An important part of sewing has little to do with sewing itself. In order to get the best possible fit, you will need to take your measurements. If you live with someone with whom you feel comfortable getting to a certain level of undressed and sharing your numbers, that’s great! Having a friend or partner for the measuring part is really helpful in allowing you to work with the measuring tape without having to twist and turn to try to see your numbers.
But what happens when you have to measure solo? Self-measuring can be tough. Getting the tape to the right place and keeping it there while you try to peek at the number can be a challenge. While self-measuring in front of a mirror can be a solution, there are three ways you can self-measure in a more comfortable and accurate manner.
1. Twine and a Measuring Tape
Why twine (or twill tape, or even dental floss!)? I find that measuring tapes can twist around the body, leading to incorrect measurements. A piece of twine is much easier to hold and maneuver around the body. All you have to do is wrap the twine around the body part you are measuring, mark the point with your finger, and then measure the length of the twine with a measuring tape.
This is the simplest and most affordable way I have found to self-measure—and how I used to do it before I found a self-measuring tape.
2. Self-Measuring Tape
This is a retractable measuring tape with a twist. With this one, you wrap the tape around the body part you want to measure, stick the end of the tape into a groove on the opposite side of the device, and push a button to get the tape to retract. Once it is snug (but not too tight!) around the body, you can place your finger on the tape to mark the correct measurement.
If you want better measurements without breaking the bank, a self-measuring tape is the perfect option. You can get one for as cheap as $6.00 (plus tax and shipping) from Amazon.
3. Smart Self-Measuring Tape (Renpho)
I love gadgets, so when I learned about a smart self-measuring tape, I knew I had to have it! This one works exactly like its non-digital counterpart, but the measurements appear on the digital display. You can go one step further and download the Renpho app, and the app will save your measurements for you.
I will admit, this might be too much measuring tape for some people. I really enjoy that my measurements are very precise, and I don’t have to write them down because I use the app. I will disclose that when I bought this tape, I also wanted to use it to track my progress at the gym. Still, I cannot deny that it is the best method to self-measure for sewing that I have found. It is not cheap, though—it is $59.99, but Amazon has it on sale for 50% off, plus a $5.00 coupon.
One Word on Taking Your Measurements
Having to measure yourself might stir up body image issues. It did for me. I used to try to get the tape very tight against my body to get a measurement I found more acceptable. I struggled with body image issues for a very long time, and I still do from time to time. If measuring yourself makes you feel anxious or bad, just know that these numbers are there so that you can sew clothes that fit YOU.
And though I cannot speak for others, I can tell you that having clothes that fit me, no matter the numbers, has been a game changer when it comes to loving my body. There is no way to feel good in ill-fitting clothes. When I wear something that makes me feel good, I am happy—and happy looks good on me.
Let me know in the comments if you have another method to self-measure. I’m always curious to know how other sewists solve sewing-related problems.