When it comes to sewing tape measures, not all are created equal. You’re likely on the hunt for a true tape that is malleable, as opposed to the more inflexible workshop rolls; seek a style that measures both inches as well as centimeters; and, perhaps, are on the hunt for a style that is anywhere between a loose tape, automatic retractor, or something in between. For all that and more, check out the below five sewing tape measures, all ARTnews approved.
1. Singer Retractable Tape Measure
Singer is the go-to brand when it comes to everything sewing related, having more than 170 years of experience under its belt. That said, it’s a sure bet that their retractable pocket tape measure is a reliable product when you’re looking for something simple, easy, and to the point. This bright red circular casing houses a 60-inch retractable tape measure that extends and locks and then is easily retracted with the push of the center plastic button. In a bright red hue, it will stand out among your sewing kit, ensuring that it won’t be easily lost or misplaced.
2. Dritz Quilter's Flip Tape Measure
When it comes to teaching sewing, whether to children or to adults (and beginners going it alone, as well!), sometimes the basics are just what you need. This tape measures 120 inches in total and is ready to use starting from either end. Simply flip and use! One side measures inches, while the other includes inches and centimeters together. Though this particular tape measure is 120 inches long, the brand also produces a nearly identical product in a smaller 60-inch length as well as a longer 288 inches.
3. Simplicity Vintage Soft Tape Measure for Sewing
This tape measure offers a classic 60-inch length, which retracts into a pocked-sized disc for easy transport and storage. This one, however, has the added whimsicality of a vintage print on the front of the housing: a woman in a gingham dress evoking the air of an era in the height of tailoring. Each tape roll measures 2.12 inches in diameter.
4. Z Store 120-Inch Tape Measure
This tape measure extends a total of 120 inches and retracts safely and simply into a black leather round casing with just the squeeze of the disc’s interior. When pulled out, however, there is a self-locking mechanism that allows the tape to remain extended while in use. The tape itself is narrow, which is great for small spaces (and for storing in your pocket!), measuring only three millimeters wide. It is ideal for tailors, artists, and the like, due to its easily transportable nature, while still remaining nondescript and chic, clad in black leather.
5. Colonial Needle 14-Feet LongArm Centering Tape
The standout feature of this sewing tape measure are the guides that come with it as well as the secure technology that keeps your hands free when measuring. This pink tape measure reaches 14 feet long and is fiberglass reinforced, to ensure accurate measuring. On the long tape measure, however, are bright pink guides that slide along its length to mark necessary measurements on the fabric below at the same time (and without actually marking the fabric itself!). What’s more, the kit comes complete with two sets of hook-and-loop strips as well as two binder clips, so that you can secure the tape over your entire workspace, leaving you completely hands-free as you work.