How to Measure Yourself Without a Measuring Tape

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

No matter what material you use, don't pull it too tight — it shouldn't pinch the skin.

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Whether you're altering clothes or starting an exercise program, accurate measurements make the job go better. However, a flexible plastic or cloth tape measure is not an item most of us having lying around in the junk drawer. Luckily, you can use other household items to take reliable measurements.

Stand in front of a mirror. This will help you maintain a natural posture while you measure yourself. To get accurate measurements, you need to keep your body relaxed — no sucking in that gut or flexing those biceps.

Take the string, yarn or long scarf. Wrap it around the part of your body you want to measure. For example, if you are measuring your upper arm, take the string, and starting with one end, gently wrap it around the widest part of your upper arm.

Put your finger at the point where the string crosses itself.

Measure the string from the place where your finger is until the end that you started with, using a yardstick, ruler or stiff tape measure.

If you don't have any means of measuring the scarf or string, download printable measuring tape. You'll have to cut out the sections and then tape or glue them together, but if you're gentle with this makeshift measuring tape, it should hold together well enough to do the job.


  • Take your time and check the position of the string in the mirror. Make sure the string follows your body closely — not too loose, not too tight.

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