7 Facts Everyone Should Know About Sewing Tape Measure.

Fact Checked By:Samuel Carter

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In the realm of sewing and crafting, precision and accuracy are key. Whether you’re working on a garment, home decor, or any sewing project, having the right measurements is crucial. This is where the humble sewing tape measure comes into play. A tape measure is a versatile tool that assists sewists in taking accurate measurements, ensuring a perfect fit and professional finish.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of sewing tape measures. From their construction and features to tips on using them effectively, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of this indispensable sewing tool. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced seamstress, understanding the nuances of tape measures will undoubtedly elevate your sewing prowess. A measuring tape is one of the most valuable and essential sewing tools in every sewing room.

So, let’s delve into the world of sewing tape measures, unlocking the secrets to precise measurements and unlocking your sewing potential.

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Today, a tape measure on the tailor’s neck is the same famous professional feature as a doctor’s stethoscope. 7 facts everyone should know about sewing tape measure.

Sewing Tape Measure Secrets

cloth measuring tape for sewing

What is a tape measure for sewing?

The tape measure for sewing is usually a flexible and adaptable adhesive tape with linear dimensional markings, mainly made of reinforced polyester or fiberglass. The most common length of a tape measure is 152 cm (60 inches), but tapes are available for sale, like 254 cm (100 inches) or 304 cm (120 inches), which can be useful for measuring longer lengths (such as curtains, quilts, and other stylistic layout objects at home).

cloth tape measure

Use a tape measure when sewing

A tape measure is mainly used to measure bodies as well as to draw patterns, to measure fabric, to place designs on fabric, to determine the length of a garment, to check the size of borders, to measure curves and corners, to measure Curtains and quilts used. .. and much more. A sewist must have a tape measure on hand. Even better, multiple tapes with different shades of color without an immediate delay.

Read a tape measure

As you may know, there are two mainframes for a length measurement: the imperial measurement system, where things are measured in meters, feet, and inches—the metric measurement system, which uses meters, centimeters, and millimeters.

How do I buy a tape measure for sewing

How do I buy a tape measure for sewing? It’s not distracting, but there are a few details to watch out for.

Anyone who is sewing must choose a considerable tape measure with a guarantee against the removal and disappearance of markings. The tape measure should be reliable but adaptable, not twisted or stretched, and not easy to tear.

Pay attention to the tape material – it should be healthy to serve you as long as possible without stretching. Today’s professional tapes are made of fiberglass and are NEVER stretchable. When choosing a tape measure for sewing, remember that it should be soft and adaptable. An inflexible tape measure does not fit your body or over a pattern and fabric, and all measurements are wrong.

Types of tape measures

  • Some tapes only marked in centimeters and millimeters.
  • Some only have inches and their fractions (in the 8th or 16th).
  • Some are both inches and centimeters. I want this type of tape measure for sewing. Converting the sewing lengths is easy, with a measuring tape marked in cm and inches. You only need to read the customs page that corresponds to the number in centimeters.

Old and old tape measures

Many sewing tools (sewing tape, best sewing machine, sewing kit, sewing oil, iron for sewing, pinking shears, sewing chair, sewing table, sewing scissors and more) have a thousand-year history. In any case, a customizable tape measure is a relatively recent invention. Let me reveal some interesting facts about a tailor’s tape measure.

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If you want to change inches and millimeters slightly, use this table below with the equivalent in mm for divisions in inches.

tailor tape measure

The values ​​are set to the next mm value. For example, if the actual cost is 7.94 mm, we need to group it to 8 mm because when sewing, the millimeters are no longer separated – the millimeter is the smallest unit commonly used in the decimal standard. We cannot observe and use something much smaller than a millimeter.

