Learn How to Take Measurements

on May 1 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 153 Comments

Elizabeth from Oh, Fransson! worked with her sister Margaret to share this fantastic, step-by-step process for taking measurements:

My sister Margaret is an avid knitter, but hasn’t ever sewed anything for herself. She wanted me to help her make a summer dress or two, so I helped her take her measurements, following the guidelines found here (brochure PDF) via Simplicity.com.

If you’re doing this at home, you’ll need a tailor’s tape measure, a retractable tape measure and a buddy. For best results, the person being measured should remove her shoes and wear only the undergarments she intends to wear under the finished clothing. (Since pictures of the process were going to be posted online, Margaret is also wearing a fitted top and yoga pants.)

Waist Elastic, part one: Start by tying a narrow piece of elastic around the waist of the person being measured.

Waist Elastic, part two: She should then dance around a bit until the elastic settles at her natural waistline. Keep the elastic in place for the rest of the measurements.

Waist: Using the tailor’s measuring tape, measure over the elastic, around her natural waistline. (I let the elastic stick out a bit in this photo, so it’s obvious what I’m doing.) The tape measure should be held snug, but not tight. Margaret’s waist measurement is 29″.

Bust: Then, measure around the fullest part of the bust. Margaret’s bust measurement is 35″.

High Bust: Measure around the body, above the bust, across the widest part of the back and under the arms. Margaret’s high bust is also 35″.

Hip: Measure around the fullest part of the hips and derriere (usually 7 to 9″ below the waist). Margaret’s hip measurement is 38″.

Back Waist, part one: Locate the most prominent bone at the base of the neck. This is accomplished by asking the person being measured to put her chin to her chest.

Back Waist, part two: Measure between this point and the natural waist, as indicated by the waist elastic. Margaret’s back waist measurement is 15″.

Height: The person being measured should stand up straight, with her back against a wall. Use a retractable measuring tape to determine her height. Margaret’s height is 5’ 3”.

Now that we have these measurements, we can determine what size pattern to buy. Margaret’s bust – waist – hip measurements are 35 – 29 – 38. We compared this to a “Pattern Industry Standard” chart and found the closest size to be 14, the measurements for which are 36 – 28 – 38. Since it’s such a small difference, and since we’re unlikely to be making anything skin-tight, we probably won’t worry about the difference in the bust measurement. However, we will definitely make the waistline of a Size 14 pattern larger to accommodate Margaret’s waist.

Commercial patterns are made for women with a B-cup or, in measurement terms, women with no more than 2.5″ difference between bust and high bust measurements. Since Margaret’s bust and high bust are both 35″, we won’t have to make any adjustments to chest darts to accommodate her bust.

Commercial patterns are also made for women who are 5’5″ or taller, so we will likely have to shorten skirts so they don’t look too long on Margaret’s 5’3″ frame. The standard back waist measurement for a Size 14 pattern is 16.5″. Since Margaret’s back waist was only 15″, we’ll also need to shorten the bodice of anything we make.

Inseam, part one: Just in case she ever decides to make pants, we also took Margaret’s inseam measurement. Using her favorite jeans as a guideline, we measured from the crotch seam…

Inseam, part two: …Down to the bottom on the pant leg, following the inner seam.

Skirt Length: We also took a measurement for skirt length. This is really a matter of preference. Margaret wanted her skirts to be slightly longer than knee-length, so we took a measurement to determine exactly how long that would be. Because we’re not going to be making any skirts that sit at her natural waistline, we started our measurement below her waistline, using the waistline of her jeans as a starting point.

Try to keep in mind that pattern sizes and ready to wear sizes have little to do with one another. Even though we’ll end up buying a Size 14 dress pattern for her, Margaret normally wears a 6 in ready to wear. It can be daunting to hold ones measurements up to such scrutiny, but having well-fitting clothes you made yourself will be worth the effort.

Pin It

Related Posts

153 Responses to Learn How to Take Measurements

  1. Marvene N says:

    Thank you for this helpful information. I am new to sewing and know nothing about how to read patterns and did not know that patterns and ready to wear were sized so differently!

    Thank you again,

  2. Drema Caban says:

    lol, jeg elsker dans, det er så god en underholdningsform!

  3. Mara says:

    Kristin said:
    Being an 18/20 in ready-to-wear, I’m VERY, VERY disappointed with the selection of ‘plus’ sized patterns out there. Most of them are boxy and hideous. No Amy Butler, no Vogue, no Betsy Ross. I can’t even make any of those cute Built By Wendy patterns, which I covet! If I do the math and add according to the ratio measurements between the smaller sizes, will that work?

