Hey Fashionistas! In today’s post, we’re going back to the basics. I will show you how to take your body measurements for sewing your clothes or online shopping with the measurements I like to use for pattern making. If no one is around to take your body measurements, then this blog post is made for you. After taking the measurements, you are ready to make a basic bodice block and sleeve block pattern.
Pen and paper
Well fitted underwear
Close-fitting top and legging
TIPS & TRICKS
To get the most accurate numbers, it’s best to take the measurements in your underwear. If you want to make markings or use the seams as a reference point, you can wear thigh-fitting clothing with long sleeves made out of Jersey fabric.
Don’t eat right before you’re taking the body measurements; this can affect your waist. If you’re always bloated, you might want to take that into consideration when taking waist measurement when you’re bloated.
If you don’t have a thin elastic, mark the center of the elastic or use the top or the bottom edge as a measurement point.
Be sure to wear a bra type you intend to wear for the final garment, especially if you’re working with a client. They need to wear the exact same bra that they wear with the final garment.
How much ease should I add? That depends on what you want to make, but most like to add one or two fingers to the measurement as ease.
I highly recommend standing in front of a full length mirror, this helps you see if your measuring tape is leveled around your body, and you can check your recordings in the mirror.
To get super accurate measurements, you can use a sharpie or a washable marker to make markings on yourself or the clothes you wear. This ensures you have the exact same starting point, for example, when taking the shoulder length measurement and the arm length measurement.
I have one more important thing to say, and that is whether you’re skinny or fat, we’re all insecure about our bodies. Just remember that you need these numbers to create your custom garment. Know that you’re not alone with these thoughts, so, woman up and take your body measurements.
Now let’s get started!
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR NECK
To take the neck measurement, wrap the tape measure around your neck. I usually place one finger underneath the measuring tape, making sure it is not too tight. If you find it difficult to take this measurement, you can wear a turtleneck top or a necklace as a guide.
For the shoulder measurement, measure from the neck till the end of the shoulder bone. Record the measurement at the bump of the bone. Google ”shoulder bone” to have a better idea of what I’m talking about. You can use the end of the shoulder seam as a reference point. Try to relax your shoulder, and I do recommend measuring your other shoulder as well.
If there’s a big difference between both shoulder measurements, take the average.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR BUST
Place the measurement tape loosely around the fullest part of the bust, but tight enough that it doesn’t fall down, wrap it under your armpits and over the shoulder blades. Make sure that the tape is leveled and not twisted.
NIPPLE TO UNDERBUST
Take this measurement from your nipple until the edge of your bra. This measurement is useful for bra making or for an empire silhouette.
NIPPLE TO NIPPLE
This is the distance between your nipples. This measurement is good to have for darts manipulation.
NAPE TO BUST
To get this measurement, you will need to place an elastic around the fullest part of the bust. Be sure it is parallel to the floor, then measure from your nape down to the elastic. To find this bone move your head forward, then side to side. If you have a hard time finding the correct bone, use a necklace or your top as a guide.
Then place three or four fingers in your armpit and measure the distance from that point to the elastic, then subtract the distance between the finger and the elastic from the ‘nape to the bustline’ measurement to get the armscye depth.
SNP TO NIPPLE
For this one, you need to place the measuring tape at the shoulder neck point and measure from that point down to your nipple. If you’re wearing a top, you can use the shoulder seam as a guide.
Taken from above and between the armpits, place the tape measure horizontally between your armpits and record the measurement. You can also use the armhole seams from your top as a reference.
This measurement is the distance between the armpits. I like to add 1 a 3 cm to the chest width measurement to get this measurement. This one is basically impossible to take by yourself. You can also use a body chart as a guide.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR WAIST
Next, grab your elastic and place it on your natural waist, which is the smallest part of your waist, above your belly button. If you have an hourglass figure, it will be easy to find, but if you have a rectangular shape or have weight at the belly, it is not easy.
You can find the waist to place your hand on your waist where you normally would place it if you pose for a picture. I prefer this method because you do this on instinct. You can place the elastic on your waist and bend from side to side to see where the elastic falls naturally, or just record this measurement where you think it looks the best.
A quick reminder that you’re taking this measurement to make well-fitted clothing for YOUR body type. So, don’t cheat by sucking in your stomach to make it look flatter unless you want to suck in your stomach the whole when wearing your final garment.
NAPE TO WAIST
For this measurement, you need to leave the elastic on your waist. You take this measurement vertically from your nape to the elastic.
WAIST TO FLOOR
Also, for this measurement, leave the elastic on your waist. Hold the tape measure on your waist and let it fall on the ground, stand on it with one foot until the tape measure is completely straight. Be sure not to bend forward when you look down to record the measurement.
WAIST TO HIP
This measurement is taken vertically from the waistline to the hipline. You will need to place the elastic on your natural waist and on the fullest part of the hip to record this measurement accurately.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR HIP
Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your booty, place the tape tight enough that it doesn’t fall, and record your measurement.
The arm length is tricky to measure; you will need two hair ties to make it easier for yourself. Place one hair tie around your elbow and the other around your wrist; this will hold the tape in place, and then place your hand on your hip. Measure from shoulder point all the way where you want the sleeve to end.
SHOULDER TO ELBOW
While you’re taking your arm length measurement, you can record your shoulder to elbow measurement at the same time. It’s good to have this measurement if you want different sleeve lengths and as an example, if you want to make a flared sleeve starting from the elbow.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR BICEP
Measure the circumference of the fullest part of your upper arm. If you have a hard time taking this measurement, place two á four fingers in your armpit and measure approximately from that height.
Measure the circumference of the elbow horizontally. I like to take this measurement loosely by placing one or two fingers between the tape measure.
Lastly, measure the circumference of the wrist. You can take this measurement above the wrist bone. This measurement is useful for the sleeve cuff, for knit pattern block, or when you want to make changes in the sleeve hem.
A good measurement to consider is the circumference of the hand when you’re planning to make a long sleeve top of woven fabric.
Now that you have taken all body measurements, the next step is to make the bodice and sleeve block pattern.