Sewing tools and equipment are the pieces of equipment that are required for sewing. They can be grouped according to their uses as follows:

  1. Tools and equipment for measuring.
  2. Tools and equipment for marking and tracing.
  3. Tools and equipment for cutting.
  4. Tools and equipment for stitching.

Tools and Equipment for Measuring

  1. Ruler: Used for marking the width of hem, facing etc. It is also used for pattern drafting.
  2. Tape Measure: Used for taking measurement of the body, fabrics etc. A tape measure is normally marked on both sides in inches and centimetres.
  3. Hem marker: Used for marking the hems of finished garments.

              Tools for Marking and Tracing

  1. Tracing Wheel: Used with carbon paper or tracing paper in transferring marking from patterns to fabric.
  2. Tracing Paper: These papers come in different colours. It is used for transferring pattern markings onto fabrics.
  3. Tailor’s Chalk: A special coloured chalk used for making marks on pattern and fabrics. 

Tools and Equipment for Cutting

  1. Scissors and Shears: Scissors are used for cutting paper, fabrics and thread and there are different types and sizes. Pinking shears are used for neatening seams.
  2. Stitch ripper: Used for ripping or picking unwanted stitches and for cutting open buttonholes.

Equipment for Stitching 

  1. Dressmaker’s pin: They look like needles but have heads instead of eye. They are used for holding two pieces of cloth 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: They are available in different sizes and types e.g

                —- Sharp ( needles of average length with small eyes) used for hand sewing.

—– Between are short needles with small eye.

—– Crowels or embroidery needle with large eyes that are easy to thread used for embroidery.

—– Daming needles are long with large eyes. They are used for darning.

—– Machine needles are used only with sewing machine.

  1. Thimble: A small cap-like metal or plastic worn on the finger to protect it from the needle when sewing.
  2. Sewing Machine: A major sewing equipment used for stitching.
  3. Sewing Bag or Emery Bag: A special container used for packing the simple sewing equipment and tools such as thread, tailor’s chalk etc. A collection of sewing equipment and tools properly arranged in a sewing box or bag is called a sewing kit.
  4. Sewing Thread: A sewing aid used for stitching. There are different types and colours. 

TO DO AT HOME: Draw the picture of the following in your notebook

  1. Thimble
  2. Needle
  3. Sewing machine
  4. Tracing wheel
  5. Scissors


Body measurement must be as accurate as possible because wrong measurement will result in ill-fitting garments. The body measurements are used to develop patterns on paper and the patterns are often used to cut out the fabrics for a garment. 

Tools for taking body measurement

  1. Tape measure: For measuring parts of the body.
  2. Pencil: for writing the measurement.
  3. Paper: for recording the measurement.
  4. A string: to be tied around the waist line.

Guidelines for taking body measurement

  1. Take measurement over close-fitting garment or under garment and wear flat shoes.
  2. Let someone else take your body measurement for you.
  3. Avoid adding to taking from the actual measurement.
  4. Record your measurement as soon as it is made.
  5. Use a tape measure that does not stretch.
  6. Pull the tape so that it is snug but not too tight.
  7. Adopt a good posture when taking body measurement.

Basic Body Measurement for girls

  1. Bust:  Round the fullness of the neck.
  2. Waist: Round the smallest part of the trunk.
  3. Hip: Round the largest part of the body below the waist
  4. Length of back (bodice):  From base of the neck (nape) to the waist.
  5. Skirt Length: From waist to knee/hem.
  6. Across Back: At the back, from one under arm to the other.
  7. Across the chest: From one under-arm to the other across the chest.

Basic Body Measurement for Boys


  1. Neck: Round fullest part of the neck and add about 13-15mm for ease and neck band.
  2. Chest: Round the fullest part of the chest.
  3. Sleeve length: Point of shoulder to elbow and from elbow to wrist bone with the elbow slightly bent.


Patterns for clothing construction are shapes of garment parts, cut out of paper.


  1. To direct or guide the cutting of fabric.
  2. Prevent serious mistakes in dress making.
  3. Prevent waste of time in dress making
  4. Make sewing easy. 
  5. Prevent waste of fabric.
  6. Reduce trial and error in sewing.

Types of Pattern

There are basically two types of pattern i.e the drafted and the commercial patterns.

  1. Drafted Pattern: This is made to fit a particular person. The person’s body measurement are first taken and the pattern is drafted to fit the size. 

Advantages – it can be made to fit a person perfectly

                                     — it can be adapted to any type of style.

                                     — it is cheaper than commercial pattern.

                                     — It can be unique because it is original.

                                     — It does not require alteration.

         Disadvantages — It can only be useful to person i.e the owner.

                                     — It requires special skill.

  1. Commercial patterns:  These are made by experts to fit standard figure types using specific body measurement. They are available in different sizes. E.g vogue, simplicity, style etc.

