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June 6, 2015

Basting Tape aka Sticky Measuring Tape


From the website: "This stuff is used to stick pieces of cloth together and measure them so you don't have to use 15 pins and a wooden ruler. Our version is 17 feet long and has 1/8" and 1mm markings that repeat every 12". Tape is fairly tacky, reusable without leaving a residue, and measures 3/4" wide. From Singer®."

Perhaps a reader with experience using this sort of thing can expand and/or expound.


June 6, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink


Miss your words Joe, so I've gone back to enjoy the archives. Interesting to see how far we've come since the inception of boj 2 back in 2004. Nostalgic electronics aside, so much of your content is still relevant, thought provoking and touching. Thanks so much for all your hard work.

Posted by: tamra | Jun 16, 2015 11:07:44 PM

I learned to sew on a Necchi Elna. II haven’t tried sticky measuring tape. I can imagine uses for it, but I’d hesitate to use it to secure pieces for stitching.

In a simple seam, as for a straight skirt, mirror-image fabric pieces are laid face-to-face and stitched near the edge. There is no common surface on which to apply sticky tape, but then only a minimal number of pins are needed, maybe just three.

In more complex construction involving curves, gathers or corners, the pieces don’t lie in a plane and are being joined under stress. Tape which is “fairly tacky” will not suffice, nor may 15 pins. Gathered sleeves or a princess bodice can require dozens of pins placed several to an inch, or as Flautist says a series of basting stitches. Somehow I never think to baste, but now that Flautist has poked me I may remember.

If one fabric piece is sewn onto another in a flat application, it usually involves stitching close to the edge of the top piece. If sticky tape is used as basting it would obscure the area to be stitched as well as the fabric edge which serves as a stitching guide. Again, pins. This is why they come in boxes of 150.

I don’t know about using sticky tape to hold down the folded edge of a flat-felled seam. It would remain inside the enclosed seam, leaving it bulkier and more rigid. However, I’ve found pieces of tape-like material inside seams I’ve ripped open for alterations so maybe Mama Avogadro was onto something.

I’ve tried sewing through masking tape and it gums up the needle. Maybe this tape wouldn’t do that. I can imagine using it to lay out features needing positioned at regular intervals such as buttonholes, darts, pleats or tucks, much easier to manage than a wooden ruler or cloth tape which slips out of position. It might also be used to measure lengths or intervals along a curved edge, which is notoriously difficult with the existing technology.

I’ve used conventional measuring tape, wooden rulers and little paper guides I’ve made myself. I may add this tape to my goodie box. I’ve also used plain old Scotch tape (Amazon, 83 feet, $1.57), very useful for positioning buttons or tacking tiny pieces in place until the needle comes down. It’s not calibrated, but after decades of sewing my retinas have 1/8” markings.

I currently use an Elna 2000. Someday when I grow up I’m getting a Viking.

Sew fine.
Sew fine.
Sew fine, yeah!
My baby sew doggone fine!
Runnin’ that seam up and down that line,
Whoa-oh-oh-oh, yeah-eah-eah-eah,
Sew fine.

Posted by: Sew You Asked | Jun 14, 2015 11:20:17 AM

As I recall, my mother had a Necchi Supernova sewing machine. When she used tape like this she used the tape to hold the linings of jackets as she crafted French Fell seams that would never see the light of day once the structure was assembled on a dress maker's dummy. The tapes that she used were augmented by pins - and, both the basting and final stitches were made directly through the tape. As I recall, once she began the first straight stitching she removed pins as she fed the fabric through the machine. Once that first seam was completed she would fold the fabric at the seam and sew the second seam of the French Fell - leaving the tape in place until the job was done, and then she would pull on the tape that protruded from the folded seam, where it tore off cleanly leaving no sign of the tape that remained inside of the folded, double stitched, seam. I have some of her sewing materials (fly tying takes a tole on the family sewing supplies - and my father and I raided her threads 20" at a time) and my youngest sister has that sewing machine and the incredible table/desk it fits into. I'll ask her if she has any of this tape left.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 7, 2015 8:13:18 AM

(When I was in high school I made most of my clothes, on a 1955 Singer console machine built like a tank. Haven't sewed up a thing since then, so this expoundification might well be utterly obsolete or slap wrong.)

When you're constructing an item of clothing - a jacket, for instance - sometimes you have to position pieces of material, or facing, or interfacing, and sew them together with really long "basting" stitches to just hold everything in place so that the fabric will fit together and lie properly when the permanent stitching is done. And you have to pin everything together to do that. With this stuff, I reckon, you just use the tape and skip the tedious pinning.

Posted by: Flautist | Jun 6, 2015 8:56:01 AM

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