    That will work for some parts of your body, but not others. For example, my bicep/upper arm measurements are much larger than you’d expect from the ratio method. (Some of the plus-size patterns make this mistake, which is why they often have tight sleeves.) Thighs don’t match the ratio, either. Also, “misses” patterns assume that you’re relatively straight up and down in front below your waist. That’s never been true for me except when I was skinnier than a rail.

    Besides biceps/thighs/tummy, I can’t remember all the things that don’t match the ratio for plus sizes. You might try searching for “grading” (the technical term for making pattern sizes larger/smaller) for plus sizes. Good luck!

  4. Bill Ashby says:

    My wife thiks that I have a 52″ waist…I have been purchasing Jeans in a size 38 =>42….I wear my jeans just above my belly-button, and my wife says my “waist” is approx. 2-3″ ABOVE my belly button…..thus the size difference. If I put a pair of jeans; or dress pants or suit the pants fit fine with a 38=>42″ waist. Am I measuring at the incorrect spot on my belly or is my wife correct and my waist is truly 2-3″ ABOVE my belly button?

    Please advise as sooh as you can as we have a rather “Formal” affair to attend in the very near future.

    Thank you for your help!


  5. Abla says:

    Great blog, i am heading over to check out your entire site now. happens all the time

  6. Deanne says:

    Great tutorial. I’m preparing to measure my 15 year old daughter so I can sew and rehab clothes for her while she is away from home – now I will have good measurements to use.

  7. Chewy says:

    Thank you so very much! It answers a lot of questions for me as a beginner. Now to put it to application!

  8. JANE LAU says:

    How to take shoulder measurement?
    Please send your instructions with pictures.


  9. Jenn says:

    Thanks for the concise and very helpful info! What a great job you did w/ the photos along w/ their descriptions. Thanks!

  10. Very good instructions! Good pictures and very clear. With the back waist measurement, however, you missed out an important step.

    After you establish the prominent bone at the back of the neck by bending your head forward, you then need to straighten up your head before taking the measurement at the waist. This will give you a more acurate BW length!!!!!

  11. Carma Slama says:

    This is great! My daughter wants me to make her a few tops for summer, but needs to be measured. This will help me so much! Thanks!!! Carma

  12. Katie says:

    Thanks so much. I mostly sew for the kids, but am starting for things for myself…my measurements are all over the place. This will help!

  13. Phyllis says:

    So incredibly clear! Thanks alot! I was totally clueless before!

  14. AndreaLea says:

    More great information!
    I think the worst part of taking measurements is seeing the corresponding pattern size.

  15. Linda says:

    Thanks so much for excellent instructions – I wondered where I was going wrong!! I have now printed them out and they are pinned to my sewing room wall.

  16. Rebecca Ottensmann says:

    Thanks so much for the pics, they really helped me.

  17. McArt says:

    this is great thank you so much

  18. Petchy says:

    Fab instructions! And I really needed that reminder at the end not to compare pattern sizes to store-bought sizes!!!

  19. Michelle says:

    Wow! This was great. I love the extra little explanations. Thank you so much. This is a great reference.

  20. Jodie says:

    Extremely helpful! Thank you so very much!

  21. Holly says:

    Thank you, this was enormously helpful!

  22. Michele says:

    This has been so helpful…thanks!

  23. jmbmommy says:

    Scary but necessary part of sewing! Thanks!

  24. Geri Symington says:

    These instructions are amazing – my mother was 4’11” and I used to alter patterns for her. If I had had these instructions my job would have been easier – I used the guessing and hoping I am right method.

  25. Trudy Gocke says:

    This was very helpful. Didn’t know that about high bust and the usually B size. What a neat way to get the waist measurement. Haven’t done construction for awhile, now I have a grand daugther who I can sew for.

  26. Caitlin W says:

    This was really helpful! I sometimes wonder what it means when it specifies a certain measurement. This will be really great in making clothes for myself and others! Thanks!

  27. Tina M. says:

    Thank you! Great pictures and the blurry dance pic is my fave! 🙂

  28. Mel says:


  29. Allison says:

    Thanks for the instructions!

  30. Kathy says:

    Wonderful instructions. I gave up sewing clothes when nothing seemed to fit right.

