Monday, June 9, 2008

Tape measure pouch tutorial

In an effort to win "Domestic Goddess of the day" today I have cooked Roast capsicum soup, broccoli and cheese soup, cleaned the sewing room, made (and eaten) Florentine biscuits and just whizzed up a little tutorial. Before you all hate me too much, the crown is in no danger as I forgot my mothers birthday - yep, she even visited, nothing was said, completely forgot !!!
However I have made amends and the funny thing is ...she forgot too! (it must be genetic).
I made this little zippered tape measure pouch to hold my super sharp scissors that I take to work for the Craft-at-Work challenge and though they might be a fun thing for other people to have a go at.

To begin you will need:
  • Some light cotton to sew your tape measures to. It doesn't matter what it is.
  • Fabric for the lining
  • a zip
  • some little scraps for your zip ends
  • a hairdryer
  • Some coloured tape measures from your tape measure collection.

My fabric measures approx. 14 cm x 46 cms and I used a wool blend for the lining - it hides my hand stitching nicely as it has a bit of texture. I also switched zips after this photo. I Didn't really like the pink one.

Begin to create your tape measure fabric by setting your machine to zig zag with a reasonably close stitch size. You want this stitch to hold your tapes together. I also made sure to use a good quality thread and an old needle. I switched my machine to slow (down on the foot pedal usually). Then you simply set your tapes next to each other on your light cotton and sew them down while joining them together.

Keep going until you have covered your cotton piece. I am not too exact with the measurements, your last tape can be a bit over or under the fabric. I always make sure the last tape, that will be at the bottom of the pouch is a wider one that is reasonable thin. This will help later.

Now you can square up and chop your very long piece in half, giving you two sides.

This is when I usually cut out my lining - this way I know it fits exactly as I use these pieces as cutting guides.
OK, so now we are really almost there. The next bit is the zip so I want you to think good thoughts, give your machine a little pat and proceed.

Have a good look at the above photo - that is where we are heading. I promise it will make sense.

See those scraps on the end of my zip? They need to be long enough, when folded in half, to extend your zip length to be the same as your whole pouch . OK?

Your zip is shorter than your pouch but not too short or you will have a narrow opening that you can't put anything through. I aim for maybe an inch of tag at the end of my zip to bring it to that same length as the pouch.

Fold one of your little scraps in half and pin the folded edge to the end of the zip. You want it to cover the endy metal part..... just.
Then you can sew it in place just behind the metal endy part - where the pin is....... being careful not to run over the metal endy part or you'll break a needle.

See there is the little metal endy part peeking out. Don' panic - it will make sense

Now, at the top of your pouch (you decide), Just trim the fabric back a little, maybe a 1/4 inch.
This is so it won't show when you attach the tapes to the zip.

OK - small pause while you go back to the photo of it all laid out and see if it is beginning to make sense. (except of course your little tags will be sewn on by now).

Lets ignore all that and start the lining.

Lay out your tagged zip so it is upside down. Lay your lining piece over it and match up the raw edge of your lining with the edge of the zipper. In the above photo just imagine giving that red wool a little tug to fully cover the zip and then sew it in place. Your lining should be longer than your zip
You don't have to be very close to the zipper for this, as you will want to hide this line of stitching later. Repeat for the other lining piece.

Once you have done that step and flipped your lining back over itself away from the zip, this is what it will look like from the WRONG side (above).

(Don't get confused by the tabs on the end of the zip - always showing the right side of the fabric- remember we folded them in half.)

and this is what you will be looking at right way up. I was a little close to the zip on the upper seam there but I went back and unpicked it.

Seriously, that is all the hard stuff done with.
You can trim up your zipper tabs now so they are the same length as your lining and trim them so they are as wide as the zip.. I always just make mine huge and trim them later.

Now just lay your tape measure pieces in place along your zip. Pin them into place. Try and put the pins where you expect to stitch and that way you'll stitch right over the pin holes.
When you pin, remember to check the underside that the pins have also held the lining away from the zip.
This line of stitching not only attaches yout tape measure sides but also stitches your inner lining away from the zip.

