Tape Measure for Sewing

Will Tape Measure for Sewing Make It to Measure Your Growing Fashion Success?

Tape measure for sewing, unlike a ruler, is made of flexible cloth. Sewing practice calls for a nice, soft, and usually yellow or pink sewing tape.

Tape measure for sewing
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Tape measure for sewing and other tapes

Whether you currently indulge in sewing or not (if not yet, learn to sew with us), we bet you had a sewing tape at home as a youngster. You likely have it home now as well. Actually measure tape is one of the most useful sewing tools for any sewing enthusiast’s room.

Let’s see what the most common tape types seen in Home Depot are. 

Tape type


An extra tip

Cased tape measures

Usually seen in a garage as it serves a variety of building and craft purposes. This tape is 25-foot-long and:

    • is retractable, 
    • has a spring mechanism to recoil the blade,
    • is compact and portable; 

Cased tape measures are used by:

    1. home DIYers,
    2. contractors,
    3. woodworkers;

Open reel tape measure

This type of tape is long for measuring far distances and is usually used by surveyors. 

It has:

    • no spring mechanism to coil the blade, 
    • a hand-crank method to roll up the blade; 

You won’t use this one for your practice unless you’re sewing for an elephant or a giraffe. 

Diameter tape measure (D-tape) 

A diameter tape measure has an ultra-flexible blade (wraps around pipes and poles with ease).

This type of measure provides an accurate measurement using pi for measuring cylindrical objects.

Sewing tape measure

We use sewing tape for measuring clothing design and alterations. These tapes are ultra-flexible. It ensures they mold easily to the body.

They are also called tailor’s tape or a sewing tape measure. 

Their length ranges from 60 to 120 inches (152-304 cm). They can have both imperial measurement markings and metric measurement markings.

There are two central systems for measuring length. You can come across both of them on your sewing tape measure, so pay attention to choose the one that works best for you:

    1. The Imperial System of Measurements (yards, feet, and inches), and 
    2. The Metric System of Measurement (meters, centimeters, and millimeters);

We’ll get to reading measures in the following paragraphs.  

Mind that, in sewing, not only tape does the measuring job. Plenty of other sewing tools among sewing kit essentials take care of it as well. Yet, you never stick those to the body directly. 

Watch this YouTube video to review some of the other measuring options:

Tape measure for sewing―when it comes in handy

Enough to say, a tape measure for sewing is a necessity. A sewing kit without sewing tape is practically empty. 

What are its typical uses? (by Age Berry)

    • taking body measurements, 
    • measuring fabric, 
    • drafting patterns, 
    • measuring curves and corners,
    • laying out patterns on fabric, 
    • specifying the length of a garment, 
    • checking the size of hems,  
    • measuring curtains, quilts;

Sewing bias tape
Image source: Merylove Art on Unsplash

Tape measure for sewing―how to read it

Although reading measures from the tape measure for sewing is intuitive, it can escape our memory just as fast.

When our sewing project becomes serious, and we want to get there so hard, we may panic. 

How to sew bias tape
Image source: Pavel Danilyuk z Pexels

From the YouTube video by Sewing Workshop, you’ll apprehend how to read a measurement type for sewing:

Check also Age Berry for tips on:

    • how to read a tape measure in millimeters     
    • how to read a cloth sewing tape measure in inches
    • how to read a tape measure in 16ths (red bars, noting 16-inch intervals, stud markings).

Best sewing tape measure
Image source: cottonbro z Pexels

How to use a tape measure for sewing?

We must have arrived here! 

Knowing how to deal with a tape measure for sewing is one of the best sewing hacks one can master.

In the YouTube video below, two beautiful ladies thoroughly explain how to measure each part of the body:

Learning how to sew is a life-long enterprise. Some help with:

    • fitting, 
    • sewing fabric,
    • dressmaking, and 
    • sewing measurements 

will serve you at every stage of your sewing career.  

Reach out to Super Label Store also for other best sewing tips and tricks regarding, for example:

    1. sewing room ideas,
    2. how to sew lessons, from basics to advanced sewing techniques, and 
    3. different types of woven labels and other super products like: 

How to use tape measure for sewing
Image source: Huha Inc. on Unsplash

What’s so special about these labels?

First off, they are 100% custom, so each project is unique. 

Their quality is the highest. Configuring a new project on the Super Label Store couldn’t have been easier. 

An extra value of these custom woven labels comes with super low quantities that you can order. A humble home-based DIY enthusiast can order even a couple of labels for their use! It means that you don’t have to be a big company; more, you don’t even have to be a small brand. 

Clothing labels gift coupon

But let’s get to the point. How to measure circumference and length measurements for the body, legs, and arms?

Contrado, in the article “How to Measure Yourself Correctly From Head to Toe,” teaches us how to deal with:

    1. Waist
    2. Hips
    3. Chest, bust, rib
    4. Head

Whether you’re working on easy beginner sewing projects or want to tackle 35 intermediate sewing projects, a couple of tactics useful for effective measuring will come in handy:

    1. For starters, remember that for an accurate reading, you should generally measure against your bare skin. 
    2. Also, ensure the tape measure on the body is neither too tight nor too loose. 
    3. Make sure to take notes. Many numbers at once tend to escape from the memory pretty quickly.
    4. Another point that often goes wrong: Don’t cheat! You want to measure yourself accurately and not for the “best result.” Don’t breathe in when you’re taking measures of your waist. When measuring your hips, remember to go through the fullest part of your buttocks and not the slimmest. 
    5. If you measure yourself, you use the helping hand of a friend. Measuring is better in two; it gives you more control over the back parts that you’re not able to see even in the mirror. 
    6. When it comes to hats, they are better a little bigger than too snug. Their sizes usually come in small, medium, and large. If your measure is in-between range brackets, instead go up a size. 

