Though there are a large range of brands and sizes of tape measures on the market, three basic types exist: tailor or sewing tapes, steel-blade retractable tapes and reel tapes. Most sold in the United States bear markings in U.S. measuring units, such as feet or inches. Metric measuring tapes are available, as are tapes with both units of measurement.
Tailor or Sewing Tapes - Used by professional tailors and sewing hobbyists alike, these flexible cloth, fiberglass or plastic tape measures are used to measure the fabric and a person's body dimensions for making or altering clothes. Lengths generally range from 60 inches to 120 inches.