I’ve always used a cloth tape measure for crafts and sewing, but just recently I learned that these tapes are used for many different measurement purposes.
Cloth Tape Measures Are Favored by Sewing Enthusiasts
When I lay out a pattern on brand new fabric, I use my cloth tape measure to make sure that the pattern is laid out with the fabric grain. I measure to make sure that the pattern follows the grain because I don’t want it to look “off” or not straight when the garment is completed.
After all, if the little sailboats pattern on the fabric looks like they’re sailing downhill or off to the side of the garment, it doesn’t reflect well on my sewing skills!
That cloth tape measure is my tried and true friend, and I’ve had the same tape for decades now. The numbers are large and easy to read, and I can lay that tape down to get accurate measurements at any time during production.
You Can Get Cloth Tape Measures With Inches and/or Metric Figures
When I was new to sewing, cloth tape measures were available only with standard inches and feet measurements. Today, tapes are available with millimeters and centimeters as well, on the reverse of the tape.
This is handy because some skills require use of both standard and metric numbers.
Cloth tape measures are not made of cloth in general, although there are some still made of professional grade polyfiber fabric. Most today are made from Tyvek or fiberglass fabric for superior durability.
Some tapes designed and manufactured in Europe are still available in a sailcloth-type fabric that is covered with polyester or other protective coating.
What Uses Are There for Cloth Tape Measures?
Actually there are many uses for cloth tape measures, besides craft and sewing projects. These tapes are perfect for children to use since they are simply a long strip of fabric with no sharp edges.
Cloth tapes allow you to measure things lying on a table or other flat surface. Tailors and women’s lingerie typically use cloth tapes since they allow measurements to be taken of rounded or unique things.
For example, a cloth tape measure is used to take a woman’s bra size measurement. Men’s clothing fitters use these tapes to measure for tuxedos and suits since cloth tapes can measure waist size, neck size and more.
Taxidermists love cloth tape measures because they can measure their specimens in order to maintain proper size of the animal when working on preservation.
Health clubs and fitness centers will have cloth tape measures on hand in order to keep record of members’ loss of inches from exercise and dieting.
Wallpaper hangers will also use cloth tape measures to get accurate readings. A yardstick can be difficult to maneuver around a corner or curve, and the cloth tapes allow them to get very specific measurements when figuring the width of a sheet of wallpaper needed.
Surveyors use cloth tape measures in extra long lengths of as much as 300 feet or more to determine accurate measurements for buildings, property lines, roadways and more.
Cloth Tape Measures Are Typically About 5 Feet Long
Today’s typical cloth tape measures are available in measurements of about 5 feet long, although you can find some that are as much as 65 inches (5 foot 5 inches).
Longer tape measures are also available for specialty uses like measuring distances, such as a pasture, fence or driveway. These tapes can be as long as 300 feet or more. Others are available in 25 or 100 feet.
Traditional tape measures are basically a long strand that can be rolled up in a small case or simply wrapped up and tied with a rubber band.
Prices for Cloth Tape Measures
The old-fashioned cloth tape measure is still found at sewing and notion stores, and even your local discount store will have some ranging from about $1 to as much as $6.
Specialty tape measures will, of course, run more. A 75 foot tape will run about $15. 300 feet will cost about $30.
You can find cloth tape measures at any home improvement store, discount store or even online. If you’d like to custom-imprint some tapes for a wedding, anniversary or business event, you can find cloth tape measures available from specialty printing retailers, too, at very reasonable prices.