This is the first of a series of tutorial on how to make factory tools for the home sewing environment; hence, the post title “faux factory” tools. Factory tools are usually single purposed and made to endure; therefore, they can be expensive or difficult to obtain. Because of these reasons it makes sense to make your own version. First up is the pattern hook.
I know your first thought is… do I really need pattern hooks when I only work on one pattern at a time? The answer is, “yes”. Pattern hooks will save precious table space, help prevent patterns from going AWOL and keep your patterns easily accessible. See my table without pattern hooks? What a mess. I sort of have different patterns in different stacks but it becomes a patternado when I’m trying to find an elusive pattern piece.
Let’s start with the supplies:
- 20 gauge wire or thicker. You can purchase this at craft or bead stores. Tip: The smaller the gauge number the thicker the wire.
- Cording or similar. I used DMC floss but any cording, yarn, ribbon will work. Since these won’t get as heavily used as the industry ones we don’t have to worry as much about durability. Anything that doesn’t catch or fray easily will work.
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers. I use round nose pliers to make a smooth loop but regular needle nose pliers are fine.
- To make the t-bar end of the pattern hook, you need to cut a 4” length of wire. Create a small loop in the center. The loop should only be large enough to thread the cording. Too large and you’ll need to punch a large hole in the pattern pieces.
- Fold the ends in half and twist to the ends.
- To make the hook end, cut 10” length of wire. Fold it in half and twist to add strength.
- Shape the twisted wire into a hook shape. You can use a hanger as a guide.
- Clip one of the ends and create a loop with the remaining end. Again the loop should be only large enough to thread the cording.
- Cut a 14” length of cording. Fold the cord in half, put the cord loop through the loop in t-bar. Thread the cording ends through the cord loop to secure it onto the t-bar.
- Thread the cording ends through the loop in the hook end and knot to secure. The knot should be towards the hook so that it doesn’t get in the way of the pattern pieces. You should have about 4” of cording between the t-bar and the hook end.
Pattern piece holes
- The last step is to punch holes into the pattern pieces for hanging. Professional pattern makers use oaktag which is pretty sturdy. Unfortunately in the world of home sewing we usually work with filmsy tissue paper. I have not tried hanging tissue paper. Try this at your own risk. Using paper reinforcement stickers from the office supply store might help any holes in the tissue remain sturdy. I usually trace my patterns onto tracing paper or use bond paper for PDF prints so I have a sturdy material to work with.
- I use a ¼” hole punch from the scrapbooking section of my craft store. You want to put your punch at the top edge of the pattern.
- Tip 1: If the pattern piece can’t be easily punched at the top, you can punch a hole further down the pattern piece. To do this you can use a screw punch. But if you don’t have one, you can fold the pattern and punch a half circle.
- Tip 2: If the pattern piece is long you can fold the pattern in half and punch at the top edge.
My patterns are now neat and tidy. They take up very little space are easy to find.
I find the pattern hook an invaluable tool in the sewing room. I hope you give one a try. Either this DIY version or a purchased one, it’s a tool I think everyone should have.