Wednesday 21 December 2011

Going Round The Bend...

Measuring Wheel - Kawaguchi Packet

Nope - I don't mean I'm going mad (although, what with it being Christmas it is turning into silly season trying to get all the festive chores completed in time for family trips etc. hohoho!).

I mean measuring round bends and curves! Following on from my last post about rulers that don't measure up I thought I'd mention where I bought my lovely measuring wheel from :)

I first encountered this particular product when Yoshimi held a giveaway (at the end of 2010 / beginning of January 2011 - I'm not sure of the exact date as the blog post is no longer there LOL), and I became a little obsessed with getting my hands on this lovely Japanese sewing gadget! (The lovely Melissa won that giveaway and her happy reports of using it only made my desire to purchase this notion even greater.) So I finally succumbed, and bought it this summer.

Basically, this small white plastic wheel has markings all around it's circumference from 0 - 20 cm, with fractional increments at every mm too. It's a revolving, rotary measuring tool that allows you to easily (and in my opinion) pretty accurately measure around curves 'n' bends - so perfect when you need to check the size of armholes (armscyes) and necklines etc. A great addition to my ever growing arsenal of pattern cutting tools!

Measuring Wheel (20cm Side)

One one side it's labelled 1   and is labelled 0-75 for 80 actual divisions, but I don't use that 
                                  4  side (I think it's to do with ¼ scale-drawings perhaps? Dunno!).

Measuring Wheel (Scaled Side)

It works in the same way that a 'trundle wheel', or a 'surveyor's measuring wheel' - which are used to measure distance (you might of seen your local council workers using them on the roads, and pavements of your home town sometime).

To use it...
You simply line up the 0-mark of the wheel carefully against the start of where you want to measure from.
Then, you roll or turn the wheel forwards and away from you.
Stop, at the point/end you decide - and make a note of the number on the wheel touching the end-point.
NB: If you are measuring a line longer than 20cm (which is the length of 1 full rotation of the wheel, i.e. it's circumference is 20cm), then just keep a note of how many times the 0-mark whizzes past. If it goes past 3-times, and the end-point of your curved line finishes on say 5.3cm against the marks on the measuring wheel, then the distance is:

(3 x 20cm) + 5.3cm = 65.3cm... s'easy!

Where to buy...
I got mine from a Japanese shopping site called Rakuten (apparently they are Japan's largest online retail marketplace) - it's a bit like Amazon marketplace, with lots of different stores selling stuff through them! Luckily, there is an English language version of their site (all my links below are in English - except where stated).

Manufactured by Kawaguchi
Manufacturer's Item 05-640  (商品番号 = Item 05-640)
Japanense name for the item is: マールサシ (Google translates this as 'Marusashi').
Seller / Store Name: Sanoya (あっと クラフト)
Link to Sanoya's Item/Product Page: Product Page
Price: *JPY 770 (*price I paid exc. Tax, and exc. Shipping)
Tax:  I bought 2 of the measuring wheels (so I have a spare one in case one broke - I thought it'd save me shipping/time in the long run) and my Tax for the 2x was JPY 76
Shipping Costs: JPY 180 (which was for 2 wheels) to the UK.
NB: To search for other stores selling this same item cut and paste マールサシ into the search box (or click here which gives you 2-stores). For more sellers in Japanese language only click here (for the Google translation here).

So, in total I paid for 2 wheels JPY 1,796 (approx. £15.00 GBP).
By my rough calculations, if you only wanted x1 wheel you'd be looking at (worse case scenario) around £9.00 GBP no more.

I use the XE Personal Currency Assistant to work out how much approximately items purchased from overseas will cost me.

But, you can ask questions of the sellers via the Rakuten site to check what your total costs might be, and here's their page on Delivery and Shipping Rates.

Rakuten also have sites aimed at other shopper's home countries wishing to buy from them in Japan: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and France.

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I decided to compare my lovely measuring wheel with 2 other methods I'd used in the past - dressmakers tape measure (on it's edge), and a flexible curved ruler. I drew a curved line onto some paper marked start and end points. The wheel gave me 12.25cm, the yellow tape measure 12.4cm, and the flexible ruler 12.15cm. Pics below:

Curved line on paper Measuring using flexible tape measure

Measuring using a flexible curved ruler Using the measuring wheel
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Alternative Wheels?...
I originally tried to find something similar to this tool in the UK (as I thought international shipping would cost too much).

Morplan sell a Curve Measurer (Product Code: 43895, £13.95 GBP + VAT and Delivery).
Image Source:

And, there are also 'Map Measures' (sometimes called Planimeters - although that can mean a very different type of measuring tool too) used to measure in scale distances shown in miles, kilometres and nautical miles - so I would've had to fiddle around with maths, and would've mucked it up no end I expect!

Image Source: (shown is a Gelert model)

Or, there's even a pricey model by Alvin (Alvin 1111 2-Face Map Measure, Curve Measure, Plan Measure).

Frankly, they look way more complicated than the lovely simple Japanese tool - don't they ?


  1. Ah ha! So that's why I couldn't find that post every time I went back to try and find this little measuring doo-dad! I guess I could have just asked Yoshimi, but I didn't. Thanks for the links! And for the name of the doo-dad, so that I can shop around! :-)

  2. I actually have the tool on the last picture. I bought it from Germany ( some fancy tailoring supplie site ), but it is not precise enough for me and I don't know how to calibrate it :(

  3. Interesting that you get different results with different tools! But would it matter much as long as each one is self-consistent? I'm curious as to which gadget produces the smallest range of measurements...probably the ex-scientist coming out!

  4. @countrygirlcouture
    You're most welcome!


    LOL Catherine @ ex-scientist (I have BSc Hons in Applied Biology ;) )... do you mean which tool can measure the smallest increments. Or, perhaps which one is more 'precise' which is of course different to being 'accurate' - I think the wheel will turn out to be very reliable for me, as unlike a dressmaker's tape measure it won't stretch/disport over time + I can very carefully follow the exact path of a curved line - provided I move slowly and do not veer off course!
    Lena, re: calibrating the Gelert Map Measurer - I found their contact details/email on this page, perhaps they can advise you how to do this?

  5. Thanks for these tips and links. I have been meaning to get one at some point


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