TOOLS USED IN GARMENT CONSTRUCTION


Besides a sewing machine in good condition, well selected sewing equipment and pressing equipment are essential for making garments of good quality and appearance. Sewing box / kit: First and foremost, one should have a box or basket with compartments for keeping the things needed for sewing.

SEWING AND EMBROIDERY TOOLS:

Hand Sewing Needles: They are found in sizes from the very fine 9 to the heavy 18. The best quality needles are made of hand ground steel. For hand sewing medium length needles with a short oval eye is selected. Crewel needles designed for embroidery work have a long oval eye.

Sewing Machine Needles:They are found in sizes from the fine 9 to the heavy 18. The needles are made to fit the specific make and model of each sewing machine. The needle size should conform to the weight, thickness, and kind of fabric.

Sewing thread: With the wide and ever increasing range of fabrics available in the market, it is important to know the right sewing thread for the various types of fabrics. The right kind of thread is important in sewing as both the thread and the garment should share the same characteristics, as they have to be laundered and ironed together, they should shrink and stretch together.

Pins: These come in different sizes for use in different fabrics. The right choice of pins is most essential for good workmanship, speed, and convenience in sewing. Use silk or stainless steel pins. The ball point pins are useful for fine knits. The other types of pins are dressmaker pin (a pin of medium diameter but quite suitable for most sewing needs), and silk (a very slender pin with a needle point to be used on delicate fabrics).

Thimbles: These are necessary for efficient and accurate hand sewing. A metal thimble should fit snugly on the middle finger of the needle holding hand. There are two types of thimbles: an open-ended thimble, preferred by tailors, and the more common closed-ended thimble, called the dressmakers thimble (Fig.2a).

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Embroidery Frame: This is used for keeping the fabric stretched while the work is being carried out.

Embroidery Threads: These are available in a variety of colours in six stranded skeins. One can use two or three strands at a time.

Stiletto: This is a sharp pointed instrument for punching holes in material. It is used for forming holes in material. It is used for forming eyelets in belts and for embroidery work.

Bodkin: This is a flat needle with a blunt end and a large eye for threading elastic and tape

CUTTING TOOLS

The following types of shears and scissors are made for both right-handed and left- handed cutting. All cutting tools must be kept sharp, clean, and grease-free for accurate cuts.

Bent-Handle Shears: They are 8 to 10 inches long (Fig. 2b). They are used for cutting all types of fabrics. Shears differ from scissors in that they have one small ring handle for the thumb and a large ring handle for the second, third and fourth fingers.

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Scissors: They are 5 to 6 inches long. They are used for light cutting, trimming, clipping corners, and cutting curves. These have round handles for both the blades. They are designed for snipping threads and trimming seams. They should be held so that the wider blade is above the narrower blade.

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Pinking Shears: They are 9 to 10 inches long (Fig. 2d). They produce a notched cutting line (zig zag) which gives a neat appearance to the inside of garments.

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Button Hole Scissors: These can be adjusted so as to cut button holes in any size required (Fig. 2e). They are useful if one needs to make many button holes

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Electric Scissors These are used in most sample rooms. They are ideal for cutting silk, nylon, and soft, hard-to-cut fabric (Fig. 2f).

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MEASURING TOOLS

Measuring Tape: It has a smooth surface that is clearly marked with increments of inches and centimeters on both sides. It is usually about ½ inch to ¼ inch wide and 60 inches long, and has 1/8 divisions (Fig. 2g). At one end of the tape is attached a brass strip about 3 inches long and at the other end, a small brass covering.

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Rulers: They are used in sample room which are either clear plastic or metal. It is useful to have 2 rulers: one is 1 inch wide and 6 inches long, and the second is 2 inches wide and 18 inches long.

Yardstick or meter scale: It is available in 36 inches or 45 inches in length in wood or metal. They are useful for checking grain lines when fixing pattern pieces on material and for drawing long seam lines on fabric or paper.

L Square: It is an L-shaped metal ruler; the long arm measures 24 inches, the short arm 14 inches. This has a perfect right angle corner and is used to draw lines at right angles at the time of drafting. It is helpful during the process of “straightening fabric” to check whether the corners of the fabric have got the right-angled structure

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Skirt Marker:
They mark hem length accurately. Markers are adjustable and are available for use with chalk powder or pins. A six-inch gauge can be made of cardboard or bought from a shop (Fig. 2i). It is useful as a measuring guide for marking width of hems, pleats, seam allowances etc. accurately. Notches are provided at regular intervals along the gauge. One edge of the notch is at right angles to the straight. While measuring or marking, use the straight edge of the notch as a guide.

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MARKING TOOLS

Tracing Wheel: It is used to transfer the pattern markings-including seams, darts and pocket placements to the wrong side of the fabric with the aid of tracing paper. The small serrated edge tracing wheel is appropriate for most fabrics (Fig.2j). A smooth edge tracing wheel is used on fine or knit fabrics to avoid snagging the yarns.

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Tracing Paper: It is a wax-coated paper used with the tracing wheel to transfer pattern markings to the wrong side of the fabric

Tailors Chalk: It is made of wax or stone chalk that is used to transfer markings to fabric when white carbon is not visible. Stone chalk is also available in pencil form. This is available in assorted colours and in rectangular or triangular shapes.

PRESSING TOOLS

Iron: This keep an automatic iron handy for pressing fabric before cutting, during construction and after the garment is completed.

Steam Iron: It has an adjustable temperature control, and is equipped with a thumb press for automatic steam. Distilled water is heated, and the resulting steam can be released with the thumb press while pressing.

Ironing Board:  It is used for hand pressing which is padded and of convenient height. One may use an ordinary table covered with sheet and blanket for this purpose.

Sleeve Board: This is a well-padded miniature of a full-sized ironing board and is used to press sleeves and hard-to-reach small details (Fig. 2k). It has a tapered end on one side and a round end on the other side.

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Press cloth: Fabric used for press cloth should be colourfast and should be washed or boiled to remove all sizing.

MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS

Awl: It is a small, sharp-pointed tool used to punch small, round holes for marking on paper or leathers.

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Seam Ripper: It is used to remove basting stitches and to rip out unnecessary machine stitches (Fig. 2m).

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Loop Turner: Is a long wire with a latch hook, used for turning bias strips to make spaghetti straps and narrow belts.

Dress Form: This is a padded form of body and may be made of wood, cardboard, plaster of paris, reinforced plastic. This is a necessity in all sample rooms for designing and fittings.

Paper: It is for pattern making purposes and fabric cutting. This soft paper comes in rolls of plain paper or paper with blue dots or other markings at set intervals.

Three-Way Mirror: It is used for model fittings.

Orange-stick: This is a long tool whose point can be inserted into the corners of collars, seams, etc., so as to give a neat pointed appearance.

Cutting board or table: This is a table of convenient height and size is a definite aid in cutting and constructing garments. 5’ x 3’ is a desirable size with 2″ x 6″ height.

Summary
A variety of tools and equipment are used for performing various functions such as sewing, cutting, measuring, pressing, etc. A knowledge about these tools will help us to choose the right tool to complete a particular task in the process of garment construction.

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