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How to Take Body Measurements for Sewing Patterns Full Guide of 2023

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how to take body measurements for sewingOkay, let’s give this a shot. Here’s a 150-word introduction using second person, active voice, contractions, satire, and an engaging style while incorporating the focus keyword:

You’ve had it with store-bought clothes that just don’t fit right, haven’t you? We feel your pain. Nothing’s more frustrating than dropping hard-earned cash on some new duds only to find they hang like a potato sack.

But don’t fret – with a few simple tools and a bit of know-how, you’ll be taking custom body measurements for sewing in no time.

Just grab a tape measure, strip down to your skivvies, stand in front of a mirror, and start wrapping that measuring tape around your body. We know what you’re thinking – Measuring myself? No way! Well, believe us, once you start taking your own exact measurements, you’ll get a thrill from the precision of it all.

You’ll be shocked at how perfectly your homemade clothes fit when you use your unique body measurements.

So go on, break out the tape measure, and get ready to unlock the key to a flawless wardrobe!

Key Takeaways

  • Strip to form-fitting undergarments only.
  • Stand relaxed in a normal posture.
  • Record numbers precisely as measured.
  • Take measurements often as bodies change.

Why Measure Yourself for Sewing?

Why Measure Yourself for Sewing
Here ya go: Measure yourself accurately so you can select the right size pattern and make proper garment adjustments for a perfect fit, hon! Taking precise body measurements is crucial for sewing success.

Use a quality tape measure and carefully find your bust, waist, hips, and other landmarks.

Locate the waist at the narrowest part by bending sideways. Measure the bust around the fullest part, often across the nipples. The hips are the widest area around the bottom. Share kids’ cooperation tips and measurements online only with extreme care.

Precise measuring enables proper pattern size selection and vital fit adjustments.

Equipment Needed for Taking Body Measurements

Equipment Needed for Taking Body Measurements
You’ll need a soft, flexible tape measure with both inches and centimeters, like the dual-sided polyfiber one made in Germany. Additionally, you’ll need a specialty blind hem foot to help you precisely fold fabric and accurately place stitching.

Using high-quality equipment ensures that you get the right fit by taking proper body measurements for your sewing projects.

Soft Tape Measures Sewing Rulers

You’ll want a flexible, dual-sided tape measure made of polyfiber and constructed in Germany for precise body measurements when sewing your own clothes. The 60-inch German-engineered polyfiber measure provides durability, longevity, and accuracy needed when taking precise hip, torso, shoulder-to-waist, neck, arm, and inseam measurements.

Though more costly than other brands, its precision and flexibility make it ideal for measuring the lengths and contours of your body to create well-fitting homemade garments.

Off Blind Hem Foot

The adjustable guide of the blind hem foot enables precise fabric folds for blind stitching your projects.

  1. Pin fabric edge with the desired hem allowance.
  2. Lower the needle into the fabric.
  3. Position the guide against the fold.
  4. Adjust the guide width for the folded hem size.
  5. Sew slowly, keeping the edge along the guide.

The versatility of the blind hem foot improves efficiency for hemming curtains to pants.

General Tips for Taking Body Measurements

General Tips for Taking Body Measurements
When taking body measurements for sewing, put on the undergarments you will wear with the finished garment. Then relax before grabbing the measuring tape – avoid pulling it too tightly, and be sure to record the numbers precisely as they are.

Remove Bulky Clothing

Shed bulky clothes when sizing yourself up. Take off bulky sweaters, jackets, belts, and shoes. Strip down to form-fitting undergarments like a snug tank, sports bra, and underwear.

Location Remove Keep
Torso Oversized shirts, puffy coats Form-fitting tanks, sports bras
Legs Thick pants, leggings Underwear, shapewear
Feet Shoes, socks Barefoot

With minimal garments, you get an accurate read of your measurements. The tape measure glides smoothly over bare skin rather than bunching up on clothing. Your true dimensions appear, capturing your shape accurately for well-fitted garments.

Wear Undergarments Used With Finished Item

Slip into the panties and bra you’ll wear with the finished garment. Mark measurements over the undergarments you plan on wearing. This will allow you to determine the correct pattern size and make any necessary adjustments.

Practice your relaxed standing pose, exhaling gently when measuring the bust, waist, and hip. Relax your shoulders and stand tall. Taking body measurements over the proper undergarments ensures that the garment will fit comfortably when sewn.

Relax Before Measuring

Loosen up before you start measuring so that the tape can hug your natural curves. Find a relaxed stance with feet hip-width apart. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Take a few deep breaths to settle into your normal posture. Only wear undergarments you plan to use with the finished garment.

Be patient and allow the tape to find your body’s true dimensions for accurate measurements.

