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Tips & Techniques > Measuring fabric in a pinch

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Posted by: jacalhoun
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Posted on: 10/15/05 9:24 PM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 7 people   
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I recently read that if you need to know the approximate yardage of fabric but don't have a tape measure handy, you can hold your fabric up to an exterior door. The book I read this in said a standard exterior door is 36" (1 yard, obviously). I just measured my door and it is 34", but I'd say that's a pretty good estimate for those of us who can't eyeball a yard.

Another method I use quite often: I'm completely dense and can't tell the difference between 45" and 60" widths. I'm 64" tall (5'4"), which means my armspan is 64". If I stretch the fabric nearly the width of my armspan, then it's 60" wide. If not, it's 45".

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5 Comments
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thaiyal said... (12/1/05 8:51 AM) Reply
This is a great idea. I checked my door. 36 inches! my height 60.XX inches!!! Arm span is also 60 inches! Pretty cool! :) Thanks for writing this tip! I can measure fabric yardage easily now.
Ghillie said... (10/25/05 5:00 AM) Reply
I think that door widths would depend a lot on which house, in which country you were in. I know that the distance from the tip of my nose to my outstretched finger tip is a yard if I am looking straight forward, and a metre if I turn my head away. If you practice a few times with a measuring tape this can become a surprisingly accurate method of measuring fabric.
DolphinDancer30 said... (10/17/05 1:16 PM) Reply
My Mother turned her head to the left & held her right arm out straight. She said the distance between the tip of your nose and the end of your thumb was one yard. For me, it is 36 inches.
inkyannie said... (10/16/05 0:55 AM) Reply
OK, I had to get the tape measure out and check this out. That arm span thing is pretty darn close. Jan, maybe your sis is broader across the shoulders than you are, hence the shorter arms. I'm sure that this technique is not precise but pretty darn close. Another method that has always proven to be pretty close for me is the nose tip to finget tip. With the head facing to the side, it should be about 36" from the tip of the nose to the tip of the fingers of the hand you are looking away from. Very interesting body mathematics or whatever you wanna call it. I like your method, jacalhoun. Thanks for this tip.
Jan B. said... (10/16/05 0:25 AM) Reply
I've never heard that one's arm span is the same as one's height. It seems that my sister definately has shorter arms than I do and yet we're the same height.
 
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