken Pattern Weights!

Right before Christmas I walked into a local secondhand fabric shop and found a handmade kit for some pattern weights/pincushions in the likeness of chickens. I loved the look of them and the instructions were all hand typed and drawn. The original instructions and pattern are by Doreen Speckmann and written in 1997. I give Doreen all the credit for this post, I just wanted to document the steps a little clearer with new illustrations. 

I've found a number of other tutorials for chicken-weights online, but the ones from Doreen we're slightly different and in my opinion, much easier. So let's get started!

What you will need:

  1. 4.5" square pieces of fabric, x2
  2. A piece of yellow felt for the beak and a piece of red felt for the comb
  3. Black seed-beads for eyes (optional)
  4. A 4" long piece of webbing or cord (optional)
  5. About 1 cup of rice for filling
  6. A small amount of cotton stuffing for filling

Step 1: Sew The Chicken

(The corners of the pattern are labeled ABCD; the instructions reference these through the tutorial, so come back to this image if you get lost!)

  1. Place your 2 squares of fabric right-sides together, so the back of the fabric is facing outwards.
  2. In the corner labeled B, place your felt beak and comb, pointing inwards as the picture shows. Make sure they are not so close together that the tip of the beak or top of the comb arnt sewn into the opposite seam.
  3. Beginning sewing the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance, starting from A, down to C. When you get to C, you will sew about 1" inwards towards D and backstitch. Do another 1" worth of sewing from D inwards towards C and backstitching. This will leave you with a gap in the C-D edge that is about 2".

Step 2: Close the Chicken

  1. Take the un-sewn side, and bring point A to meet D, matching the seams as best you can.
  2. (Optional) If you want to add a webbing loop or tail detail, add that now, pointing inward, centered in the A/D seam. 
  3. Sew the edge closed.

Step 3: Turn Right-Side Out & Finish

  1. Through the gap that is left from the C/D side, gently turn the chicken right-side out.
  2. Through the bottom hole, tightly stuff a small amount of cotton stuffing into the chickens head to help give it some shape.
  3. Using a funnel, fill the chicken the rest of the way with rice. You can also use beans, pebbles, or beads! I find rice is the best, especially if you are using them as pincushions. 
  4. Gently pinch the seam closed and sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch. 
  5. Lastly, take your two seed-beads and sew on a pair of eyes. You can also use a french-knot or embroidery if you prefer. 
  6. You're all done! Enjoy your chicken weight!

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