Flat pattern making requires an accurate set of measurements to draft from. Taking careful body measurements will be one of the keys to your success!
There are a lot of measurements needed . . . and it can be kind of overwhelming. Not to worry, you’ll get there! Just take it one step at a time.
First things first…here are some tips for taking accurate body measurements.
- It is best to have someone else take your body measurements because it will ensure the measurements are accurate. Trust me…contorting your body to get the measurement does not yield accurate results! But, make sure it is someone you feel comfortable with, things might get a little intimate.
- Wear next to nothing, or maybe just your underwear or even a leotard. This will give you the most accurate measurements.
- Use a flexible tape measure, like this one from Dritz. And measure loosely, meaning do not pull the tape so tight that your clothing would be uncomfortable.
Okay, just a few more words of wisdom for you….
Height: Stand with your feet slightly apart and your back against a wall. Have a helper measure from the floor to the tip top of your head.
Bust: Relax your arms at your sides, measure the fullest part of your bust, keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
Waist: Measure loosely around your natural waist. Your natural waist will be between your belly button and your rib cage, usually your natural waist is in line with your elbows.
Hips: Measure the fullest part of your hips and back side, making sure to keep the tape is one again level and loose.
Rise: Holding the tape at the center back of your natural waist. Run the tape between your legs, pulling comfortably at the crotch, and up to your natural waist in front.
Inseam: Measure from your crotch to the bottom of your ankle (inside).
Arm: Bend your elbow 90 degrees and place your hand on your hip. Hold the tape at the center back of your neck. Measure across your shoulder to your elbow, and down to your wrist. The total length in inches is your sleeve length.
Circumference measurements are taken all the way around the body. The most common circumference measurements are;
- High Hip
- Full Hip
Horizontal measurements are similar to circumference measurements, only we take them on the ‘arc’. What is the ‘arc’? It is 1/4 of the full circumference. Sounds weird, right? It is, kind of. But, let me explain.
The reason why we need these arc measurements is because if you take a circumference measurement and evenly divide it by 4 to draft your pattern…you’ll end up off balance. What do I mean? Let’s think about the body. Our bust is generally bigger than our back, right? Our back side is generally bigger than our front side, right? But, not always! So, that is why we need to know the difference!
The arc measurement is taken from either center front or center back, to the side seam. Make sense? I hope so!
Let’s take a closer look…
- (1) Across Shoulder – CF neck to the tip of your shoulder
- (2) Across Chest, also called high bust
- (3) Bust Arc
- (4) Waist Arc
- (5) High Hip Arc
- (6) Full Hip
- (7) Hip Depth
A few notes
- all measurements are taken from CF to the ‘side seam’
- CF neck falls just between your collar bone
- for the bust arc, don’t pull the tape measure all the way between your breasts, flat above the CF line
- (8) Back Neck
- (9) Across Shoulder
- (10) Across Back
- (11) Back Arc
- (12) Back Waist Arc
- (13) High Hip Arc
- (14) Full Hip Arc
- (15)Hip Depth
A few notes
- all measurements are taken from CB to the same ‘side seam’ point used for front
- CB neck falls on the cervical bone that protrudes from the base of your neck
Front and Back Measurements
The front and back measurements are similar to the vertical or length measurements below, but…for visual reference, it is easier to keep them separate.
Let’s take a closer look…
- (16) CF Length
- (17) High Point of Shoulder (HPS) to waist
- (18) Shoulder Slope
- (19) CB Length
- (20) HPS to Waist
- (21) Shoulder Slope
Vertical measurements have to do with height or length. Common vertical measurements include;
- Arm Length
- Out Seam
- Ankle to Knee
- Ankle to Hip
- Side Seam Length
- Shoulder Length
- Side Hip Length
Let’s take a closer look at a few of them…
- (21) Shoulder Length
- (22) Side Seam Length
- (23) Side Hip Length
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