Remember how scary it was to raise your hand in school and ask what you feared would be a “stupid” question? Hopefully we’ve moved beyond that childhood fear. Questions are great because they lead to answers, and answers are meant to be shared. Today’s quick measuring tip came from a question in a visitor’s email. Someone needed help figuring out what all those tiny marks are on a standard tape measure. We deal in fractions every day and are forever measuring quarters and eighths and sixteenths and whatnot. It all seems second nature to us! But when we stepped back and looked at our trusty tape with the eyes of someone brand new to sewing, we saw this question was indeed quite valid… there are a lot of marks with no identification. We came up with three handy charts to help decipher those little black lines. Download them to keep handy at your sewing station as quick reference tools.
We found that the most common measuring tapes are either divided all the way down to sixteenths…
… or broken down by eighths.
There are two measuring charts below: one showing the eighth breakdown and another showing sixteenths. In addition, we show a simple conversion chart from inches to millimeters. Our conversion goes out to two decimals for accuracy. When rounded to the nearest whole millimeter, ¼” would be shown as 6mm.
Use the PDF download link below each image to print good quality copies for yourself and a set for a new sewing friend. Then remind him/her to always measure twice (or three or four times), then cut once.
This information is also part of our Cheat Card series. You may also want to print out the Yardage Conversion Cheat Cards, Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Card, Basic Shapes #1 Cheat Card: The Circle, Basic Shapes #2 Cheat Card: Common Straight Line Shapes, and Basic Shapes #3 Cheat Card: Common Angles. These five sets of cards are set-up on the same variety of backgrounds. Pick your favorite design and build a set, or cut them all out to share.
IF YOU’D PREFER TO HAVE JUST ONE PAGE WITH ALL SIX CARDS (we combined the measuring tape info into one card with both 1/8″ and 1/16″), WE OFFER THAT FOR JUST $1.99 IN OUR ETSY SHOP. CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO ETSY.