Features and Benefits of Sewing Tape Measures

  • Flexible and Retractable: Sewing tape measures are typically made from flexible materials such as cloth or fiberglass, allowing them to easily bend and conform to various shapes and curves. They are also retractable, meaning they can be conveniently stored in a compact form when not in use.
  • Accurate Measurements: Sewing tape measures are marked with precise measurements, usually in inches, centimeters, or both. They provide accurate readings, enabling you to take precise measurements of fabrics, patterns, body measurements, and more.
  • Dual-Sided Measurement: Many sewing tape measures feature dual-sided markings, with one side displaying inches and the other side showing centimeters. This versatility allows you to work with different measurement systems and patterns from around the world.
  • Clear and Easy-to-Read Markings: Tape measures typically have clear and legible markings, ensuring easy visibility while measuring. The markings are often color-coded or numbered at regular intervals, facilitating quick and accurate measurements.
  • Lengthy and Extendable: Sewing tape measures come in various lengths, commonly ranging from 60 inches (150 centimeters) to 120 inches (300 centimeters) or more. The longer length allows you to measure larger areas or longer fabric pieces without needing to reposition the tape frequently.
  • Portable and Lightweight: Sewing tape measures are lightweight and portable, making them easy to carry in your sewing kit or pocket. They are convenient for on-the-go sewing projects or when attending classes or workshops.
  • Multipurpose Use: Sewing tape measures have a wide range of applications beyond sewing. They are useful for measuring body dimensions, taking home measurements for interior design or upholstery projects, or any situation that requires accurate measurements.
  • Durable and Long-lasting: A well-constructed sewing tape measure is designed to withstand regular use and handle the wear and tear of sewing projects. Quality tape measures are durable, ensuring they will last for a long time with proper care.
  • Versatile Design: Some sewing tape measures have additional features, such as built-in magnets, hanging loops, or center markings. These design elements offer added convenience and functionality for specific sewing tasks or measuring techniques.
  • Cost-effective: Sewing tape measures are affordable and accessible, making them an excellent investment for sewists of all levels. They provide precise measurements at a fraction of the cost of more specialized measuring tools.

Sewing tape measures are an essential tool for sewists, enabling accurate measurements and ensuring successful sewing projects. With their flexibility, accuracy, and user-friendly features, they make measuring an efficient and enjoyable part of your sewing experience.

Applications of Sewing Tape Measure

Sewing tape measures have numerous applications in sewing, crafting, and other related fields. Here are some common applications of sewing tape measures:

  • Measuring Fabric: Sewing tape measures are widely used to measure fabric lengths, widths, and seam allowances accurately. They help ensure precise cutting and fitting of fabric pieces for garments, home decor, and other sewing projects.
  • Taking Body Measurements: Sewing tape measures are essential for taking accurate body measurements for sewing garments. They enable you to measure bust, waist, hip, inseam, and other dimensions to achieve the correct fit.
  • Pattern Alterations: Sewing tape measures aid in making pattern alterations by measuring and adjusting pattern pieces. They assist in modifying the length, width, or shape of pattern elements to customize the fit according to individual measurements.
  • Hemming and Finishing: Tape measures are valuable for measuring and marking hems, cuffs, and other finishing details. They help ensure even and precise hem allowances for a professional and polished look.
  • Quilting and Patchwork: Sewing tape measures are useful for measuring fabric strips, squares, and blocks in quilting and patchwork projects. They help achieve accurate measurements and maintain consistent seam allowances throughout the quilting process.
  • Upholstery and Home Decor: When working on upholstery projects or making home decor items like curtains, drapes, or tablecloths, tape measures assist in measuring and cutting fabric to fit specific furniture dimensions or window sizes.
  • Craft Projects: Tape measures are handy for a variety of craft projects, such as measuring ribbon, elastic, or trim lengths. They ensure precision when creating crafts like bags, accessories, or small fabric items.
  • DIY and Home Improvement: Sewing tape measures find applications beyond sewing in various DIY and home improvement projects. They are useful for measuring spaces, distances, and dimensions when working on interior design, upholstery, or other household tasks.

Remember to handle the tape measure carefully, ensure it lies flat and straight when measuring, and double-check measurements for accuracy. Sewing tape measures are versatile tools that provide the necessary precision for successful sewing and measuring tasks in a wide range of applications.

Pros and cons of sewing tape measure

Pros of Sewing Tape Measures:

  • Accuracy: Sewing tape measures provide precise measurements, ensuring accuracy in your sewing projects.
  • Versatility: They can be used for a wide range of sewing and crafting applications, from measuring fabric to taking body measurements.
  • Portability: Sewing tape measures are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry and use on the go.
  • Cost-effective: Tape measures are affordable and widely available, making them a cost-effective tool for sewists.
  • Flexibility: The flexible nature of tape measures allows them to easily conform to curves and shapes, providing accurate measurements in various sewing scenarios.
  • Dual-sided markings: Many tape measures have dual-sided markings, allowing you to work with different measurement systems and patterns.

Cons of Sewing Tape Measures:

  • Limited length: While tape measures come in various lengths, they may not be suitable for measuring extremely long or oversized items.
  • Durability: Depending on the quality, some tape measures may not be as durable as more specialized measuring tools.
  • Limited functionality: While tape measures are versatile, they may not provide the same level of precision or specialized features as other measuring tools for specific tasks.
  • Inaccuracy due to stretching: Over time, tape measures may stretch or wear out, which can lead to slight inaccuracies in measurements if not regularly checked and replaced.
  • Difficulty in measuring curves: While flexible, tape measures can be challenging to use on intricate curves or irregular shapes.

