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Get the Hang of It: How to Use Weights to Improve the Look of Jackets

Try two types of drapery weights to help jackets hang better on your body.

Over the years, we have read about how a length of chain is stitched above the hemline on the interior of classic French-style jackets. A visible beautiful chain on the garment’s back hem facing serves as a counterbalance to the heavy buttons that are sewn onto each jacket. It enables the garment to appear balanced on the body, and it adds a flash of bling. Many thanks to Susan Khalje and Claire B. Shaeffer for their research and expertise to give us the 4-1-1 on the secrets within this style of jacket.

While this detail is beautiful in a couture-inspired garment, what if you’d like your casual jackets to hang properly on your body? You could try using concealed drapery weights in key areas of the jacket interior. They are added during jacket construction.

Drapery weights are easily found online or at your local fabric/craft stores, and are relatively easy on your budget. There are a few types, but the two I’ve found success with are: fabric-covered sausage bead weight and individual cloth-covered drapery weights. Note that some are labeled lead-free, for those who want to avoid using weights containing lead.

Two types of drapery weights
Two types of drapery weights can be used instead of visible chain weights: sausage bead weight (top) and fabric-covered drapery weights (bottom).

Where to place the drapery weights

The weights go into a garment’s hem area. Some may need to be placed in the fold of the front or back hemline or in the front corner within the jacket facing. Weighting the front helps the jacket stay closed and keeps the front edge perpendicular to the floor. Using a length of sausage bead weight in the back hem is similar to using the classic French-style jacket chain—a counterbalance to heavy buttons or less than…

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  1. PlayinHooky | | #1

    This is one of your most helpful postings, thank you! I knew drapery weights could be used but not exactly the best way. The square weights at bottom front is especially helpful.

    One question: do you know if these lead weights (or the metal chain) cause problems at airport security and other security scanners? I would still use them but it would be good to know in advance.

  2. User avater
    pamhoward | | #2

    I’m so glad that you found this information helpful! I have to say that I’m not certain if these weights will cause any issues while going through security at airports. They are quite small, but I’m not sure if explaining what they are to security personnel if detected by the scanners is worth taking a chance.
    Thanks so much and Happy Sewing!
    Pam Howard

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