How to take body measurements when sewing and dressmaking
It’s important to take accurate measurementswhen making your own clothes.
Here's our essential guide to help you get the best fit possible!
What other measurements may I need to know?
Measure from the base of the neck to shoulder point.
To find base of the neck – place tape measure around your neck under the thyroid.
To find the shoulder point – raise the arm to shoulder level and this is where the dip forms at the shoulder bone.
Waist height from floor
Place a book between your waist and the wall, and mark this position on the wall and measure distance from waist mark to the floor.
Front waist length
Measure vertically down from the prominent shoulder bone over bust point to the waist.
Back waist length
Measure from the top of your spine to natural waistline.
Measure from the shoulder bone to elbow and then with elbow bent measure to the wrist.
Make sure you update your measurements regularly
Always keep a record of all your measurements but redo these every time you start to make a garment, even if it’s a pattern that you have made before unfortunately we don’t all stay the same size, no matter how hard we wish it!!).
Tips for choosing a sewing pattern
For skirts, shorts and trousers – use your hip measurement to choose a pattern size.
For dresses, tops and jackets – use the bust measurement to choose a pattern size.
This pattern style is designed for women of average proportions between the height between 5ft 5in and 5ft 6in (without shoes)
Designed for women who are between 5ft 5in to 5ft 6in tall (without shoes) with larger bust and hips than Misses.
These patterns are designed for women with a shorter back-waist length, and a height of between 5ft 2in and 5ft 4in tall (without shoes).
What is ease?
For a garment to fit comfortably, the pattern might say it has ease. This is so you can move freely.
This is the minimum amount of ease for a garment to be comfortable. Within the sewing industry wearing ease is usually 6.4cm at the bust, 2.5cm at the waist and 7.6cm at the hip area.
This is an amount that the designer has added/subtracted to create a specific silhouette. To determine ease, measure the pattern from seam to seam (excluding seam allowances) and compare it with your body measurements to the total circumference measurement of the pattern. The difference is the amount of ease the pattern has.