Last week we looked at measuring seam allowances, but there are many other areas of sewing where we need to take measurements and there are a variety of tools available to make it a bit easier on us. As I’ve just added a few new ones to my arsenal, I thought I’d give you a wee tour.
Something that is common to both bag making and dress making is the concept of pressing a certain amount of fabric over, be it the seam allowance at the top of a bag with a drop in lining, or turning up the hem of a skirt. My absolute favourite tool when turning over straight edges is this Dritz Ezy-Hem tool (however much the name makes me wince!)
I’m not sure who Edna Bryte Bishop was, or what her clothing construction method was, but she was definitely onto something with this metal ruler that you can fold the fabric onto and press right on top of. As you can see above there are markings on both sides for commonly used measurements, both straight and slightly curved.
This next tool from Nancy’s Notions for Clover is a recent arrival, and can be used to measure turnovers where there isn’t a straight line, or even to measure something that’s already been turned over in a finished garment when making alterations. It can also be used, by dint of the wee clear circular bit at the bottom, to draw circles up to about 5 3/4″ in diameter (the supersize one goes up to nearly 11″)
Measuring Pivot Points
Sometimes we need to just sew up to a particular point and pivot rather than sewing right to the end of a seam, for example when binding a quilt, or when inserting the base of a bag, so this tool, also by Nancy’s Notions is perfect for finding a point on a corner. It also has a buttonhole measurer up to 1″:
Measuring Evenly Spaced Buttonholes, Pleats And Darts
It can be a bit of a pain to get a ruler long enough to measure a series of markings on a garment or bag, but this handy Seamfix tool uses a little simple engineering to allow you to measure a number of evenly spaced points at the same time (the photo shows it mostly collapsed, but it expands quite a long way). You can use the points or the buttonholes to help you mark what you’re trying to measure out:
Measuring Things To Cut Out:
Quilting rulers are not just for quilting (controversial thought, I know!) in fact my largest quilting rulers, the 15 1/2″ and 20 1/2″ Creative Grids square rulers are almost entirely used for bag making. Rulers don’t have to be straight though, I also have a rather handy curved corner ruler as well, also by Creative Grids (almost all my rulers are from Creative Grids since they have nice grippy little bottoms that don’t skite about the fabric) see item AC below.
Notions can be terribly useful to make up online shopping baskets to free shipping amounts, have a look there the next time you’re shopping either in store or online, it’s amazing the handy things you can find!
What are your favourite measuring tools?