Shape of a substrate directly influences the residual stress in thin film coatings. In this study, a method involving Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) was used to measure residual stress in a film deposited on a cylindrical surface. An FBG has a cylindrical surface and its Bragg wavelength shifts continuously when a film is being deposited on the sensor’s surface. Herein, we calculated the residual strain in the film from the wavelength shift of the Bragg grating by studying the transfer of the residual strain of the cylindrical film to the core of the optical fiber substrate during deposition. By employing the energy method, we derived expressions that related the strain in the core of fiber to the residual strain in single layer films, bilayer films, and multilayer cylindrical films. As an example, we demonstrated a detailed process for testing the stress and the strain distribution across a nickel (Ni) film electrodeposited on the surface of a nickel-phosphorus (Ni-P) alloy-coated optical fiber. The results indicated that the measured strain repeatability was less than 500 μɛ and the strain sensitivity was more than −2 × 10−3 pm/μɛ, when the thickness of the film was less than 5 μm. The negative sign on the strain sensitivity indicated that the tensile strain in the film produced compressive strain in the core of the optical fiber. The FBG sensor system has high test speed, and integrates measurement and signal transmission. This method provides an effective and convenient approach to measure stress in a film deposited on a cylindrical surface.