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Sewing 201 - How to take Body Measurements


Now that we have become hopefully familiar with the sewing machine and sewing a straight stitch, it is time to venture into the world of garment sewing. Step one is the proper taking of measurements. There are a lot of measurements one can take depending on what you are sewing and the body you are measuring. For now, we will cover the core measurements to create a profile of sorts from head to toe. These we shall apply when we begin our drafting lessons. Any other extra measurements will be mentioned when we need it.


Preparation of the model.

1. Please wear your normal underwear for this process.


2. Tie a ribbon or elastic around your natural waist to help guide you.

3. For dress forms, create a bridge between the breasts by pinning a ribbon or elastic from breast to breast. This can be avoided in a live model. But you can wrap a ribbon around the bust to create the same effect. This is to prevent the tape from dipping in between the breasts when taking the centre front measurement.


4. Put dots or cross marks with a marker or sticky paper on the following spots. Helpful, especially if you are measuring yourself, but not absolutely necessary.


A) centre front of neck, (between the clavicle)

B) centre back of neck at the last big neck bone (7th cervical vertebrae)

C) shoulder point at base of the neck

D) shoulder point at top of the arm

E) apex of breast (highest point)

Above the Waist Measurements

NECK – Take around the base of the neck where it is thickest, fitted but not too tight.


ACROSS SHOULDER – Take from one Shoulder bone across the back to the other Shoulder bone (Do not include the arm)

SHOULDER – Take from base of neck to shoulder bone

ACROSS CHEST  – Take from armpit to armpit across the chest

ACROSS BACK- Take from armpit to armpit across the back

UPPER BUST – Take around the torso above the bust

FULL BUST – Take around the torso over the fullest part of the bust

APEX WIDTH – Take from nipple to nipple

FULL WAIST – Take around the natural waist  (this is at elbow length or slightly above the belly button)

CENTRE FRONT – Take from Collar bone at front to waist

CENTRE BACK – Take from Neck bone at back to waist

SHOULDER TO BUST (Bust depth) – Take from base of neck to nipple (Highest point of bust)

FRONT LENGTH – Take from base of neck to the waist, passing over the bust.


BACK LENGTH - Take from base of neck to the waist

SIDE – Take from armpit (1inch or 2.5cm below armpit) to waist. Keep arm down.

ARMHOLE – Take around armhole (ARMSCYE)


Below the Waist Measurements


FULL HIPS – Take around the fullest part of the hips

HIGH HIPS (BELLY) – Take around the abdomen just about where your hip bones are


HIP DEPTH – Take from waist to fullest part of hips

WAIST TO KNEE – Take from waist at the side to the knee

WAIST TO FLOOR (OUTSEAM) – Take from waist at the side to the floor

INSEAM – Take from highest point of inner thigh to the floor



CROTCH DEPTH (Body rise) – Sit on a hard flat surface and take from Waist to the seat at the side.

CROTCH LENGTH – Take from waist at the front, between the legs, to waist at the Back

UPPER THIGH  – Take around the thigh at the highest point

KNEE – Take around the knee (not too tight)

ANKLE  – Take around the ankle (not too tight)

FOOT (Base) – Take around the foot (not too tight)


The Arm


FULL ARM LENGTH – Take from shoulder bone to wrist bone, keeping arm slightly bent

UNDER ARM LENGTH – Take from armpit to the wrist bone, keeping arm slightly bent

SHOULDER TO ELBOW – Take from shoulder bone to elbow crease

BICEP – Take around bicep or upper arm, keeping arm flexed

WRIST – Take around wrist (not too tight)

HAND – Take around hand (not too tight)


That’s all for today. Remember to record accurate measurements. You can work in either inches or centimetres. See you in the next chapter!

Did you know that you can also watch this lesson?



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