Happy National Tape Measure Day

In researching what I wanted to write about this week I stumbled upon something I didn’t know. Did you know that New Haven, Connecticut, resident Alvin J. Fellows patented a “spring-clip tape measure” in 1868? Who knew?

Like me, you may have a cute version of this invention in your craft room or even a large metal version in your home improvement toolbox.

My favorite tape measure (“Tiger” by Sew Tasty) and pink measuring tape (by Dritz) with my favorite “tape measure” sewing projects (shown top to bottom: “Undercover Maker Mat” by Lilyella, “Snazzy Knitting Needle Case” by Melissa Burt, Block 19 of The Splendid Sampler 1 – “Measure twice, cut once

I agree with Senior Technical Editor Carol Fresia, from “Threads” Magazine, having the right tools and knowing how to use them are crucial to sustaining and enjoying your craft. But do I really need the four vinyl measuring tapes, a paper measuring tape and what about the tape I saved from a broken tape measure? Maybe not.

If you have a large collection of measuring tapes and retractable tape measures, make sure they are all in good condition – no cracks, shrinkage, tears or faded marks. For most figures, a 60″ measuring tape will do, but for home decor you will want to have the longer 120″ version. Having a tape that has Imperial (yards, feet, inches) and Metric systems, one on each side, also can be handy if you get patterns outside of the United States.

Having different colors makes it easier to see against different fabrics or find it quickly when you are in the throws of the creative process. But what I love about my favorite vinyl tape measure is that it is 5/8″ wide, which can be helpful if my seam gauge decides to run away or when hemming/marking large items.

My retractable tape measure is my traveling knitting buddy, always ready to lend me a hand (um, tail) when I need to check my progress on larger knits (sweaters, shawls, etc.). I never use it to measure a body (mechanism is too heavy) or knit gauge (too flexible and requires another type of measuring tool and subject for another day).

Do you have a favorite measuring tape/tape measure? Show me by posting a picture in the comments.

Until next time, happy stitching,


Below are links to more fun details on the inventions that really measures up:


By stitchingcoach

High school librarian by day, crafter for life. I'm an award winning embroider, quilter and knitter. I advise a high school sewing club as well as volunteer with Days for Girls. Students will find I'm passionate about all needle arts and want to pass that along to all generations and skill levels. Learning to sew, knit or hand embroider can be intimidating, but with the right support can become a lifelong hobby that provides joy to your life. Let me show you how to get started. I look forward to helping you exercise your creative side.

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