The General Guidelines in Taking Measurements
Before you hit dressmaking shops for a design pattern, the first thing that you should
consider is taking the proper measurements.
There are some places on an individuals body to start taking measurements and where to end. The distance between
the start and the end point generally constitutes the exact line over which to measure. You can successfully create
a garment of your own, provided that you know and understand the importance of taking the proper measurements.
To be more organized, make sure that you keep exact records of all the measurements done. Before you buy a
pattern, or even make one yourself, check your measurements.
You should also be aware of the sizes from the manufacturers. Different manufacturers have different sizes. One
manufacturers size fourteen is the others size sixteen, and yet another is 12! Knowing your right size doesn't
necessarily mean knowing your exact measurements.
Taking accurate measurements is the key to having a garment the best fits you. Although not at all difficult,
taking measurements takes a lot of attention. It is strongly suggested then that you seek help from a friend or a
Remember to take measurements over your common undergarments. Never pull the tape measure too tight. It is
strongly recommended that you consider using the metric system (centimeters) over the imperial system (foot/inches)
because it is easier and more accurate to use.
Stand straight with your back, both your heels and your head against the wall. Ask your assistant to mark a spot
on the wall with the use of a ruler which goes perpendicularly on top of your head. Measure the distance from the
floor to the marked spot, vertically.
Have this measurement taken over the widest part of the back and the fullest part of the bust. Your tape measure
should horizontally go all around the body.
In locating your waistline, try tying a string around your waist and allow it to settle into your natural
waistline once you bend sideways. Measure the string-line.
Be sure to measure around the fullest part, usually seven inches (18cm) to nine inches (23cm) below the
Shoulder length: Measure from the neck base to the shoulder point. In locating the neck base, circle the tape
horizontally around the neck, just under the thyroid. To locate the shoulder point, raise one arm to the shoulder
level. The shoulder point is the dimple that forms at the shoulder bone.
Waist height from floor: This is the distance from the waist down to the floor. Place a book or a ruler between
the waist and the wall and then make a mark on the wall. Measure the height of the mark from the floor.
Front Waist Length: This is measured from the bone at the back of the neck to its base point, over the bust
point, and vertically down to the waistline.
Back Waist Length: From a bone on the back of the neck down the spine, through a one-width ruler placed at the
projecting scapulae, points to the tape tide to the waist line.
STEPS IN CHOOSING A SEWING PATTERN
Step One: Take the basic measurements. Measure the height, the bust or chest, the waist, the hips, and the back
Step Two: For a man's garment, take similar measurements plus the measurements of the neck, the pant length
(from the waist down to the desired length), the sleeve length (along the arm that is slightly bent from the necks
base across the elbow and the shoulder, down to the wrist bone), and the inseam (or the crotch to the desired
length of pants).
Step Three: Take note of all the measurements as you take them. Remember also to bring the measurements along
when you shop for a pattern.
Step Four: Browse through different pattern books. These are normally found at fabric shops and are indexed
according to the garment type.
Step Five: Choose patterns according to the desired style and the skill level that is needed. Most patterns are
categorized according to the degree of difficulty.
Step Six: Select the pattern size based from your recorded measurements. Be sure that the pattern in the package
is the right style size and number. Check also that the package contains the printed instructions.
Step Seven: Choose other additional items to complete the project. These include fabric chalk, straight pins,
pens and pencils for markings, and scissors.
Understand the importance of preparing the things needed for any sewing activity. This will serve as your
guidelines when you start shopping for fabric and sewing patterns.