Retractable tape measures come in a variety of sizes, Round ones are the easiest to cover and the ones I can get at present are small, (4cm) although they come with a key ring and chain this is easily removed. This small size is ideal addition to a set of needlework accessories and specially tucking in a husif..
For many years the ones I decorated with a small embroidery either a every small cross stitch motif or bullion stitch roses were like the one I put in Rachel's hussif with a covered cardboard circle glues on the top
Then I saw in a magazine how to cover the tape measure and the first one I did to try out the instructions just had a piece of fabric decorated with beads and a few stitches on top ( photo below) from there the idea grew . Although the idea is NOT my own I have adapted it to suit what I like.
Things to Note-
The size of your Tape measure and what fabric you chose to stitch on will dictate the size of the design you can use. It is a good idea to cut a circle of card slightly smaller than the top of your tape measure and this will be your guide, also do not bring your design right out to the edge or it will be covered with the braid trim. My preferred linen is a fine 40 count which does allow me plenty of stitching space and the finer linen is not too bulky when turned in round the edges.
You will need a circle of good quality felt for the cover, avoid felt that is too thin as it will pull apart when you lace it across the top. The circle will need to be just big enough to cover bottom, sides and come just on to the top, make a template and check for size. The V niche is better to be a little small as size can be adjusted. Here is what is needed for the project
First attach a bead, charm or tassel to the end of the tape measure, use a strong thread, a quilting thread is ideal, It will be necessary to remove and replace what is on the end of the tape measure, a clothes peg is excellent for making sure you do not lose the tape inside the case while you are working. Stitch through the bead at least twice to make sure it is firmly attached then knot together the ends of your thread . use your needle to pull on one end of the thread taking the knot inside the bead before clipping the ends off.
Now to cover the tape measure using the strong thread or a double thread, stitch a running stitch around the edge of your felt and draw up over the tape measure Make sure the button for retracting the tape is on the bottom, then lace it to draw in the fabric and hold it firmly in place. Gather and lace your embroidery round the small piece of cardboard and attach it to the top of the tape measure with a slip stitch.
Finish by gluing a pretty braid round the edge to hide your stitched. Note the embroidery on the top of my tape measure is a little larger than I would prefer but was stitched for a different size tape measure which I can no longer buy and I hate to waste it !! so I have used a very thin braid to finish
I have a selection of braids that I can use as shown here.
Enjoy making these for yourself and as gifts for friends.