Double sided sewing tape
Image source: Pavel Danilyuk z Pexels

Let’s break it all down in the table below:

Part of the body to measure

Preparation How to do it


The first thing to do is determine where 

    • hips start and waist ends, and  
    • waistline turns into rib cage;

Your waistline is halfway between the bottom of your ribs and your hips, above your belly button; at the narrowest point. If you bend to the side, it’s the crease that arises on one side.

Wrap the tape measure around your waist and read the number. 


Hip bones are easier to find than a waistline. Stand in front of a mirror with your feet together. Place the end of the tape measure on one of your hips. 

Pass the tape measure around your body, over your bum and your second hip, then back to the initial position. Ensure that the tape remains level all the way around, parallel to the floor. 

Read The Calculator Site to learn how to measure your hips well. 

Chest, bust, rib

Spot broadest parts of each of these body parts.

    1. Chest 

Measure from your armpits, all the way around your shoulder blades, and back to the starting point.

      2. Bust

Measure around the part which will go across both of your nipples. 

      3. Ribcage/underbust 

Measure high around the underneath of your breasts.


Place a tape measure for sewing a little above an ear.

Read Hats In The Belfry for more tips. 

Pass the tape across a forehead. Then go back to where you started.


Speaking about measuring chest:

Guys, go from your underarm around the broadest part of your chest, including your shoulder blades.

Gals, don’t measure on the bare skin when working on the chest, as the bra will make part of your future outfit (unless it won’t).

Binding tape sewing
Image source: SHVETS production z Pexels

Do you fancy this dose of extra knowledge? 

By now, you should be able to make it to the actual use of the tape measure for sewing.

How to choose the best sewing tape measure

What are some of the most crucial features to consider when selecting a tape measure?

Consider several factors mentioned by Home Depot and Age Berry. We’re tackling them down in the table below:


Description An extra tip


Typically, cloth sewing tape is 60 inches ( or 152 cm). Yet, there are also 100 inches long (254 cm) or longer 120” (304 cm). 

The longest one is the best sewing tape measure for stuff like curtains, quilts, and other home decors. 

Measurement markings

    • accurate, 
    • clear, and 
    • easy-to-read 

markings (number increments along a tape’s blade) will provide you with a happy ending to your fashion project. 

(Speaking about happiness, take a look at 10 reasons to start sewing clothes). 

Watch out for shrinkage and disappearing marks.

Be sure you’re familiar with the metric system used on the blade. 

Choose a cloth sewing tape which scales with zero beginning directly from the edge. Otherwise, you will need to check if the indent does not fall into a measurement all the time.

Blade material

It must be strong yet soft and flexible.

The material used for tape measure blades that we choose most often is fiberglass due to its:

    • high tensile strength, 
    • resistance to heat and abrasion, and
    • flexibility; 


    • twisted, 
    • stretched, and 
    • easily torn; 

Steer away from a rigid measuring tape. It won’t fit your body or a pattern and fabric, so you risk measurements being incorrect.

A two-sided tape measure (double-sided sewing tape) is considered the best sewing tape measure by many. Its scale starts with a unit 1 at both ends, so you don’t have to care about how you grab it. It ensures you don’t lose time searching for the right end to start measuring.

On Tape Measuring, you’ll find the most popular options of cloth sewing tape to buy. 

Tape measure
Image source: cottonbro z Pexels

Sewing bias tape and other sewing tapes

Besides tape measures for sewing, there are several other tape types in the industry. They’ll sooner or later come up on your sewing journey. 

We’re always here with a fair dose of sewing-related info, so let us continue this mission!

Sewing bias tape

We use bias tape to finish garment edges ​(for example, along necklines and armholes). 

It’s made from strips of bias-cut fabric. Its flexibility enables it to be sewn neatly around curves.

But it also has other uses, from button loops to high-contrast decorative elements.

Other popular names that you may come across?

    • seam tape sewing
    • binding tape sewing

Bias tape sewing
Image source: Craftsy

Read how to sew bias tape and use its full potential on Threads Magazine.

Also, watch the YouTube video “How to Make & Sew Bias Tape” below:

Which are the most common bias tape uses?

    1. Bindings
    2. Seam finishes
    3. Button loops
    4. Drawstrings
    5. Decorations

You can also learn “How-To-Sew: Preparing and Sewing Seam Tape” with Laura Tanzer Video Page

No sew hem tape

Hemming tape (also known as no sew hem tape) is a securing hem that works as a double-sided strip of webbing with a heat-activated adhesive.

It comes in rolls and is handy for any fashion emergency.

Check how to use hemming tape on Treasurie and watch a YouTube video:

Taping a curved hem
Image source: 3 Hours Past

FAQs on Tape Measure for Sewing

How long is a standard tape measure for sewing?

Typically standard tape measure for sewing measures around 60 inches or 150 centimeters in length. This length allows for accurate measurements of fabric, patterns, and garments commonly used in sewing projects.

Can I use a tape measure for sewing for other purposes?

While tape measures for sewing are primarily designed for measuring fabric and taking body measurements, but you can also use this for general measurement purposes in other areas, like home improvement projects, crafts, or any task that requires measuring lengths.

Can I wash or clean a tape measure for sewing?

Yes, you can wash or clean a tape measure for sewing. Most tape measures can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. If your tape measure becomes dirty or stained, gently wipe it with mild soap and water, then dry it thoroughly before using it again.

Avoid immersing the tape measure in water or using harsh chemicals, as they may damage the markings or the tape itself.

Are tape measures in inches, cm, or mm?

Sewing tape measures commonly have markings in both inches and centimeters on opposite sides. But most standard tapes measure uses inches and feet for measurement.

However, Some tape measures have markings in millimeters (mm) for more precise measurements.