  31. Jennifer Probasco says:

    Great tutorial. Maybe now things will fit!!!! LOL.

  32. Julia says:

    Taking my own measurements always baffle me! It’s the bust point that I find most difficult! But I do love to make dresses so this is very helpful.

  33. Joyce says:

    Thanks for doing these Women’s Clothing Month posts. Taking my measurements is something I know I should do but have never gotten around to doing. With such clear explanations and photos, there’s no more excuse. Must do!

  34. Carol says:

    This is so incredibly helpful. I don’t know why I haven’t taken my measurements like this before. Thanks!

  35. RattleandHum says:

    I’m a beginner and clear instructions with the pictures really make it great for me to learn on my own. I am becoming a big fan of your site. Thanks!

  36. Kristin Rose says:

    the elastic is a brilliant suggestion 🙂

  37. Annika says:

    Thank you! I have not needed to take my measurements in years, but motherhood has completely changed my body. This is a wonderful guide.

  38. Jordan Durbin says:

    After all the garments I’ve made (probably hundreds), I finally know how to take measurements properly! Yeah!!

  39. Kim D. says:

    So helpful, thankyou!!!

  40. Laure says:

    Great information. Surely this will help everyone modify patterns to REALLY fit correctly!

  41. alison says:

    This is so helpful – thanks!!

  42. Kieny says:

    Thanks for taking the time to do this tutorial. I just bought fabric for a dress I want to make and your advise comes at the right moment.

  43. Shelly G. says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful measuring tutorial. It has been so helpful for me. I really needed it 🙂

  44. EmmyLizzy says:

    Thanks for solving one of many sewing mysteries!

  45. Ashley says:

    This was so helpful! Thank you so much!

  46. Excellent instructions.

  47. GreenMyEyes says:

    you said it, Jessica! Why aren’t there more cute plus-size patterns out there? Seems like a giant untapped market to me – we are the ones that most have trouble getting things to fit us right. Kind of like the retail stores that do carry larger/plus sizes, but they can be only ordered online-where’s the logic in that?
    I would love to try one of the Wendy patterns but they won’t fit me from what I can tell. I’m a 14/16 but only 5’1″, so I have to go through this weirdness of wearing petite large/XL on top to fit the bust and not be ridiculously long in the arms, yet need regular XL/16 pants to fit on my ample rump, then likely they are too long and need hemming! More motivation to learn to sew for myself, I guess.
    p.s. Nice tutorial, SMS folks. Very much appreciated. I second the call above for more info about “ease”, as this is an area that I’m fearful of getting wrong.

  48. Carla says:

    These are fantastic directions and so timely. I just received a dress form, so I’m off to take some accurate measurements.

  49. Oh my goodness, these pictures help so much. I’ve always kind of guessed that I was measuring in the right place. Clarity!!!! Thank you to the model for being willing to publically be measured!!!

  50. Priscilla says:

    Awesome tips – love that you included all the photos too……..I can see exactly where I should be measuring.

  51. autismtymz2_4life says:

    Perfect 🙂 You made it very easy to understand. Thank you so much 🙂

  52. Tasha Early says:

    SO helpful! I’ll definitely bookmark this for when I start making clothes my own size. 🙂

  53. Mauri says:

    great post 🙂 thank you for going to the lengths to make this for us. I know I will absolutely use this as a reference in the future.

  54. This makes me want to try out clothing patterns. Thank you for this article.

  55. Denise Powers says:

    Thanks so much for the information, very helpful!

  56. jessi says:

    great tips – thanks!

  57. Julia Molewyk says:

    I love this introduction to women’s clothing month. This post is very informative and helpful. Thank you!

  58. Alisa says:

    This is great! It’s my aim to make something for myself this month yet so I will be referring back to this.

  59. Kerry McConnell says:

    This is fantastic! Thank you. This is so clear and easy to follow.

  60. Karie says:

    This is an awesome post!! I always wondered how to measure properly!! Thank!!

  61. Sarah says:

    This was really helpful, especially about the high bust measurement. Who knew? Well, maybe plenty of people, but not me. Thanks so much!

  62. Janice says:

    fabulous post!

  63. Sarah S says:

    Thanks for the real life photos, so much better than illustrations in books! I also think your comments on sizes will help people realize that it’s okay to be a bigger (pattern) size than RTW, and that it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.

  64. Amy Stickler says:

    Thanks for the great easy to digest information! I have been inspired to take my measurements and sew some blouses this spring!