Make sure your zip opens easily and LEAVE IT OPEN
Then take your lining pieces to one side and your tape pieces to the other.

Sew around your lining pieces right sides together. You only need to sew up to about 1 cm from the zip. Leave a generous sized opening in the bottom for turning.

Sew around the tape measure side as well.

Now all you have to do it pass the whole pouch through the OPEN zipper and out through the opening in the lining.

The best way to do this is to warm up the tape measures for a few seconds with the hair dryer - it makes them nice and soft and easy to turn, and it helps when you press out the corners too.

Don't forget to sew up the opening in your lining or yet another project will be only be "blog finished"
This is super easy and if you just muddle through the instructions it will become painfully clear how to do it and you'll wonder what on earth I was fluffing on about.


  1. Oh I love this! So beautiful AND practical...

  2. Brilliant as always Jodie! I just love the line about "Some coloured tape measures from your tape measure collection"!!!!!! I'm not sure if we all have as many "collected" as you!!! (although I'm now thinking I should amend that error immediately!)

    You are such a fun blogger Jodie - you are great!!!

  3. Fab tute Jodie and I now have an overwhelming urge to collect tape measures!!


  4. One can never have too many bags or purses OR TAPE MEASURES, I say! (I'm a closet tape measure collector, too!!). Great idea for a purse!!!

  5. Put that crown back on! Brilliant tutorial - I've never thought of tape measures that way before!

  6. Another excellent tute Jodie! What a great use for old tape measures - it looks so effective!

  7. Absolutely fantastic - it's going on my list of "Ric-Rac tutorial must-do's". Now I just need a tape measure collection (all of mine are pink).

  8. Fabulous tute! I especially like the hair dryer suggestion...
    It was my dad's birthday today too - I momentarily forgot but he kindly reminded me to say "happy birthday". I hope your mum had a great day and got to share some of the florentine biscuits!

  9. Fantastic Jodie, I am finally going to brave the "zipper thing" and have a go. With your instructions and you close by to guide me if I fall off the rails, I'm sure I will succeed. You are a terrific craft sharer!!

  10. Jodie, you are so clever!!!!

  11. what a great idea to use the tape measures on a zipper pouch! it is fabulous!!!

  12. WoW, So cute. Thank you for sharing that tutorial!!!!
    Saludos desde Barcelona

  13. Another wonderful and easy to follow tutorial-thanks for sharing-you are brill:)

  14. Great tutorial! And I'm totally jealous of your Domestic Goddess status (even if you did forget your mum's birthday - mum's are good at forgiving things like that). I'll feel like a domestic goddess if I just get the bathroom cleaned today...

  15. Great tutorial! just might inspire me to get out of this non-sewing funk I've fallen into!
    Now I'm off to find out what the heck a florentine biscuit is....

  16. OK if I had a tape measure collection I might think about this one! but it has a zipper and I have a phobia bout these things!!!

    I have those same scissors and they can be lethal to handbag linings! LOL

    thanks for the tutorial!


  17. Very cool bag! I am amazed at the things clever people like you think of. I have seen a bag like this made of a huge long zipper stitched round and round. I was astounded to observe a bit of selvedge in your bag - you didn't cut it off and save it???

  18. Great tutorial, but is there such a thing as "A tape measure collection?" I have two, not quite enough for this project.

  19. How cool! Will have to go hunting for tape measures and make one too!! Great Idea Domestic Godess! Cathyxx

  20. Wonderful tutorial. I just love your tape measures - great collection there. You are amazing, and totally deserve the Domestic Goddess and Tutorial Whiz Crown!

  21. wow..........what a great tutorial might use ric rac or ribbon as a bit low on tape measures at the moment.

  22. I'm with Lucy Locket, I don't have a collection of tape measures (actually its not often that I need one - I just tend to rebel against them and freestyle on sizes when it comes to my own work - i'll never make a quilter will I!