Avoid Pulling Tape Too Tight

Don’t cinch that tape too snug, honey. You’ll skew the measurements.

  • Allow the tape to rest gently against the skin. No tugging or pulling.
  • Apply even, moderate pressure throughout the process.
  • Keep the tape parallel to the floor when measuring bust, waist, and hips.
  • Exhale normally and don’t suck in your stomach during measurements.

When taking body measurements, avoid cinching the tape too tightly. The tension will distort the numbers, leading to inaccurate sizing. Let the measuring tape rest comfortably against your body without tugging or pinching the skin.

Apply consistent, gentle pressure and keep the tape flat and level. Remember to breathe normally rather than holding your breath or sucking in your stomach. Taking body measurements requires care and precision for the best sewing results.

Accurately Recording Measurements

Write down your numbers as you go. Don’t add extra inches or round up to make the numbers ‘better’. Record the measurements exactly as they are. Your true dimensions are needed for pattern fit. Every fraction of an inch affects the final garment size. Accurate numbers, even if unflattering, ensure proper pattern selection and adjustments.

Essential Body Measurements for Sewing

Essential Body Measurements for Sewing
Taking accurate bust, waist, and hip measurements is crucial for selecting the right size pattern and making proper adjustments. Stand relaxed in your undergarments, keep the measuring tape horizontal and snug but not too tight, and record the numbers precisely at the fullest part of your bust, the narrowest part of your waist, and the widest part of your hips.

Bust Measurement

Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust, keeping the tape parallel to the floor. Pull the tape snug but not too tight. Breathe deeply and normally, standing relaxed. Note any girth changes from posture shifts. Record the measurement precisely, without adding inches for vanity or alterations.

Variations in bust measurements often require fitting adjustments when sewing garments.

Waist Measurement

Find your narrowest point by bending side to side. This is your natural waist. Place the tape measure around your waist, keeping it parallel to the floor.

Exhale normally and relax. Don’t suck in your stomach.

Ensure the tape is straight all around. It should not twist or overlap.

Record the waist measurement immediately. Do not add inches.

For accuracy, take waist measurements in the morning and evening.

Have someone assist you for the most precise measurement.

Waist measurement is essential for well-fitted garments. An incorrect waist measurement affects the entire fit.

Hip Measurement

Place the tape around the fullest part of your hips and bottom to obtain the hip measurement. Stand in a normal position with your feet 4 to 6 inches apart. Relax your body. Wrap the tape around the widest part of your bottom just below the peak of your hip bone.

Ensure that the tape is parallel to the floor. Curve it around the fullest part of your rear. Record the hip measurement at the point where the tape meets. Allow your natural curves to guide the tape for an accurate measurement.

Other Useful Body Measurements

Other Useful Body Measurements
You’ll want to measure the length from the base of your neck to your natural waistline to get your front neck measurement. To determine your shoulder width, measure across the back of your shoulders from tip to tip at the widest part of your shoulder blades; for arm length, measure from the top of your shoulder down to your wrist bone, then subtract 3/8 inch.

Neck Measurement

You’d measure the circumference of your neck for a custom-fitted shirt. Tom wanted a perfectly tailored tuxedo for his wedding, so his fiancée carefully measured his neck to ensure the collar fit comfortably without gaping.

  1. Relax shoulders and look straight ahead when measuring neck.
  2. Place measuring tape flat around the base of the neck above the collarbones.
  3. Keep the tape snug but not too tight. You should be able to slip two fingers under.
  4. Record the measurement at the front middle of the neck.
  5. For sloping shoulders, measure from the neckbone to the shoulder tip.

The neck measurement ensures a comfortable, non-gaping shirt collar and proper shirt fit.

Height Measurement

Stand tall as you mark your stature, for this moment measures not just height but growth.

Toes Soles Knees Thighs
Instep Arch Joint Bearing
Heel Ball Bend Fulcrum
Pad Rise Flex Stride

Ascend heel-to-toe atop the even plane, aligning crown to chart your peak barefoot, supporting posture’s spine. Relaxing plumb and poised, straight-standing defines your full elevation, distinguishing your true dimension’s span from earth to scalp.

Shoulder Measurement

Drape the tape from the edge of your shoulder across to measure its width.

  1. Place one end of the tape at the bone on the tip of your shoulder.
  2. Stretch the tape across your back to the other shoulder bone.
  3. Keep the tape parallel to the floor as you measure the back slope for a custom fit.

This horizontal measurement from shoulder tip to tip provides the shoulder width needed for pattern selection and adjustments. Locating the exact shoulder points and measuring straight across the back creates an accurate custom measurement for garments that fit perfectly.

