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.

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE ABOVE TAPE MEASURE

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE ABOVE TAPE MEASURE


DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE INCHES TO MILLIMETERS CONVERSION CHART

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Monique
Monique
1 month ago

Thank you so much! This continues to be a challenge for me. I will study the chart to become more familiar with the measuring tape.
Thanks again☺

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Monique

Hi Monique – You’d be surprised how often we hear this. You are in good company 🙂 And, we’re happy to help you remember what all those little marks mean!

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