Advantages – They make sewing easy and adequate to body measurement.

                       –– They are made in different styles and sizes.

                       –– They have instruction sheet that shows how to lay out, cut the fabrics and make 

                            up the garment.

                        — They safe time and reduce mistakes in garment making. 

                   — Each pattern envelope contains information on the type and quality of fabric 


Disadvantages: — They are expensive.

                             –– They are not easily or readily available.

                             –– They often require alteration or adjustment to fit the user’s size.

                             –– They are light and can tear easily.

TO DO AT HOME:  Take somebody’s basic body measurement and record in your notebook.

— effect of ingredients on gluten formation.

— method used to incorporate fat into flour.

The proportion of fat to flour used affects how the fat is incorporated into the flour and thus results in the different types of pastry. 

  1. Suet Pastry: The fat is finely shredded or chopped’
  2. Short Crust Pastry: The fat is rubbed in.
  3. Rough Puff Pastry: The fat is rolled into the pastry.
  4. Flaky Pastry: The fat is folded inside pastry.
  5. Hot Water Crust: The fat is added to the flour and melted in boiling water.

Pastries generally are used to prepare dessert, accompaniments to other foods like soups and salad as main dishes where they are filled with meat, fish, poultry and also a way of using left over foods.

General Rules for Successful Pastry Making

  1. Ingredients and utensils should be kept cool to prevent melting the fat since this would interfere with the way the fat will react except for hot water pastry.
  2. The pastry should be handled very lightly so as to develop the gluten. 
  3. The fat should not be over rubbed into the flour. Otherwise, the fat will melt.
  4. Too much water should not be added as this develops the gluten. 
  5. The pastry should be rolled out smoothly and evenly using short even strokes. Roll in one direction only, flouring the board and the rolling pin to avoid sticking. Too much flour spoils the proportion and so makes the pastry tough.
  6. The pastry should be baked in a hot oven because the starch granules have to rupture very quickly to absorb the melted fat. See that the oven is in the correct temperature. If the oven is not hot enough, the fat will melt and run out before it is absorbed by the starch. If the oven is too hot, the pastry will set before the cool air entrapped in the mixing and rolling has time to expand
  7. Sieve flour immediately before use to aerate it and remove lumps.
  8. Never stretch pastry during rolling. This makes the pastry shrink when baked.
  9. Open and close the oven door gently as a current of cold air will prevent the pastry from rising evenly. 
  10. Use pastry containing baking powder at once. It goes dry if kept.

Fat Suitable for Pastry 

  1. Butter: Expensive but the best as it makes light pastry and gives it a good flavor.
  2. Margarine: Gives a good flavor but makes pastry heavy because of its water content. 
  3. Lard and Margarine:  Lard makes light pastries but it lacks flavor. A mixture of lard and margarine is economical and make excellent pastry.

Steps in Pastry Making

  1. Mixing: Over mixing should be avoided after water has been added because it toughens the dough.
  2. Rolling: The dough should be allowed to stand a few minutes to hydrate before rolling. This makes the rolling easy and a little that can be managed easily should be sprinkled during the rolling process.
  3. Baking: The desired temperature should be used in baking. Too hot or low temperature will result into bad product.

Characteristics of good pastry

  1. Good pastry is crisp and tender with a blistered rather than a smooth surface.
  2. The edges are show deep brown while the centre shows light brown.
  3. It is easily cut with a fork but not so tender that it breaks when served.
  4. It smells nice.

Common Faults in Pastry and their Causes

Faults                                   Causes

1.Tough crust                    i. Insufficient fat

                                             Ii. Too much water

                                            iii. Over mixing 

                                            iv. Too much flour on the rolling board

2. Crumbly crust            i. Too little water

                                            ii. Too much fat

                                                         iii. Use of self-raising flour

                                          iv. Insufficient mixing

3.Crust does not turn brown    i. Too little water

ii. Too much fat 

iii. Too much flour on board

iv. Over mixing

v.  Oven temperature too low

4. Soggy lower crust i. Filling too moist

II. Bottom crust turn or broken

iii. Oven temperature too low or time too short

5.Shrinks in pan i. Unbalance recipe

ii. Too much handling

iii. Pastry stretched tightly in pan 

iv. Dough stored too long in refrigerator

v. Dough uneven in thickness

6. Pastry shell blisters i. Pastry fitted too tightly in pan 

ii. Oven temperature too low


These are used to decorate and fill cakes (such as those for weddings, birthdays), biscuits and pastries. The process of decorating cake is called icing.There are three major types of cake icing

  1. Royal icing
  2. Butter icing
  3. Fondant icing

 Examples of filling are mockcream and confectioner custard. 

TO DO AT HOME: Write a note on the three methods of cake icing specifying the ingredients and the methods.