Friday, May 20, 2011

Measuring Yourself Correctly

I am so excited that there was such a great response!!! I hope it is okay but I have gone ahead and made a pattern for the "Toe The Line" dress. I will be sharing it as soon as I finish using pieces of it for the "create a digital pattern" tutorial. That way you can follow completely along! The first step (and an extremely useful thing to have on hand for ANY seamstress) is finding your correct measurements. There are plenty of places you can find how to do some of these measurements but I will walk you through and extremely thorough measuring of yourself. It is based on a 1950's guide similar to THIS one. It is pretty crucial that you have a "partner in crime" while doing this. There are some measurements you just realistically cannot get accurately on your own. Plus then you can concentrate on your posture (crucial to goo measuring) and you don't have to worry about yourself sneakily pulling the tape just a tich tighter if you know what I mean :) In some pictures my tape is not perfectly straight or has twisted. Having another person measure you will prevent such things from happening. This can be a slightly time consuming process and once you have done it you want to make sure you keep track of your measurements. I have created a fun little sheet with all the different spots typed up and locations for you to enter your info. I also included places that when making a pattern your should include the indicated "ease" to make sure it sews up nicely. You can find this measurement worksheet HERE on my Scribd shelf.
Once you have printed it out grab your friend, a pen, a measuring tape and maybe some ribbon. Please forgive some of my duplicate numbering ughhh.
The first measurement I take is my waist. Several of your other measurements will be based on this location so make sure to get it right. Make sure it is not at your "high waist" but the thin part of your waist. (which is hard when you are totally preggers ha!) Once I measured my waist I placed a ribbon at this exact location.
This way I know I am measuring from the same spot every time. Try to avoid letting your tape slip:
Next up the bust. Make sure there is a finger between your bust and where the tape ends meet. This gives you some nice wiggle room.
Having another person measure you helps avoid this common mistake when measuring the bust:
Funny side story. If you go to Victoria Secret they are well trained at getting your perfect bust measurement. I went in one time and was shopping and one of the workers chuckled when I looked at a particular size and said "um, sweet heart do you want me to measure you so you get one that actually fits?" Yeah... as if shopping for under garments wasn't awkward enough for me ha! Anywho if you want a good one go there! This next one is commonly skipped but is a nice one to have to determine whether you chose the correct size in a pattern.
No one likes to do this next one but you HAVE to do it correctly or your outfits will always be a bit ill fitting. Do not pull the tape tight, be generous, a dress that fits like a glove will look way better then a dream sized dress you have to stuff yourself into. (oh and try to avoid having the tape twist like it is on me ha!)
Even though it says 6, number five measurement should be:
The next measurement will help to ensure when you sit down your skirt doesn't rip ha!
When taking this next measurement make sure you tell the person helping you where you generally like your skirts to hit. I like them right above my knee.
Next find your collarbone and follow it down to the center of your neck.
Now do the same thing in the back.
Alright this next one is fairly impossible to take correctly on your own. As you can see from my sad sad attempt to do it ha! The measurement should go from sleeve to sleeve across your shoulder blades, much higher then seen here.
Now we will repeat in the front. ** Evil Glare at person helping you is optional**
This is also a pretty tricky one to get on your own:
Now continue to your wrist
The next measurements are for pants or long dresses. When measuring for pants remember the longer you can make them (without stepping all over them) the more flattering they will be. Also consider what kind of hem you like, I like mine chunky so I add some length.
I probably went a little too high in this picture for this measurement. When it says center of neck in means center of circumference not height.
Next you will measure the largest part of your arm.
This last one may seem like an odd measurement but it really helps to make sure pants fit correctly when you sit down.
Once you have them all written down I put mine in a plastic page protector so I don't accidentally throw it away and it last longer. I use it when I buy a pattern and am wondering what size to make, making my own patterns etc. Hopefully this was helpful! You will certainly use it making your own patterns!


  1. This is great! I never know what size to make for patterns because I vary between a few, but this will be a HUGE help!

  2. This was so helpful! Thank you for doing this post. And you are so cute. :)

  3. The photo of you measuring 'front width' is an exceptionally striking photo. I also like that you wear nice jeans even though you are pregnant... gives me some hope that not all style is lost when preggo.

  4. Thank you for taking time to do this...I found it VERY helpful!

  5. amazing as per usual! There are some measurements that I never even thought about.

  6. This will come in really handy. I sew a lot for kids, but I always shy away from sewing for myself mostly because I know the fit won't be great!

  7. Thank you! This is perfect timing for me. We just had a JoAnn Fabrics open today in our town and I got a dress form for less than 40 bucks! (I used a 50% off coupon plus gift cards that I had been saving forever!) Can't wait to get sewing!

  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this, it has inspired me to use measurements from now on!! and I had forgotten how to take some of this measurements from sewing school, thanks!!

  9. First of all Kelly you look stunning! You are really really glowing! Second of all you evil glare is beautiful too :)

    Some of these measurements I didn't even realize were important or knew existed and I DO sew for myself. I suppose when you go based off of your measurements you wouldn't have to rip as many seams?! haha

    Thanks so much for the demo, it was excellent! I am totally making this dress. It is numero uno on my list! No putting it off :)

  10. Awesome! I'll be following along! But, may I ask, what the difference between a "high waist" and your regular waist is? The thinnest part of my torso is actually several inches above my belly button. Is that the "high waist"?

  11. I'm a little confused how the hip measurements for everyone is 4" & 8" from the waist, no matter what size you are. I am 5'10" and obviously that 8" hits a different spot on my hip that it does (proportionately) on, say, my mom, who is 5'2" or even my friend who is 6'2". Shouldn't it be the fullest part of my hip/bum? And I agree with a previous commenter, the smallest part of my waist is pretty high ("Too many cookies, Corduroy"). lol

  12. Awesome tutorial!! I linked to it on Craft Gossip:


  13. Very cool post. And how adorable are you in just a white shirt and jeans. You look like a Gap ad. So cute! :)

  14. THANK YOU for doing this with photos!!!!

  15. What a nice photo tutorial! Thank you for putting so much detail into it. I have to agree with UBee though, as we are all such different shapes and sizes, 8" below waist isn't hip for everyone. While my own hips are less than 6" below my waist, i know people for whom their waist is a whole 10" above their hips! I would say making note of this is (for me in my sewing at least) an essential measurement as well.

  16. aww this is so helpful! thanks for taking time to blog about this ;)

  17. @UBee and @Kimberly

    You are both correct that the 8" Waist to Hip rule is not the same for everyone. I am 5'7" and long in the torso and legs, my waist to hip length is 10"

    Definitely measure from your waist to the widest part of your hips, not just 8" down.

  18. I am unable to download your measurement sheet. Is there any other way that I can get it??

  19. Thank you for taking the time to do this for us unknown stranger sewists! I was given the link over in , sew & sew& group. I'm so glad I followed it!


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