National Tape Measure Day

By - Hanna Perlstein Marcus
July 14, 2020

It seems absurd to celebrate National Tape Measure Day. I have noticed, however, when any electrician, carpet layer, plumber, window installer, carpenter, or other tradesperson does his or her work, the tape measure seems to be the most prominent tool in the arsenal of equipment.

Usually, it is the self-locking tape measure that can be stretched to the desired length and then locked and later contracted when the measuring is completed. The quick deftness with which the handyperson uses the tape measure is a sight to be admired.

As I write my next volume, the last of the “Sidonia” trilogy, I give special tribute to designers and dressmakers, who also make frequent use of a tape measure, although theirs is slightly different than that of the handyperson. My mother, Sidonia’s tape measure was a more flexible one, 60 inches in length with metal ends. Her tape measure was made of strong plastic with clear markings on both sides, starting at both ends. Her measurements of the same person often spanned a period of time so she could compare the changes required in the intended garment.

Essential measurements to note were waist circumference, bust size, hip width, sleeve length, upper arm length, back width, and the dreaded skirt length, leading to the inevitable argument about the number of inches from the floor to mark the hem. She liked it shorter. Measurements would then be taken during various intervals of the dressmaking process to ensure that all pieces fit perfectly. Her deftness with a tape measure was just as impressive as any handyperson.

Indeed, come to think of it, the tape measure is that ubiquitous piece of equipment that any person who works with their hands must learn to master. It is definitely deserving of its own day of recognition.

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