August 9, 2012

Tape Measure Madness

Do you buy a new tape measure from time to time? I was told to do so, because tape measures appear to stretch with time and use. Of course it's very important in sewing to take proper measurements with a reliable tape measure, and my actual tape measure was already quite old, so I went to my local Bernina store to buy a new one. I didn't know before that there exist several qualities of tape measures, but when the saleswoman asked me if I wanted to have "a normal one, a good one or a very good one" I certainly asked her for the best!
The one she gave me then was an inconspicuous yellow one. But she told me that it will not stretch out at all and that it was calibrated (what ever that means for a tape measure).

Then I was curious about if my old tape measure had stretched out, and I decided to check that. (A little bit afraid that my hip circumference might be even more than I thought so far, with my stretched out tape measure.)

So, at home, I laid my two tape measures next to each other on the dining table.

The yellow one on the right side is the new, calibrated, non-stretchy one, and the one on the left side with alternating red-white-green colors is my old one.

I put the 1cm marks as the "starting points" next to each other.

Now see what it looked like at the 50cm marks (yellow: new tape measure; red-white: old tape measure):

And at the 100cm marks:

This is what the ends of the tapes looked like:

What happened? Did my old tape measure shrink instead of stretching out? Or can the companies who produce those tapes just print an estimated measuring scale onto their products? (That would make some sense to the calibration of certain measurement tapes, though.) I have to say that I'm quite surprised by this result. (On second thought, I'm also glad to know that my hip circumference is in fact smaller than I thought so far. Of course that will not make a whole size or something, neither change anything in my body proportions.)

Did you have a similar experience already? I want to encourage everybody who has several tape measures to compare them!

Other than that, I got another award!

I got it from Sonia of La pequna aprendiz, thank you Sonia! And I hand it on to KC of The Sewcratic Method, who always makes me laugh when I'm reading her blog posts! (I am quite glad that I can give her an award at all, as she seems to have all of them already - well deserved, of course!)


  1. Hi Marie., Thank-you for this interesting information about tape measures. I have often wondered if my 2 or 3 tape measures were accurate, so I am now going to put them to the test. Hopefully my hip and stomach measurements are smaller too but I somehow doubt it. I do enjoy your blogs and I particularly like the black dress you made recently. I made that 2 years ago in a patterned linen and the lovely details don't show at all. It is such a classic dress, so I may make it again but in a plain fabric like you did.I look forward to your next blog!! Bye from Brisbane, Australia.

  2. Hello Marie, I'm going to compare my two tape measures, it will be funny if my old one stretched out too.
    Is the first time I visit your blog and I will follow in future. I've seen that you are participating in "Cose conmigo de La pequeña aprendiz", I hope that all of us will finish our proyects i will be a succes.

  3. I noticed this with mine as well! I realised mine was too short when I compared it with a ruler I had...
    Naughty tape measure!
    I should get a better quality one too!


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