How to take body measurements

When you fall in love with sewing, you need to take an essential step: your measurements. You would better make a simple garnment which fits you perfectly than something very sophisiticated that is not on your measures. The main advantage when sewing your own clothes is to make them on your size.

I have been looking for a clear and detailed method for a while and I admit not having found it yet. So I made a compilation of my tips that I want to share with you.
You need a measuring tape, a ribbon, a large mirror and a friend to help you. Wear your usual underwear or a bodysuit.

For a bodice pattern:

Standing sideways, in front of your mirror, straightening your body without relaxing the belly. Take the following measures, parallel to the floor:

  • Waist: about 1 cm above the belly at the most hollow point of the back. Fix a ribbon around the waist.
  • Bust: over your bra and your most proeminent part of the chest

TailleBuste

  • Hips: straddle and take the measurement at the largest part of your bottom
  • Neck: at the base of the neck, not too tight

BassinCou

Facing the mirror, you will continue with the following measurements:

  • Front neck to waist: from the base of the neck to the waist, over the most prominent part of the chest
  • Breast depth: from the base of the neck to the nipple
  • Nipple distance: from one nipple to the other
  • Arm-to-arm chest width: from one arm to the other at the articulation joint of the arms

LongueurdevantEntreseinsCarrureDevant

  • Shoulder length: measure each shoulder separately from the base of the neck to the armhole
  • Small hips: around the pelvic bone
  • Height of small hips: from the waist line to the small hips line
  • Height of hips: from the waist line to the hips line

EpaulePHanches1Hauteurhanches

For the back, you must count on your friend:

  • Back neck to waist: from the base of the neck to the waist
  • Arm-to-arm back width: from one arm to the other, at the articulation joint of the arms, on the same line as arm-to-arm chest width

LongueurDosCarrureDos
For the sleeves pattern, you will need:

  • Arm length: measure each arm separately. On folded arms, from the shoulder to the elbow, and the elbow to the wrist.
  • Shoulder to elbow length: from shoulder to elbow

BrasEpauleCoude

  • Arm circumference: around the fullest part of the arm.
  • Wrist circumference: measure loosely around the wrist

BicepsPoignet

For pants pattern, it is better to be assisted by a friend:

  • Leg length: for each leg separately, take the longest measurement. Standing sideways, measure from the waist to ankle
  • Knee length: from the waist to the knee
  • Inner leg length: from the crotch to the inner ankle

JambeEntreJambe

  • Back waist length: sitting on a chair, measure the distance from the waist to the chair
  • Crotch: through the legs, from the front waist to the back waist

MontantFourche

  • Thigh circumference: around the fullest part of the thigh
  • Knee circumference: around the knees
  • Ankle circumference: around the ankles

CuisseCheville
There are plenty other measurements to take. It seems that a tailor needs about 40 measures to make a shirt.

I have presented here only what is needed to build basic patterns found in this blog. Feel free to leave your tips or other useful links in the comments to enrich this article.

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4 thoughts on “How to take body measurements

  1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TAKING BOTH

    Back waist length: sitting on a chair, measure the distance from the waist to the chair
    Crotch: through the legs, from the front waist to the back waist

    • There are two different measurments.For building pants patterns, some methods require crotch measurment, other back waist length

  2. Hello thank you for all the useful tips. For te arm to arm measurements do we take it under the arm thank you kind regards

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