Taking Measurements

Taking Measurements
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Last week we talked about why we need our measurements. Let’s talk about how to take them and which ones to pay attention to when.

High Bust measurement:

  • Taken by wrapping the measuring tape around the body, across the widest part of the back, under the arms, and across above the bust. This is one of the only measurements that you don’t need to check to make sure it’s level from all directions.
  • This measurement is mostly used in sewing and is most important for women as it takes cup size out of the equation. Different pattern makers use different default cup sizes (usually B, sometimes C) and assume you will either to a full or small bust adjustment from there. If you choose your sewing pattern based on your high bust measurement rather than just your bust measurement, the pattern is more likely to fit in the shoulders.
  • Use this measurement for tops when sewing.

Full Bust or Chest measurement:

  • Taken by wrapping the tape measure around the back and across the fullest point of the bust or chest. Be sure that it’s snug enough that it’s not gaping but not so tight that the tape has pressed into your skin. You’ll also want to make sure that from the front and side the tape is level and not lopsided. You’ll want to take this measurement when you’re wearing your normal undergarments.
  • You’ll want to use this measurement when you’re shopping for clothes for your bust/chest measurement. If you tend to have problems with shirts fitting too tight (e.g. gaping between buttons on a button-front shirt), then you’ll want to make sure that whatever you are ordering will fit across the chest. If your hips are smaller than your chest, be sure you choose your clothing based on this measurement.

Waist Measurement:

  • Taken by wrapping the tape measure around the smallest part of your torso. The other way to find it is to wrap loosely, then bend at the waist to one side. Wherever you bend (the bottom of your rib cage) – that is your waist. Because of low-waisted clothing styles, most people don’t have an idea of where their true waist is. Again, be sure that it’s snug enough that it’s not gaping but not so tight that the tape has pressed into your skin. You’ll also want to make sure that from the front and side the tape is level and not lopsided.
  • If you find that you have problems wearing clothes because they are too tight or too loose (especially in the case of pants), use this measurement first when looking for your clothing size on the size chart.

Hip Measurement:

  • Generally you will find this measurement by wrapping a tape measure around the fullest part below your waist and above your thighs. Hips can get tricky to fit – especially when sewing pants – because of where you carry the bulk of your mass. Some people are flatter in the front and have more fullness in the back. Others are the other way around. Be sure that it’s snug enough that it’s not gaping but not so tight that the tape has pressed into your skin. You’ll also want to make sure that from the front and side the tape is level and not lopsided. You’ll want to take this measurement when you’re wearing your normal undergarments.
  • If you’re sewing, you may want to measure side seam to side seam in the back, write down that measurement, and then do the same for the front. You’ll want to compare those measurements against the pattern pieces to see if you have to make any adjustments.
  • If you are larger in the hips, then you’ll want to use this measurement first when buying dresses. Otherwise, you’ll use it for buying skirts and pants.

Inseam Measurement:

  • This is a measurement taken from your crotch to the ground (or wherever you prefer your pants to stop). Be sure to measure against your leg, and not just straight down, as the later can cause your measurement to be too short.
  • Pants can be hemmed, so this usually doesn’t need to be an exact measurement. It does help you, though, to choose from short, regular, and tall lengths. Some companies do sell pants in varying inseam sizes, so you can also use the measurement in that instance.

Have you had problems with finding the right size when you buy clothes? Have you tried using your measurements? Did it work?

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Sewist, knitter, reader, dancer. Wife. Lover of things vintage and retro.

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  1. […] Taking Measurements October 14, 2014 […]

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