It’s important to note that while tape measures have their limitations, they remain a fundamental and widely used tool in sewing and crafting due to their affordability, convenience, and overall accuracy.

How to Choose the Right Sewing Tape Measure

Choosing the right sewing tape measure involves considering several factors to ensure it meets your specific sewing needs. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Length: Determine the length of tape measure you require. Consider the types of projects you typically work on and choose a length that accommodates the largest measurements you anticipate taking. Longer tape measures are useful for measuring larger areas or long fabric pieces without the need for frequent repositioning.
  • Material: Sewing tape measures are available in various materials, such as vinyl-coated fiberglass, cloth, or metal. Vinyl-coated fiberglass is durable and resistant to stretching, while cloth tape measures are flexible and less likely to leave creases on fabrics. Choose a material that suits your preferences and usage requirements.
  • Measurement Units: Consider the measurement units you commonly work with. Most tape measures display both inches and centimeters, but ensure the tape measure you choose has clear and legible markings in the unit(s) you prefer.
  • Markings and Graduations: Look for tape measures with clear, easy-to-read markings. The markings should be accurate, evenly spaced, and numbered at regular intervals. Consider if you need additional markings, such as center markings or specific increments, depending on your sewing projects and techniques.
  • Quality and Durability: Assess the quality and durability of the tape measure. Look for a sturdy construction with reinforced ends to prevent fraying. Check customer reviews or seek recommendations to gauge the durability and longevity of the tape measure.
  • Flexibility: Ensure the tape measure is flexible enough to bend and conform to curves and shapes without losing accuracy. Flexibility is especially important when working with garments or projects that require measuring around curves or irregular shapes.
  • Ergonomics: Consider the comfort and usability of the tape measure. Look for features like a comfortable grip or textured surface for easy handling. Some tape measures have additional features like built-in magnets or hanging loops for added convenience.
  • Brand and Price: Consider reputable brands known for producing reliable sewing tools. Compare prices within your budget range, keeping in mind that tape measures are generally affordable. However, investing in a higher quality tape measure can offer better durability and accuracy in the long run.

By considering these factors, you can select a sewing tape measure that suits your specific sewing needs, ensuring accurate measurements and a smooth sewing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What do you call a tape measure for sewing?

Sewing tapes are very flexible, and are sometimes referred to as tailor’s tape. They conform quite quickly to the shape of the body. They provide precise measurements, which are essential for the creation and modification of garments. They vary in length from sixty to one hundred and twenty inches.

Is a sewing measuring tape in inches or centimeters?

The standard length of cloth sewing tape is sixty inches ( or 152 cm). However, there are also 120 inches long. For things like curtains, blankets, and other home decors, the one that is the longest in length is the finest sewing tape measure to use.

Are sewing measuring tapes accurate?

The use of flexible strips, such as those used in sewing tape measures, rather than a straight or stiff ruler allows for more precise measurement of curved lines.

Q: How do I read measurements on a sewing tape measure?

A: Reading measurements on a sewing tape measure is relatively straightforward. Look for the numbered markings on the tape measure. Each number represents a unit of measurement, such as inches or centimeters. Read the measurement at the point where the end of the fabric or object being measured aligns with the tape. Ensure you read the measurement accurately, taking into account any fractional or decimal values indicated on the tape measure.

Q: Can I use a regular tape measure instead of a sewing tape measure?

A: While you can technically use a regular tape measure for some sewing projects, it’s generally recommended to use a sewing-specific tape measure. Sewing tape measures are designed with sewing in mind, offering features like flexible materials, clear markings, and dual measurement units (inches and centimeters). They are also typically more compact and suitable for measuring fabric and garments accurately. Using a sewing tape measure ensures better accuracy and ease in sewing-related measurements.

Q: How do I keep my sewing tape measure from stretching?

A: To prevent your sewing tape measure from stretching, handle it carefully and avoid pulling it too tightly. When measuring, hold the tape measure firmly but not excessively tight against the fabric or object. Avoid yanking or snapping the tape measure, as this can cause it to stretch over time. Store the tape measure by winding it up gently and avoiding sharp bends or kinks, as these can also contribute to stretching.

Q: Can I wash my sewing tape measure?

