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Unraveling the Tale of Tape Measures

Unraveling the Tale of Tape Measures

In the enchanting realm of quilting, where creativity and precision unite, a humble hero emerges from the fabric kingdom. It's the unsung champion that helps quilters measure, cut, and stitch their way to magnificent works of art—the tape measure. A notion so worthy, it even has its own day: July 14 is National Tape Measure Day and we’re celebrating it at Birdsong Quilting.  

The origins of the tape measure can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where people used various methods to measure distances. However, it was not until the early 19th century that the modern tape measure, as we know it today, was invented. The introduction of spring steel in the mid-1800s revolutionized the design, allowing for flexible and retractable tapes.

(Patent Image: 1868: Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut, receives a patent for a spring-click tape measure.)

Types of Tape Measures

Tape measures come in different forms to suit various needs. The most common type is the flexible, retractable tape measure, typically made of durable fabric or metal. These tape measures feature clear markings in both metric and imperial systems, enabling accurate measurements.

Tape Measures in Quilting and Sewing

Quilters and sewists understand the significance of precise measurements in their craft. Tape measures play an essential role in ensuring accurate cutting, piecing, and fitting of fabric. Quilters often use long tape measures to measure and mark quilting designs on large quilt tops. Sewists rely on tape measures to take body measurements for garment construction, ensuring a perfect fit. The flexibility and portability of tape measures make them indispensable tools in these creative endeavors.


From its humble beginnings as a coiled ribbon to the modern marvels we embrace today, tape measures have revolutionized the way quilters and sewists measure, cut, and create. Birdsong Quilting carries cutting tools, mats, rulers and tape measures to help you embark on your quilting journey. Remember to embrace the tape measure as an ally and measure twice! 

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