    This pouch is great btw. I'm bound to end up using the tape measures that you packaged my quilt in - maybe as a brooch though.


  23. I've never made one of these zippered pouches. Must do it some time - so have bookmarked your tutorial for the very purpose! Thanks for that - wonderful destructions (that's what we call 'instructions') x

  24. You have such great ideas Jodie! Very cute and sure to keep you inspired on your craft at work

  25. Great tutorial! I have a zipper phobia (that is the sewing them in anything part)!! I think you might have inspired me to give your pouch a try. It is so cute!

  26. It's great fun reading your tutorial, now if only I had so many different colored tape measures, I'd do your project in a jiffy!!!

    Thank you for your tutorial!!!

  27. Thanks for your comment Jodie! I was doubting my humour after I posted that!! I love the tape measure pouch, trouble is I'll have to go a buy some!

  28. great tutorial.....must have a go at this one on the weekend....

  29. Fantastic tutorial Jodie. Again. You are super-clever!

  30. I am still awarding you the crown. Love the scissors purse. So cute and loved the mini quilts you received in the last post. Lucky dog.

  31. Think me crazy but I never new tape measures came in so many gorgeous colors! A great tutorial. Thanks Jodie.

  32. Very cute idea!! Though I'm not sure I could cut up tape measures!!!

  33. What a great tutorial. THanks for taking all the time to do this. I know what work it is. I love women teaching women how to do things.

  34. Such a great idea - a very clear tutorial too ;-)

  35. How very cute. An amazing idea.

  36. You can make a pouch or you can buy one at Etsy from Miriam, a very crafty Portuguese girl that has been making these tape measure pouches for years ;)

  37. Love the pouch and the tutorial! I hope you will be making one for Mom as a belated birthday present?!

  38. You are an amazing woman what a great tutorial! I would love to have a go ... you use a teflon foot is that right?

  39. Bloody good job! Good on you for taking the time to take photos and write this! I know it takes time to do that - so thank you!

  40. thank you!!!
    i was searing for how to make something with measure tape!!!!
    this is perfect information!!!!

  41. Your pouch is so cute. I'm planning on taking a very basic sewing class. Maybe then I can conquer this pouch.

  42. I love this! Oh to have so many tape measures to choose from, like you did..

    I'll have to make one out of old fabric scraps, or something.

    Thanks for sharing!


  43. wow, i was intimidated looking at the picure of the finished project, but you did a great job explaining all the steps@ Great job, this should be fun to make!

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  46. Great pouch and great tutorial! Thanks!!

  47. I want to see your Tape measure pouch tutorial when you're finished, and if you have any input on the tutorial let me know. Good luck. i think you are the best teacher in tape measurement. thank you for your shearing post.

  48. WOW!!!
    What a wonderful idea!
    The bag ist marvelous!
    Very, very fine!

    Many thanks for this tutorial!


  49. I love it!!!!! Sadly, though, I have only found the yellow and white tape measures around me. I'd love to find some of those neat ones you used... especially that pink!!! Gotta love pink! LOL

  50. Love it! I agree with the others--love that pink! Where do you find all those tape measures? I think I'll start collecting!

    Linda in Oklahoma

  51. What a detailed tutorial for such a cool bag. As a quilt appraiser, measuring tapes are an essential tool of the trade so I think I'll have to make one of these. Thank you.

  52. It's an awesome idea! I just thought I'd give you a little tip for attaching the zipper, have you tried using washable glue? I use it all the time now, even on garments, this way you could position the zipper and you would not have the pin holes. What do you think?

  53. This is AWESOME!! Going to make one of these ASAP!!

  54. The hairdryer trick cracked me up. Yet another non-sewing item that will find its way into my work room never to emerge again! I absolutely love it. : )

  55. When I first saw this I thought, "that has to be fabric"! I have to gather some tape measures together and make one, I also have only seen yellow or pink tape measures. I really enjoyed your humourous style of writing, I felt like you were right there talking to me :)


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