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sewing tip #2: using the floor as a measuring tool


Totally not kidding here. I have used this quirky method numerous times while out shopping for fabric. I’d say this tip is actually another ode to architecture school; using everyday objects around you to get an idea of scale.


If you have ever looked at a photograph of someone that was really difficult to gauge their height or maybe couldn’t figure out how big a painting was in the picture, it helps to try to pinpoint another object in the photo that you are very familiar with the typical dimensions of. This could be a standard mailbox or a bike, for example. By comparing what you do know alongside what you don’t, you get a real idea of how large or small the object in question is. That is scale.

Here’s a fabric related example. Have you shopped online for fabric and ever often noticed how many online retailers will photograph their printed fabrics with a coin set on top of them? This too is used to give you an idea of the scale of a fabric pattern they’re trying to sell. Sure, it’s hard to tell the size of a polka-dot print fabric you can’t see in person, but you know exactly how big a quarter is. Knowing this, you can make a pretty good guess how large or small those dots are. Still, it’s always a smart idea to order a swatch of fabric reasons beyond pattern size.

Anyway, I really want to talk about the floor (floor tiles, specifically) and the idea of using existing things around you to aid in measurement.

I don’t know about you, but I never think to bring a tape measure with me to the fabric store. Most of us wouldn’t, right? But sometimes I grab a fabric bolt that doesn’t appear to have much left on it and I’d really like to know how much yardage is remaining before I stand in that insanely long line to the cutting table. Other times I will grab a cute fabric wrapped on a ridiculously long, unlabeled cardboard tube…..but how long IS it though?!?

I’ll help you out.

Most large chain craft stores like JoAnn Fabric, Hobby Lobby, and others, have the same generic white-speckled floor tiles which are measured at 1’x1′ (or 12″x12″). A single yard of fabric is 36″ (inches) in length, which equals 3 of these white tiles. I’ve simply rolled out the fabric bolt above the floor just to get an idea of the yardage I need for a project. You may think this is silly, but it has saved me on a number of occasions at these stores.

Watch and learn, kids.


Amazed yet? Probably not. But my sewing project tip #3 still awaits!

Have a great rest of your week, friends.

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