our everyday life

How to Measure Yourself Without a Tape Measure

by Lisa S. Kramer

Taking accurate measurements of your body is essential when you're making and altering garments, shopping for clothes online or tracking your progress on a fitness and diet regime. While using a tape measure is typically the easiest way to measure yourself, it is not the only way to take your measurements. If you don't have a tape measure, you can measure yourself using a piece of string and a ruler, yardstick, dollar bill or even your own hand.

Pull taut a long piece of string, yarn or even dental floss as you wrap it around the part of your body that you wish to measure -- for example, your waist or hips.

Grasp the string where the string crosses over itself using the thumb and pointer finger of your non-dominant hand. Mark this point on the string using a marker.

Hold a yardstick or ruler against the length of the string and measure from the beginning of the string to the point you marked.

Use a dollar bill to approximate the measurement of your string if you don't have a ruler or yardstick. A flat dollar bill measures 6 1/4 inches long. Folded in half it is 3 1/8 inches long. If you fold it in half again, it is almost 1 1/4 inches long. Knowing these measurements, you can place your dollar bill on your piece of string and then measure it in increments.

Use your hand to approximate the measurement of your string if you don't have a dollar bill, yardstick or ruler. When your hand is spread wide, the distance between the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky is approximately 9 inches and the distance between the tip of your thumb and the tip of your middle finger is approximately 6 inches. Also, the first joint on your index finger is approximately 1 inch long. Knowing these measurements, you can place your hand or index finger on your piece of string and then measure it in increments. Remember that measurements can change if a person is particularly tall or small, so check the measurements on your hands first to be sure of these lengths.

Items you will need
  • Long piece of string, yarn or dental floss
  • Marker
  • Ruler or yardstick
  • Dollar bill

Tip

  • For the most accurate measurements, remove your clothing before measuring your body.

About the Author

Lisa S. Kramer is a licensed attorney practicing civil litigation and estates and trusts law in southern Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude. Kramer earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images