There are certain pieces of equipment that you require for sewing. You need to know these. You also need to understand how to choose, use and care for each piece of equipment properly. You need to start with the simple sewing tools and equipment.
Classes Of Simple Sewing Tools And Equipment
The various simple sewing tools and equipment can be be grouped according to their uses as follows:
Tools And Equipment For Measuring
1. Ruler: This is used for marking the width of hems, facings etc. It is also used in pattern drafting.
2. Tape Measure: This is used for taking measurements of the body, fabric, etc. A tape measure is normally marked on both sides in inches and centimeters.
3. Hem Marker: This is used for marking the hems of finished garments.
Care Of Tape Measure
i. Avoid cutting your tape with your scissors in the process of cutting fabric or pattern.
ii. Roll up the tape when not in use and store in your sewing bag or box.
iii. Wash plastic tape in soapy water when it is dirty. Dry thoroughly.
Tools And Equipment For Marking And Tracing
1. Tracing Wheel: This is used with carbon paper or tracing paper in transferring markings from patterns to fabric.
2. Tracing Paper: This paper comes in many colours. It is used for transferring pattern markings onto fabrics.
3. Tailor’s Chalk: This is a special coloured chalk used for making marks on patterns and fabrics. It should be wrapped with a clean paper after each use and stored in the sewing box.
Tools And Equipment For Cutting
1. Scissors And Shears: There are different types and sizes of scissors used for cutting paper, fabric and thread. Pinking shears are used for neatening seams.
Care Scissors And Shears
i. Do not use your dressmaker’s scissors used for cutting paper or cardboard. This makes the cutting adges dull and blunt.
ii. Reserve small pair of scissors for cutting paper.
iii. Avoid dropping your scissors or shears on the floor, to avoid damaging them.
iv. Protect the scissors from rust.
v. Do not wash with water. Wipe it dry each time it is in contact with water.
vi. When the scissors becomes hard to operate, apply machine oil at the joint.
2. Stitch Ripper: This is used for ripping or picking unwanted stitches. It is also used for cutting open button holes. It is much safer than a razor blade for these purposes.
Equipment For Stitching
1. Dressmaker’s Pins These look like needles but have “heads” instead of “eye”. They are used for holding two or more pieces of cloth or paper together in the sewing process.
2. Pin-Cushion And Emery Bag: Pin-cushion is used for holding pins and needles when you are sewing. Emery bag contains special dust which sharpens and polishes needles and pins.
3. Needles: These are available in different sizes, and type, these include the following:
Types Of Needles
i. Sharps are needles of average length with small eyes. They are most commonly used for hand sewing.
ii. Betweens are short needles with a small eye.
iii. Crewels or embroidery needles have large eyes that are easy to thread. They are used for embroidery.
iv. Machine needles are used only with the sewing machine.
Care Of Needles And Dressmaker’s Pins
i. Prevent your needles and pins from rusting by putting them in a small container of white powder.
ii. Do not throw needles and pins about, to prevent accidents.
iii. Use pin cushion for holding needles and pins whenever you are sewing.
iv. Use emery bag to sharpen and clean needles and pins.
4. Thimble: This is a small cap-like metal or plastic worn on the finger to protect it from the needle when sewing .
5. Sewing Machine: This is a major sewing equipment. It is used for stitching. There are many variates of sewing machines. This perform various functions. Sewing machines are fully discussed in Year Three.
6. Sewing Thread: This is a sewing aid. It is used for stitching. There are different types and colours of thread. For instance there are different colours of cotton, silk and nylon threads.
Sewing Bag Or Box: This is a special container used for packing the small sewing equipment, tools and aids such as threads, tailor’s chalk, etc. When a box is used, items should be orderly arranged in it. A collection of small sewing tools and equipment properly arranged in a sewing box or bag is called a Sewing Kit.
Guidelines For Choosing Sewing Tools And Equipment
1. Choose measuring tools and equipment with edges to prevent snagging the fabric.
2. Measuring tools and equipment should have accurate scale and be easy to read.
3. Choose a tape measure that will not stretch or fray, e.g. Plastic tape.
4. Choose marking equipments that will not leave permanent marks on the fabric.
5. Choose cutting equipment, such as scissors and shears that will not rust. Stainless steel scissors and shears are good.
6. Choose scissors are shears with good and durable handles.
7. Choose stitching equipment and tools (pins and needles) that are rust proof.
8. Pins and needles should also have sharp points.
9. Always have a variety of needles in your sewing kit.
10. The needle to choose for sewing a piece of work will depend on the following:
i. The type and weight of the fabric you are sewing, e.g. Fine needle for fine fabric.
ii. The type of sewing process or stitch you are performing, e.g. Knitting or crocheting.
iii. The size of the thread you are using.
11. Avoid thimbles with sharp edges which will fray sewing thread and make fabric surface rough.
12. Choose sewing thread that matches whatever you are sewing in colour and texture.
13. Always choose durable and safe sewing tools and equipment.
14. Always choose the right equipment for the right job, for instance, use seam ripper for removing stitches instead of razor blade.