I managed to get my hands on some sewing books recently, one of which is

Now I actually haven’t gotten very far into it because I am still reeling from this tip in the Sewing Equipment section
How did I not know that my tape measure was standard seam allowance width? (And yes, I did measure it to check). I know I’m just getting back into this sewing lark but surely I should have  remembered this (if I ever knew it).
Am I the only one that didn’t know this? Is this the best kept secret in the sewiverse or am I just woefully ignorant? What else don’t I know? (that apparently everyone else does) 
Did you realise/learn/discover something and think “How did I not know that?” Please save me from further embarrassment needless difficulties by sharing your sewiverse secrets in the comments below.
Thanks very much.


  1. Reply

    Yes I remember this pointer, I cant remember how I came to know it maybe from a sewing class in the 90s. I seem to be able to recognise 5/8″ by eye now, which is just a bit less than the width of my thumb nail that holds the fabric while I tack, it works for me anyway.

  2. Reply

    Huh, I didn't know either. I think mine is non-standard and skinnier so I may have to go shopping! This would be really helpful, all the cool pattterns come without seam allowances.

  3. Reply

    Now I'll look at my thumb in a whole new light:) Seriously, I will actually take the time to look closely as obviously that is a convenient measure.

  4. Reply

    Just had a quick peek at your blog and am so gratified that an amazing sewist like yourself didn't know either – makes me feel better:)

    Seriously though, you are right it is really helpful. Happy tape measure shopping.

  5. Reply

    Don't you just love helpful tips like this! Another little piece in the sewing puzzle solved. I am now off to actually measure my tape measures … J

  6. Reply

    I agree – if only there weren't quite so many pieces of the puzzle still to be solved! But I guess that's all part of the fun.

  7. Reply

    Light bulb moment! I did not know the tape measure trick.

    I also use my thumb nail as a rough guide. And the top joint as a hem allowance guide.

    I need a new tape measure, definitely getting a proper standard one now!

  8. Reply

    Hmm, like Judith, I will go and measure my tape measure as well. I didn't know this bit of sewing information. Could come in useful….I don't use my joints as a guide – I always measure 🙂

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