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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 37 / Measuring

On Episode 37 of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock follow up with the Workroom Accountability and Mentoring Group (WAM), and assign the next task which is measuring.

You can listen to this episode of the podcast here: Episode 37: Measuring

The last WAM group assignment was to work on efficiency. The group had great results and ideas! From draperies and workroom layout to using the right tool for the job.

Leslie shared that she used dry erase cling film sheets. Wow! Who knew about that? Kate evaluated her workroom layout for less steps. Laurie practiced different methods for fabricating draperies and found that cutting and stacking all the materials first, saved time.

The next assignment: Measuring

Measuring is an important part of the job. You need measurements to know how to quote the yardage, to install and to fabricate. When you measure, you preplan where to place brackets and hardware.


Measuring your window is easy and essential to starting your project. You will need the following tools:

· Good quality, 25-foot metal tape measure (like the Stanley Powerlock or FatMax)

· Ladder or stepladder

· Pencil and paper

· Digital camera

· Cardboard if making templates for bay window angles

While measuring, make notes about the purpose, style and design of the finished window treatment.

Measure the window frame or opening across the width. If there is a wall, furniture of some other obstruction on the side, be sure to measure the area on each side of the window. Do you have room to extend the treatment on the left and right?

Measure the window frame or opening from the top and down the length to the sill, below the apron or frame and to the floor. What length is best for the style you have selected?

Measure above the window frame to the ceiling or crown molding.

Do you have space to raise the treatment above the window?

For inside-mounted treatments, measure inside the frame or opening across the width and length. Measure at several points and if the sizes differ, use the lesser measurement. Is there enough room inside for the style selected and how will it be mounted?

While measuring take time to pre-plan where the hardware will be installed. Are there obstructions like beams, cabinetry or alarm systems, speakers or heating vents?

Measure projections of the window frame and sill, and any existing window coverings like blinds or shutters. How much clearance will be needed for curtains or top treatments?

Your digital camera or iPad is an important tool. Print photos of your windows and add notes and measurements. You can make copies and sketch design ideas right on the photo or use an iPad and add measurements to the photo with a stylus, use a measuring app or voice recorded.

Take photos of crucial measurements that you want to remember like the small clearance on the window below.

Measuring large windows

Measuring large windows can be a challenge. It is very helpful to have another person to help you with this job. Professionals use laser-measuring devices and other tools specifically for tall and wide windows like the Euro measuring stick (photo below) which telescopes up to 197 inches (source Rowley Company). You can accomplish the job with a good, heavy-duty tape measure and some creativity!

Two story windows:

·Use a ladder for measuring. From the ladder measure from one point up, and then from this point down, passing the tape to your helper. Add the measurements together.

If there is a balcony or open stairway, you can often measure from a point on the wall that is similar such as crown molding, or framing. You can stand on the balcony and measure up to the ceiling.

Pre-plan how you will install your finished window treatments. If possible, allow space above when deciding on a finished length so that hardware can be adjusted on-site, and a perfect length isn’t necessary.

Hiring a professional, insured installer with the right tools and experience is money well spent!

Bay windows:

Measure each window individually as shown for a standard window plus measure the spaces between to each corner. Make a cardboard template of each angle. A protractor can also be used to determine the angles.

Overlapping strips of cardboard are butted together into the corners of the bay window and secured with staples or tape. Be sure to mark each template; angles can be different from one corner to the next.

Questions about measuring:

How do you charge for measuring?

Should you share your measurements with customers?

Do you offer scale drawings?

What type of measuring forms are best?

Additional research and information can be found on the Curtains and Soft Furnishings Resource Library:

Error Free Measuring webinar with Margie Nance

Circle Time broadcast recording on measuring with Linda Erlam (includes session handouts)

Basic Scale Drawing with Susan Woodcock (formerly Schurz)


Measuring for a Dust Ruffle video with Susan Woodcock

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