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Taking Measurements...How to measure for Pattern Making, Sewing, and Fashion Design


     In general, when taking measurement for home sewing garments, tops, blouses, vests, and jackets are taken and based from the waist and bust measurements, and shorts, pants, skirts, and slacks are taken and based from the waist and hip measurements.  At times pattern alterations need to be made.  It is best to adjust or alter your paper pattern piece before you pin and cut your patterns out on fabric. Measuring other people is easy and you can measure yourself, but it is easier if someone helps you. 


When measuring oneself a  fiberglass or linen tape measure should be used. The best kind have metal ends, and they should never be rolled.


All sewing patterns allow for some ease for movement and comfort.  Here is an example of ease on patterns:

Bust measurement   + 3in.

Waist measurement + 1in.

Hip measurement      + 2in.


This gives a comfortable fit and allows for movement.  Loose style clothes like blouses, or jackets and coats will have more ease allowed.  Keep this is mind when purchasing  your pattern. Also, ease allowances can vary with fashion.  If a real tight fit is in high fashion then the ease will be reduced.


How to Measure Oneself

Hips: Measure 7 inches from the natural waistline for people 5ft. 4in. and under. Measure 9 inches from the natural waistline if the person is 5ft. 5in. and taller.  Or measure at the WIDEST part around the hip.  Make sure the tape is level all the way around and firm.

Waist: Place a string around your waistline and let it drop naturally, that is you natural waistline.  Then measure the string.

Bust: Measure across the fullest part of the back and around to the fullest part of the bust.

Neck-to-waist: Measure from the center of the neckline to your natural waistline.

Wrist: Make a close measurement at the wrist joint.

Back skirt length: At the center back, measure from the waist to the floor.

Neck: Measure closely but not tightly around the base of the neck.


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