How to Measure Your Body

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Let’s face it, no one wants to think about how to measure your body but it is SO important! The truth is, no sewist wants is to go through the long process of sewing a garment, only to find out that it doesn’t fit. Not only is it disappointing but it’s extremely frustrating.

How to Measure Your Body


There are a few ways we can try to avoid this problem, and the biggest solution is actually a preventative measure: take accurate measurements of your body before selecting your pattern!

It’s important to know your body sizing before you go to the store, because you need to pick the pattern that’s going to fit your body. Pattern sizing varies with the brand, so you have to be careful to pick one that matches up to your measurements.

Let’s talk about how to measure your body accurately to help you get a good fit.

Get Ready to Measure:

Step 1: Wear the normal undergarments you usually would, and then a thin layer of form-fitting clothing (such as a tank top and bike shorts or yoga pants). This way you can get accurate measurements without too much added bulk from regular clothes.

Step 2: Get a notebook and pen so you can write down all of your measurements as soon as you take them. Record your measurements to the nearest 1/4 inch!

Step 3: Get a helper! Some of these measurements you might be able to do for yourself, but not all of them will work out single-handed. You’ll need a measuring partner to get the most accurate results, so enlist the help of a sewing friend (you can help each other!), a spouse, or someone else who’s handy with a tape measure.

Now, you’re ready!

Learn why a unit of measurement is so important in sewing and pattern making. These simple steps can help improve your fit, garment outlook and performance. The Sewing Loft


How and Where to Measure Your Body for Sewing Patterns:

1. Your height – Stand straight, with your shoulders back, and measure your height from the top of your head down to the floor.

2. Full bust – Measure the circumference of your body around the fullest part of your bust, taking care to keep the tape measure close to your body but not pulled too tightly.

3. Natural waist – Measure the circumference of your body at the narrowest part of your waist.

4. Hips – Measure the circumference of your body around the widest part of your hips/backside. (Heather, I have no idea which word you want to use here, HA!)

5. Lower waist – Measure the circumference of your body at the center point between your natural waist (3) and your hips (4).

6. Shoulder to bust – Measure down the front of your body, starting at the point where your neck meets your shoulder, and stop at the line where you measured your full bust (2).

7. Neck to waist – Measure as in step 6, but this time go down to the line where you measured your natural waist (3).

8. Shoulder width – Measure from the point where your neck meets your shoulder to the farthest point of your shoulder where it begins to curve down to your arm.

9. Neck – Measure the circumference of your neck.

10. Upper back – Measure starting at the center of the base of your neck and stop at your natural waist (3) in the back (this is basically the back-side opposite of step 7).

11. Arm width – Measure the circumference of your upper arm at the widest point.

12. Waist to floor – Measure down, starting at your natural waist and going all the way to the floor.

13. Arm length – Measure from the top of your arm at the shoulder to the tips of your fingers, with your arm natural and straight at your side.

Right click on the image below and save to your computer.

This measure your body worksheet from The Sewing Loft is the perfect way to keep track of key points of measure used when sewing garments. Print it out, measure your body and take it with you when purchasing your next pattern.

Armed with these measurements, you’ll be able to find a pattern that fits your body! Keep in mind that if you find a pattern that fits in one area but not in another, it’s easier to take a pattern in than to let it out. If you decide to get a dress form at some point in the future, you can use these measurements to accurately set the size of the form while you’re at it! Be sure to re-check your measurements at least once or twice a year, especially if you have any fluctuations to your weight or clothing size.

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