This is going to be a pretty long post which explains why it’s only one of two this week. To prepare you for making your own clothing (something I
swear we’re going to get to by the end of this month), you have to have a proper set of measurements on hand. Call up the person who helped you make your body double and get ready to take each other’s measurements.
No, you can’t do this without help, sorry.
First off, download and print this workbook. It has miniature versions of all the sketches included in this post as well as big squares in which to jot down measurements. Soon, I’ll have something for you to plug all these measurements into so that you can print them all off easily for reference. For today, humour me.
For those of you who don’t need all the sketched in the workbook, you can print this measurement card for a more condensed version.
I’ve divided the 30 measurements you’ll need to make your own patterns (and that’s what we’ll be doing) into 8 sub groups that are easily taken at one shot. Therefore, your measuring partner can take turns to measure a group on each other and trade off.
Also, to those who want to make clothes for men and/or kids, please stay tuned. As soon as I can get sketches and worksheets for each of those demographics, I will absolutely make posts for them.
Basic measurement guidelines
There are horizontal and vertical measurements being made throughout this activity. I’ve tried to group them together so that you’re not switching from one to the other. All measurements should be taken with a flexible measuring tape.
All horizontal measurements should be made so that the tape is parallel to the floor. When in doubt, make the tape parallel to the waist string (next step). When wrapping the measuring tape around the body, make sure that it’s just loose enough to fit one of your fingers between the body and the tape, but not so loose that the tape can’t stay parallel.
All vertical measurements should rise and fall over your body’s topography. I like big words. That means that if you have a bit of a belly, make sure that your tape goes all the way over it. You want clothes that fit, and pretending like you’re shaped any differently than you are will not accomplish that.
Wear good undergarments and close-fitting clothing. To get the best possible measurements, get out your best bra. If you don’t usually wear a padded bra, don’t during measurements. If you do, do. Wear good supporting panties too. Don’t wear Spanx unless you plan to wear them under all the clothing you make. Wear workout clothes or something else that fits you pretty closely so that the tape isn’t measuring the extra fabric that your baggy old sweater has. Likewise, don’t wear clothing that binds you up it will make your measurements uncomfortably small.
Finding your waist
For the rest of this post, I will not be referring to the waist where your pants sit. That’s actually your high hip. Your “fashion waist” is actually the smallest part of your body – about where most dresses’ skirts begin. Since so many of the measurements we’re going to take depend on knowing where your waist is, you’re going to mark it. Get a piece of yarn or ribbon and tie loosely it somewhere just under your bra. Now bend to each side a couple of times and the ribbon will settle into your natural fashion waist.
Group 1 – The Bust
The bust is the largest point of the chest area. For reference, this is usually about 2.5 cm (5 inches) below the armholes of most shirts. When measuring the bust, always look at who you’re measuring from the side to see where the peak of they breasts are. Then have them raise their arms so you can wrap the tape around them. Have them lower their arms before taking measurements.
1 A – Full Bust
1 B – Front Bust
1 C – Back Bust
1 D – Across Back
1 E – Across Front
1 F – Bust Width
Measure between the high points of the bust.
Group 2 – The Waist
The best part of the waist point is that you already have it marked with the ribbon.
2 A – Full Waist
2 B – Front Waist
2 C – Back Waist
Group 3 – Hips
The hips is the widest part of the body below the waist. You should judge this by looking at the person you’re measuring in profile. Each person’s hips sit a little different.
3 A – Full Hips
3 B – Front Hips
3 C – Back Hips
4 – Neck
Group 5 – Vertical Measurements
The vertical measurements will help you design patterns correctly. For all back measurements, have your model bend their head forward and feel for the top vertebra that sticks out at the base of the neck. That’s the point we call the “nape.”
5 A – Centre Back
5 B – Nape to Bust
5 C – Nape to Hips
Measure from the nape to the same level as the Hip.
5 D – Back Shoulder
5 E – Centre Front
Measuring from the base of the front of the neck to the waist. This will run across your breastbone. Depending on your breast size and your bra, that means that your tape might run straight down or over the fabric in the middle of your breasts. Let it flow the way it does naturally.
5 F – Front Shoulder
Group 6 – The Arm
6 A – Shoulder
6 B – Overarm
6 C – Shoulder to Elbow
6 D – Underarm
6 E – Elbow
Measure around the bent elbow, loosely.
6 F – Bicep
7 – Side Seam
Group 8 – The Legs
8 A – Crotch Depth
8 B – Outside Leg/Outseam
8 C – Inseam
8 D – Thigh
There you go! Now, keep those measurements on hand!
Did you learn something from this post? Consider:
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