How to measure fabric. A ruler is a ribbon of cloth or a strip of wood, plastic, metal or other material, which has straight edges usually graduated in millimetres or inches. It is a common measuring tool used in geometry, printing industry, technical drawing and in quilting/patchwork projects and has three main purposes: to measure distances, straight lines and solid bodies; to mark and score a line on a surface with a rotary cutter; to help drawing accurate graphs, flexible geometric shapes and flat curves.
There are different types of rulers: standard slotted rulers, standard and flexible tape measures, rigid wooden or metallic folding carpenter’s rulers, self-retracting roll-up tape measures, line gauges, sewing gauges, straight-edges, etc.
Since the Paleolithic Era primitive human beings adopted measuring devices, according to incoming needs and rituals, mainly consisting of natural fibers, marked strips of leather or ivory sticks. Gilded bronze rulers dated 206 B.C. were discovered in China in the Hanzhong Prefecture (in the southwest of Shaanxi Province). In the 16th century wooden carpenter’s rulers and other measuring tools were found on board of the merchant carrack Mary Rose. Anton J. Ullrich invented the folding ruler in 1851. In 1922 Hiram A. Farrand started mass production of his rapid ruler. The spring tape measure existed since Alvin J. Fellows’ patent in 1868, but did not come into wide usage until the early 1900s, when carpenters began slowly adopting Farrand’s design as the one more commonly used. And which is the today design of all modern tape measures.