A FOOT in many cultures is based on the average feet of the population. A foot from Northern England was about 10 inches long, whereas a Roman foot was just over 11.5 inches. The Polish had the largest foot measuring 14 inches. The YARD began as the distance from nose to out stretched fingertip of King Henry I who ruled between 1100 and 1135. Those of us working regularly with fabric still use a similar length to roughly measure a piece of fabric. The work “yard” is derived from an Old English word meaning twig or straight branch.
(special thanks to R. I. Davis, our favorite tailor and a wealth of information.)