Nancy Zieman Sewing Notions that Measure Up

We can all relate to the Russian proverb, Measure twice, cut once. The testimony to that saying is the number of measuring tools that I have scattered around my sewing studio. Some are very old—others much newer. A while back I gathered all those measuring tools to take an inventory on what I use. Here are my findings.

Tape Measure

I don’t feel dressed for the occasion—sewing or quilting—without a tape measure around my neck. Right now I have three hanging in my room. A girl can never have too many tape measures! Often the width of the tape measure is 5/8″ wide. That’s convenient for quickly checking seam widths.

5-in-1 Gauge

This handy upgrade from the traditional black 6″ gauge with a red sliding guide has a locking mechanism, keeping the sliding guide in place. I named it 5-in-1 Gauge since it also can serve as a small T-Square, compass, measure of 5/8″, and measure of 1/4″. I’ve demoed this tool in the video. Enjoy!

Seams Right

Designed the size of a credit card, it’s handy to hold (I’ve had lots of credit card experience!) and quick to check seam widths. I use Seams Right mostly when quilting. The 1/4″ measurement appendage certainly is handy.

Steel Tape Measure

The pink color keeps my husband from claiming this measuring gem. Like the measure he stores in the garage and can rarely find, the stiff tape locks in place and is my go-to measure when working on window treatments and other home dec projects.

Hem Gauge

One of the first notions that I ever purchased was the Hem Gauge. I was in college on a textile tour in North Carolina, touring the Scoville Notions company—later Scoville was purchased by Dritz. Having this tool was a heaven-send. This is not the original notion that I purchased, as that tool has since worn out. Regardless, I can’t press a hem without this product. The straight and curved edges are perfect for almost every hemming task.

Drapery Hem Gauge

Bigger is definitely better when it comes to hemming window treatments. Just one look and you can figure out why the drapery hem gauge is so handy.

Yardstick Compass

Team the screw-on pencil and point to a ruler or yardstick and you have a useful compass. I like the fact that after use, I can disassemble it for easy storage.

Retractable Tape Measure

I Love Sewing With Nancy Tape Measure


The retractable tape measure is generally in my handbag. It comes in handy for quick measuring while shopping. The second use is slightly unconventional. It can entertain my almost 4-year old granddaughter for about five minutes during a church service just like it did her daddy and uncle.

Domestic Hem Gauge

Found in my grandmother’s sewing machine, this prized measuring tool is kept in a safe place. I smile every time I look at it!

Nancy's GiveawayFor a chance to win a 5-in-1 Gauge, tell me about your favorite sewing notion.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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