sewing measuring tape on a manequin

14 Common Measuring Tools For Sewing

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Last updated on November 8th, 2023 at 05:52 pm

If you like to sew, you must keep a list of your favorite measuring tools. These sewing measuring tools help to ensure that your seams are straight and your clothing is the right fit.

The following list contains some of the most common measuring tools for sewing.

common measuring tools for sewing

1. The Measuring Tape

The tape measure is the most common and one of the most used measuring tools in every tailor’s sewing kit. It is usually used for measuring the breast, waist, hips, and many other clothing parts.

The tape enables tailors to produce the ideal fit when measuring your body for any clothing design. A typical tape measure for sewing usually ranges from 60 inches (150 cm) to 120 inches (300 cm) long, with easily readable numerals clearly defined in inches and centimeters.

These measuring tapes are made from various materials, including vinyl, fiberglass, and cloth.

sewing measuring tape

2. The Clear Ruler

A clear plastic ruler is a must-have sewing measuring tool. It measures and marks fabric pieces, such as seams, quilting patterns, etc., without obscuring the design underneath.

The length can vary, but 12 inches (30 cm) or 18 inches (45 cm) suit dressmaking and pattern measuring. 

3. The Quilting Ruler

Quilted rulers are long straight rulers made of clear plastic and come in various sizes and shapes, including rulers, squares, and triangles with markings in inches. They are used to measure and mark quilting lines.

Also, you can use the quilting ruler to keep the fabric’s grain straight as you sew your pattern pieces onto it.

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4. The Yardstick or Meterstick

A yardstick or Meterstick is a long, straight ruler used to measure long distances, check hems and draw straight lines. Yardsticks are made of wood or metal material, just like the ruler has markings in both inches and centimeters.

5. Sewing or Seam Gauge

A sewing or seam gauge is a compact but helpful tool for measuring small distances. Examples of such tiny lengths included the spaces needed for buttonholes and buttonhole spacing, hemlines, tucks, and pleats.

Seam gauges are typically made of metal or plastic and are about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide. They have a straight edge with markings in both inches and centimeters and a sliding marker that can be moved along the border to mark specific measurements.

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6. The French Curve

A French curve is a curved ruler that measures and marks curved patterns, seams, and hems. It is made of plastic or metal material and has various curves. The French Curve can be used to make changes, additions to curved sections, or even just precise curved cutting lines.

7. The Flexible Curved Ruler

The flexible ruler is a very flexible, curved piece of sewing measuring technology. Every curved or straight line can be drawn using this tool. In addition, it curves into the desired shape to aid in precise measurement. This is a beneficial sewing measuring tool that, as a multi-tasking tool, will serve the same purposes as many other measuring tools for sewing.

A flexible curved ruler can create smooth, curved lines that are not easily achieved with a straight ruler or French Curve.

8. Tailor’s L Square

The tailor’s L square comprises two rulers of different lengths connected to form an L-shaped one with a short and long side. At their meeting place, they form a 90-degree right angle. It is beneficial for pattern measurement and reducing scaled measures of 1/2″, 1/4″, 1/8″, 1/10″, and 1/32″. 12 mm, 6 mm, 3 mm, 2 mm, and 1 mm.

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9. The Curve Runner

The curved runner is also known as the rolling ruler. It’s easy to use, and its small size makes it an efficient sewing measuring tool. It’s quick and precise because it’s made of clear acrylic plastic. The wheel lets you see through it and effectively measure curved and straight lines.

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10. The Adjustable Ruler

The adjustable ruler is a sewing ruler that can be altered to different lengths. It helps measure hems and seams that are curved. This type of ruler is commonly made of plastic material and measures in inches and centimeters.

11. The Stick-On Measuring Tape

The stick-on measuring tape is a sewing measuring tape that can be attached to your work surface during cutting. This measuring tool, usually made of plastic material, is most helpful in measuring long distances.

12. The Expandable Button Gauge

An expandable button gauge is a sewing tool used to measure buttonhole sizes and types. It is designed from a metal sheet that can be stretched to fit different spaces.

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13. The Ruler

The ruler is another popular and common tool used for measuring straight lines in clothing during the sewing process. Unlike the clear ruler, the ruler is not transparent. Unlike the flexible ruler, it is rigid and is used to measure small distances. It often contains markings in inches and centimeters and is made of plastic, metal, or wood.

14. The Hemline gauge

Another gauge for sewing is the Hemline gauge. It is a compact, portable tool used to measure hemlines. The Hemline gauge contains a sliding scale that can measure various hemline widths and is usually made of metal or plastic.


These are the common measuring tools for tailoring. For stress-free and effective cloth-making, you must use the best essential tools. They will help you get the best hems, the right size, and the fit for your sewing endeavors.

Also, ensure you take good care of them and use each tool for the proper purpose it was made for. Doing this will ensure that these common and most sewing measuring tools last longer.

sewing tape, thread, scissors

Frequently Asked Questions on Sewing Measuring Tools

How often should I change my measurement tools?

It is generally advised to replace your measurement tools every few years or sooner if they become damaged or inaccurate. For example, measuring tapes tend to slack over time and become faulty, so you should replace them after about six months of constant usage.

What are the tips for maintaining the condition of my measurement tools?

Here are some pointers for maintaining the condition of your measuring equipment:

  • Keep your measuring equipment secure and out of the path of heat and moisture.
  •  Be careful not to knock or drop your measurement tools.
  •  Regularly wash your measurement instruments in a mild soap and water solution.
  •  Avoid using solvents or abrasive cleansers on your measuring tools.
  •  Check your measuring equipment frequently for wear or damage.

How do I use a tape measure accurately?

To use a tape measure, extend it to the required length first. Then, when the tape measure touches the end of the clothing piece you are measuring, take a final reading of the measurement in inches or centimeters.

What are the drawbacks and demerits of using a tape measure?

Using a tape measure has some drawbacks. These disadvantages include the following:

  • Using a tape measure on curved surfaces can be challenging.
  •  Stretched-tight tape measures can be difficult to read for measurements.
  •  A tape measure must be used correctly to avoid becoming damaged.

How can I prevent the disadvantages of using a tape measure?

You can take a few steps to prevent the negatives of using a tape measure by doing the following:

  • Use a tape measure made for the job at hand.
  •  Use a precise tape measure.
  •  Use a sturdy tape measure to measure the area.
  •  While using a tape measure, exercise caution.

What are some common mistakes people make when using sewing measuring tools?

People frequently make the following errors while using sewing measuring tools:

  • Not using the right sewing measuring tool for the job or for what it is meant for.
  •  Using measuring tools carelessly.
  •  Using the sewing measuring tools without rinsing them after use.

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