A (Very) Little Guide to Tape Measures


“Measure twice, cut once” was the mantra drummed into me by my mum and grandma, and for someone who’s notoriously imprecise, this has proved to be invaluable advice over the years.

There are plenty of tape measures out there to choose from, and whilst fabric tape measures are still a good budget pick, do be aware that they are prone to stretching over time, whilst most modern tape measures are made of plastic, fibreglass or a coated fabric which are both durable and accurate.

Most European sewing patterns use metric measurements, whilst US ones are generally imperial, so it’s best to get a tape that has both. For accuracy fine marks are used for millimetres and eighths and si teenths of inches, whilst thick lines or colour coding are used every 10 cm or 12” to indicate feet.

Most tape measures are between 1.5 m (60”) to 3m (120”) in length, but you can purchase longer ones. A short one is fine for most projects, while a long one is particularly good if you’re interested in patchwork and quilting. Some even have a clever solution so you can use them as though they’re longer than they actually are. Their markings continue on the other side of the tape, so you simply flip them over and continue measuring.

Beyond the basics, there are a few nice extra features available. Some tape measures come in a tin to help keep them tidy, whilst retractable ones stay neat with a simple button press, keeping them always ready for use. Some even have a magnet – great for tidying pins and needles.

You can find the pattern for our September House Pin Cushion HERE.

*Article originally appeared in Bustle & Sew Magazine

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