Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Take Body Measurements -- A Brush-up Course

It never hurts to brush up on taking body measurements from time to time.  If you are new to sewing, these are must-know skills for succesfull fitting.  Here are some tips to help taking body measurements and how to decide on what size of pattern to use.

To make accurate measurements, you will need…

• A buddy – someone to take your measurements for best accuracy. You will not be able to measure yourself accurately at all.

• Dressmaker’s tape measure. Invest in a nice one. Cloth tape measures stretch over time so avoid those.

• Piece of string big enough to go around your waist

• Paper to record measurements

• Pencil

Make sure to…

• Take off your shoes

• Wear only your undergarments. Measuring over clothing adds to the measurement.

• When measuring, the tape measure should be snug not tight

• Take your measurements often to allow for body changes

Main Measurements

• Bust

• Waist

• Hips

• Back Waist Length

• Height

Measure The Bust

• Measure over the fullest part of bust, high under arm, straight across back

• Make sure measuring tape needs to be horizontal with the floor

• Take this measurement again when you wear a bra other than your everyday bra. Bras stretch over time and support may not be the same from bra to bra. This will made a difference, trust me. If you are taking measurements to prepare for a special occasion dress/outfit, wear the bra you plan to wear with that outfit.

• Record the measurement

Find The Natural Waist

• Tie a string around your waist snuggly yet comfortable

• Bend to each side

• The string will move into your natural waist

• The string does not need to be horizontal to the floor

• Stand up straight

• Measure over the string exactly where it is

• Don’t hold your breath or pull tape too tight. This will give you too tight a measurement.

• Record this number

• Leave the string in place

Measure The Hips

• Measure the fullest part of low hip, not across the hip bones

• Stand straight with feet together

• Tape measure should be horizontal with the floor

• Measure snug not tight

• Record this number

Back Waist Length

• Measure from top of the prominent bone at base of neck to natural waistline (string)

• Stand straight, shoulders back and do not look down

Measure Height

• Shoes off

• Heels against wall

• Shoulders back

• Chin up

• Place mark on wall

• Measure from mark to floor


Pattern sizes are not the same as retail clothing sizes Don’t panic if the size number you measure to is not the same as off-the-rack clothing. Pattern size is just a starting point. Get correct body measurements, select the correct size and choose the pattern size with the measurements closest to your own.

• If your measurements fall between two sizes, choose the larger size

• For skirts, pants and shorts, choose size by the hip measurement for women

• For men, pants, shorts sizes are chosen by waist measurement

Sew Happy,

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