Getting into sewing can be a bit intimidating. There are so many things to remember – terms, practices, numbers! This guide to sewing measurements will hopefully ease some of that intimidation and help you keep track of where and what and why to measure.
Above are your most basic measurements: bust, waist, and hip. Nearly every pattern will call for these, particularly dresses and jumpsuits. If you’re just doing a top or a bottom, your pattern may only ask for two.
1. Bust: For this measurement, be sure to find the widest/fullest part of your chest.
2. This one isn’t a measurement, but more of a tip! Many sewing measuring tapes begin about an inch into the tape. If yours does this, be sure to measure from the ‘0’ and not the start of the tape.
3. Waist: Find the smallest part of your torso. Usually about 4″ below the bust.
4. Hips: Measure the widest part of your upper thighs, usually including your butt.
5. Upper bust: Place the measuring tape above the bust line, but below your arms. This measurement is helpful for garments with particular neckline, like sweetheart shapes.
6. Under bust: Just below the bust line, typically where the bottom of one’s bra would fall.
7. Apex to apex: Straight across the bridge of your neckline. This measurement is helpful if you’re making a garment with princess seams.
8. Shoulder to apex: Fairly straightforward – shoulder seam to apex. This may be necessary to calculate the shoulder rise or strap length of a garment.
9. Apex to waist: Measure the bottom half of your torso to find out if you need to lengthen or shorten a pattern – particularly if you’re making something like a slim-fitting dress.
11. Shoulder length: Measure from the base of your neck to the edge of your shoulder to calculate how far our to place your sleeves.
12. Arm length: Top of shoulder to wrist. This can be used to lengthen or shorten sleeves.
13. Front waist/torso length: Base of front neck to front waistline. An alternative measurement for lengthening or shortening torso patterns.
14. Back waist/torso length: Base of back neck to back waistline. An alternative measurement for lengthening or shortening torso patterns.
Another alternative to your basic measuring tool is Mood’s Circumference Tape Measure! This handy tool makes taking your own measurements by yourself even easier! Simply wrap the tape around your bust, waist, bicep, etc., hook the end into place, and press the button on the front. This tightens the tape just slightly, giving you the perfect measurement every time, in both centimeters and inches. The tape even begins at 2″, accounting for the 2″ taken up by the plastic t-shirt case.
So what garments will you be making with your new measuring skills?