A: It’s generally not recommended to wash a sewing tape measure. Most tape measures are not designed to withstand immersion in water or exposure to harsh detergents. If your tape measure becomes dirty or stained, gently wipe it clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Ensure it is completely dry before storing it to prevent any potential damage or rusting of metal components.

Q: How often should I replace my sewing tape measure?

A: The lifespan of a sewing tape measure depends on various factors, such as frequency of use and how well it is maintained. With regular use and proper care, a good-quality tape measure can last for several years. However, it’s a good idea to periodically check your tape measure for signs of wear, stretching, or damage. If you notice significant stretching, inaccurate measurements, or visible wear and tear, it may be time to replace it to ensure precise and reliable measurements.

Q: What are some common measurement increments found on a sewing tape measure?

A: Sewing tape measures typically have markings at regular intervals, commonly in increments of 1/8 inch or 1/16 inch (for imperial measurements) and 0.5 cm or 1 cm (for metric measurements). These smaller increments allow for more precise measurements and help achieve accurate sewing results.

Q: Can I use a sewing tape measure for measuring curved or irregular shapes?

A: Yes, sewing tape measures are flexible and can be used to measure curved or irregular shapes. Their pliable nature allows them to bend and conform to different contours, making them suitable for measuring curves, armholes, necklines, and other intricate areas in sewing projects.

Q: How do I measure body dimensions accurately with a sewing tape measure?

A: To measure body dimensions accurately with a sewing tape measure, follow these tips:
·       Make sure the tape measure lies flat against the body without twisting or pulling.
·       Keep a relaxed posture and ensure the person being measured is standing straight.
·       Take measurements at the fullest parts of the body, such as bust, waist, and hips.
·       Measure snugly but not tightly, ensuring the tape is in contact with the body without compressing the skin or clothing layers.
·       Read the measurement at eye level, avoiding parallax errors.
·       Take multiple measurements and cross-check to ensure accuracy.

Q: How do I convert between inches and centimeters on a sewing tape measure?

A: Converting between inches and centimeters on a sewing tape measure is relatively simple:
·       To convert inches to centimeters, multiply the inch measurement by 2.54 (1 inch = 2.54 centimeters).
·       To convert centimeters to inches, divide the centimeter measurement by 2.54.
·       For example, to convert 10 inches to centimeters, multiply 10 by 2.54 to get 25.4 centimeters. To convert 30 centimeters to inches, divide 30 by 2.54 to get 11.81 inches (rounded to two decimal places).

Q: Are there any special tape measures available for specific sewing purposes?

A: Yes, there are specialized tape measures designed for specific sewing purposes. For instance:
·       Seamstress’ or tailor’s tape measures: These are flexible, narrow tape measures with a wider range of length, suitable for precise measurements in garment construction and alterations.
·       Quilter’s tape measures: These tape measures often have larger, easy-to-read markings and longer lengths to accommodate measuring fabric pieces for quilting projects.
·       Pattern drafting rulers: While not tape measures per se, pattern drafting rulers are handy tools for creating patterns and often have built-in measuring scales and grids for precise measurements.

How do you read tailors tape?


The sewing tape measure is a vital tool in every sewist’s arsenal, offering precise measurements and ensuring accuracy in sewing projects. Its flexible and retractable design, along with clear and easy-to-read markings, makes it an indispensable companion in the sewing room.

From measuring fabric lengths and taking body measurements to pattern alterations and finishing details, the sewing tape measure proves its versatility across various sewing applications. Its portable nature allows for on-the-go measuring, making it a reliable tool for sewing classes or workshops.

While a regular tape measure can serve some purposes, investing in a sewing-specific tape measure is recommended for optimal accuracy and ease of use. The dedicated features of a sewing tape measure, such as dual-sided measurements, durability, and flexibility, enhance its functionality for sewing-related tasks.

By understanding how to read measurements, prevent stretching, and maintain the tape measure, you can maximize its lifespan and reliability. Regularly assessing the condition of your tape measure ensures that you have an accurate tool by your side throughout your sewing journey.

In conclusion, the sewing tape measure is a fundamental tool that empowers sewists to achieve precise measurements, leading to well-fitted garments, beautifully crafted home decor, and successful sewing endeavors. Its role as a trusty measuring companion makes it an indispensable part of the sewing process, allowing creativity and precision to flourish.

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Samuel Carter

This is Samuel Carter. I have been online product reviewing for the last 7 years and owns many product samples from different companies. I love online product reviewing and reviewing is my hobby. I know, choosing a product is very difficult for newbies and that is why I have created this blog to help the newbies. I think might be useful for you. Thanks - Carter

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