  65. Kim B. says:

    I’m a beginner in every sense of the word so this is more helpful than I can even express! Thank you for this!!

  66. Stacy A says:

    What a great resource. I usually am taking my own measurements and making wild guesses. It is a little daunting when you actually are a size 14 and it say you need like a size 400. I was gonna ask what camera you used to make a size 14 look like her, cause I was gonna run out and buy it. I am excited about this month. When your a clothes making beginner, it is really scary to get started I think. I get down on myself to much when I mess up, so this month might be just the answer. Things are always easier when you have support. Thanks ladies!

  67. Amy W says:

    Thanks–glad to know I’m not the only size 6 sewing by a 14!

  68. Sarah says:

    VERY helpful! Now I just need to get over it and accept that my sewing size is much larger than my store-bought clothing size, and I’ll be good to go!

  69. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I hate figuring out my size on a pattern and I usually end up choosing the wrong size anyway. Hopefully next time with these helpful instructions, size won’t be such an issue!

  70. This is a GREAT tutorial. I have always had a hard time with measurements. The key to getting it right, though, as noted, is having a helper who is brutally honest!


  71. denitza says:

    very, very helpful to me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  72. BethAnn says:

    Wow what excellent timeing. I am just starting to teach myself to sew clothes. This was very usefully. I never liked measureing a person because I wasn’t sure I was measuring the right spot. Thanks!!!

  73. melissa says:

    this is amazing!! it helped me understand measurements as it relates to patterns but will also come in handy when doing some online shopping and trying to figure out what size to order.

  74. Terri says:

    This is really helpful! Thanks!

  75. Del says:

    What a great tutorial! Thanks so much for posting! I’m looking forward to making my own clothes!

  76. Amber says:

    This is so great – thanks for all the photos too!

  77. Susan C says:

    This is super helpful. I love to sew, but patterns irritate me. I feel so empowered now!

  78. Rachel says:

    These are excellent instructions. Love the dancing bit.

  79. Shelly says:

    Wish I had time to do this right now. It looks fun!

  80. GinnyRit says:

    This is a huge help! Thanks so much 🙂

  81. Thanks for the clear pictures – I was never really sure where I was supposed to measure my waist! It sounds silly, but I was always measuring mine too low! This will definitely help!

  82. Erin says:

    Great tutorial – thanks for posting this.

  83. Karen B says:

    Excellent instructions…thanks for the information.

  84. alison says:

    I remember in Grade 10 sewing class we learned how to measure each other for fit, but I only remember measuring bust, waist, hips and inseam. So many fit problems will now be solved!

  85. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the awesome instructions! I can’t wait to get over this fear and make some clothing for myself!

  86. Viv says:

    Very helpful, just to have visuals of where you take these measurements. Thanks!

  87. Michelle says:

    Those are really clear and helpful instructions, thank you!!

  88. Maggie says:

    I really loved the elastic band around the waist. I always have trouble knowing just where to measure the waist.

  89. Liz says:

    Great pictures. The sketches in most directions bewilder me, so this is super helpful.

  90. Jeni says:

    Good Job….I have trouble the the measurement up the back..,alway reunning out of fabric because of the bump..he he

  91. Stefanie says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this. It has been the best tutorial for me to date!

  92. Anne says:

    Very helpful tutorial, I especially liked the little blurb about commercial patterns and what they’re suited for.

  93. Celeste says:

    This is really, really helpful–I would never have figured this out on my own. Thanks so much for a great tutorial!

  94. Amy says:

    Great tutorial!! Thanks

  95. Dana says:

    This came at the perfect time since I’m gearing up to make summer shorts and skirts. I think I’ll start with the skirts they are a bit more forgiving in the hip fit.

  96. Blondie says:

    What a helpful article- I am just getting started making my own clothing and I’d never known how to take measurements. Thanks!

  97. Chassie says:

    Very informative! I can sew lots of stuff, but when it comes to myself, I steer clear, so thank you for the info, makes me feel brave enough to try!

