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Learn English: Words to describe the making of a Mardi Gras costume

Julie Nguyen
Julie Nguyen was part of the Glamazon float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

ABC: Lisa Clarke


The annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade is a celebration of diverse sexualities and genders in Australia. The parade includes people wearing colourful and elaborate costumes that often take months to prepare. Let's learn about words we can use when talking about making a costume.


A 'costume' can refer to clothes that are worn in order to look like someone or something else.

"Julie wore a Wonder Woman costume for the Mardi Gras parade!"

Measuring tape

Measuring tape
Measuring tape.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

A 'measuring tape' is used to make a costume. It is a flexible ruler that you can use to determine how much fabric is required for a costume.


Scissors and fabric
Using a pair of scissors to cut fabric.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

We can use 'a pair of scissors' to cut the fabric to the length required.

You can also just say 'scissors'. Note that the word 'scissors' is an example of nouns that are always plural.


A spool of thread
A spool of thread.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

A 'thread' is a thin strand of cotton or other fibre. Thread is usually wrapped around a spool, which is the shape of a cylinder.

You may also hear people say they are buying thread.

"He got some red and yellow thread for our costumes."


Hand sewing fabric together with needle and thread
Sewing fabric by hand using a needle and thread.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

Thread is put through the eye of a 'needle' and used to hand sew fabric together.

Sewing machine

Sewing machine
Sewing machine.

ABC: Lisa Clarke

A 'sewing machine' is a machine that stitches fabric together. It is usually quicker than sewing something by hand.

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