Arm and Bicep Measurements

With an arm relaxed, position the tape at the top of your shoulder and circle down around the fullest part of your upper arm for a bicep measurement.

To measure arm length, start at the shoulder bone, circle down past the elbow, and end at the wrist bone.

For sleeve length, begin at the shoulder bone, measure down past the elbow to where you want the sleeve to end.

When measuring young children, use stickers and toys for distraction and cooperation.

Compare your measurements against detailed size charts to select the right pattern and fabric.

How to Measure Yourself for a Dress

How to Measure Yourself for a Dress
Now that we’ve covered other body measurements, let’s move on to taking measurements specifically for dressmaking. When sewing your own dress, accurate body measurements are crucial for selecting the right size pattern and making proper adjustments.

  1. Start with the basics – measure your bust, waist, and hips. Take these measurements over any undergarments you plan to wear with the finished dress.
  2. Measure your upper bust. This is above your full bust, often right at the armpit level.
  3. Take your back width measurement from shoulder to shoulder across your upper back.
  4. Don’t forget length measurements! Measure from your shoulder to your waist, hip, knee, and desired dress hem.

Accurately measuring yourself is the first step to sewing a dress that fits your body perfectly. With the right measurements, you’ll select the best pattern size and know where to make adjustments.

What’s the Next Step After Taking Body Measurements?

Once you’ve jotted down the numbers, it’s critical that you plot them correctly onto your personalized drafting diagram to ensure accurate pattern sizing. Carefully transfer all measurements from your handwritten sheet to the corresponding spaces on the drafting paper.

Draft separate sloper blocks for bodice, skirt, and sleeve variations. Compare them against commercial patterns and adjust the shape and ease as needed.

Next, cut out the drafted paper slopers, adding the indicated seam allowances. Use binder clips to mark darts, pleats, and notches. Transfer any pattern markings. Cut your fashion fabric based on the completed blocks.

Baste seams before the initial fitting. Check the fit and make tweaks to improve the drape and silhouette. Let out or take in seams as required. Adjust slopers and recut final fabric pieces once you’ve perfected the shape and fit.

With accurate measurements and adjustments, your custom-drafted pattern will deliver a successfully finished garment.

Step-by-Step Guide: Making and Fitting Your Block

Step-by-Step Guide: Making and Fitting Your Block
After recording your measurements precisely, make a test garment from muslin to check the fit of your custom block before cutting into fashion fabric. Carefully transfer your block pattern onto inexpensive muslin, cut out the pieces accurately, and assemble it correctly.

Try on the muslin to see where it fits too tightly or hangs oddly. Note any drag lines, gaping, or poor draping to diagnose the issues. Pin the muslin to mark changes, then alter your block as needed. Let out or take in the seams, slash and spread excess material, or pivot darts to improve the shape.

Creating a custom sloper through this mockup process enables you to produce well-fitted wardrobe pieces in your chosen fabrics. With a precision block pattern, you can sew flattering garments tailored to your own proportions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I re-take my measurements?

You should retake measurements often as bodies change. Weigh yourself weekly and remeasure monthly or bimonthly. Don’t rely on old numbers. Staying on top of accurate measurements is crucial for achieving proper fit when sewing clothes.

What if my bust, waist, and hip measurements don’t match the pattern size charts?

Since your body is unique, don’t squeeze into standardized sizes. Try adjusting the fit of the pattern for curves, adjusting darts and seam allowances, or blending between sizes.

Do I need a different technique for measuring children versus adults?

Certainly, use a playful, patient approach with children compared to a direct, efficient technique for adults. Engage kids’ cooperation through games, treats, and gentle guidance while simply instructing adults to stand, relax, and breathe normally.

Adjust your tone and methods to the individual’s age while precisely following measurement guidelines.

What’s the best way to measure myself if I don’t have a helper?

To measure yourself solo, use mirrors to see your back. Prop your phone on a stand to take photos. Mark landmarks with tape or pins. Take measurements like arms and inside leg first. For circumference, keep the tape snug but not tight. Don’t suck in! Breathe normally and record honestly.

How do I know which measurements are most important for the specific garment I want to sew?

Take measurements for the part of the garment that needs to fit snugly. For a skirt, measure the waist and hips. For a bodice, measure the bust, waist, and shoulders. For pants, the hips, waist, and inseam are most important.

Always include length measurements to ensure the garment hangs properly. Focus on areas needing an exact fit.


You now have the knowledge and tools to take accurate body measurements for sewing. Follow the step-by-step guide to make and fit your custom block perfectly. Taking the time to measure yourself precisely and create a block to your measurements is an investment that will have you looking and feeling your best in tailored, well-fitted garments for years to come.

Sewing something that truly fits starts with how to take body measurements for sewing.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.