  98. sarahhh says:

    first off…. ready to wear has gone to what is referred to as ‘vanity sizing’. the measurements remain the same but the number on the tag has gone down. It’s just business. Wouldn’t you want to buy pants that made you feel thinner because they were a 4 rather than an 8?
    There is also no consistency in this shift away from the old standardized sizing – this is why you are a 12 at Gap and an 8 at Banana Republic!
    Proportions have actually changed from vintage garments slightly (shoulders tend to be wider, waists not quite so drastically different from hips) because of the new shape of the modern woman (more athletic) and also the shift away from certain ‘shaping’ undergarments which used to be worn…. but you will be happy to know that the lovely figure of Marilyn Monroe was a size 12! Today she would be a 4.

    second is a question about – – er — um – saddlebags. (there. I said it.) how to measure hips? the widest part around my ‘hip’ and backside is one thing, but then there is that little unmentionable lump that comes off the hipbone…..

  99. Jessica D. says:

    This is fabulous! I never did understand what the heck the ‘high bust’ measurement was!

    Being an 18/20 in ready-to-wear, I’m VERY, VERY disappointed with the selection of ‘plus’ sized patterns out there. Most of them are boxy and hideous. No Amy Butler, no Vogue, no Betsy Ross. I can’t even make any of those cute Built By Wendy patterns, which I covet! If I do the math and add according to the ratio measurements between the smaller sizes, will that work?

    Additionally, if someone out there is looking for a niche market that hasn’t been tapped yet, it’s cute, youthful patterns for plus sized gals! 🙂

  100. Thien-Kim says:

    This is a great tutorial! Sometimes people don’t realize their natural waist is higher than where they wear their pants.

  101. Leah says:

    Thank you thank you! This has always been a trouble spot for me and makes me avoid trying clothing. But now maybe I will!

  102. Sue says:

    Long story, but I do have a point.

    Years ago I was in a shoe store where a woman was complaining that the shoes the salesman had previously sold her didn’t fit. He was patient, helped her try on more shoes in a larger size (which was actually her correct size). She got huffy, insisted she didn’t wear that large of a size, and stalked out.

    After she left, he mentioned that she did this quite often, wouldn’t admit her feet were actually that size. He shook his head saying that no where on the outside of the shoe did it say the size, so that it was unlikely anyone else would ever know.

    Same goes with patterns. No one is going to wear the pattern size on the outside–or inside–of their garment. More important to get the fit right. And ready to wear? Just compare a vintage garment to today’s sizes. Ready to wear sizes have changed over the years, too.

  103. Alicia says:

    Thank you. This is helpful.

  104. Alicia says:

    Thank you. This is helpful.

  105. I am so excited about this! While I have made several things for myself, I can never quite get things to fit exactly like I would like them to. I hope y’all cover how to increase the waist size. Because while I generally wear a size 12 or 14 with my bust and hip measurements, my waist is a size16!!!! God, that hurt to type LOL Multiple pregnancies will kill your waistline!

    Oh, and I also noticed that I am a larger size in Voque versus Simplicity or McCall’s. However, I think the measurements are the same. I’d really like to know the answer to this question. It makes me nervous to try any more Vogue patterns.

  106. Jen says:

    This is fantastic! Thanks so much. What’s strange is that I had on my list of things to do to search online for a good tutorial for taking measurements ao I can buy some pants cheap online, and then voila – I look at my Craft magazine rss links and this pops up! Fortuitous!!

  107. Deborah says:

    Thanks for the instructions. I was floored recently when I measured my daughter, who does wear a size 8 in ready made but I had to use size 14 pattern. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s only a NUMBER, why can’t they be consistent?

  108. Laura Covington says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I would love to read more explanation of the “ease” factor since I often can’t get a good fit (even when I do carefully measure myself and pick the appropriate size) because the “finished measurements” of the garment are usuallly so many (many) inches larger than my size. Do you have any recommendations as to how to understand the “ease” factor?

  109. Beth says:

    I love this month’s theme. I have a few patterns for clothes for me that I haven’t tried yet – making clothes for kids is so much easier, they usually don’t have to be fitted! Can’t wait to see what else you will be ‘teaching’ us this month. Thanks!

  110. Sara says:

    wow thanks never really knew how to do that !!!

  111. Libby says:

    Wonderful instructions. Didn’t realize how important it was to measure until I saw the tutorial. Finding out that the ready to wear and pattern sizes differ that much. Now I won’t be so depressed when I go to buy my pattern, since I’m practically the same size as the model and wear a size 6 also.

  112. punchanella says:

    once again, your tutorials are clear and easy to follow.

    and margaret is too cute!

    thanks so much!

  113. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the fabulous instructions. The dancing around bit must be what I forget to do 🙂 I’m sure all my skirts will fit perfectly from here on out!


  114. Amber Addams says:

    This is gonna be a great month!

  115. Stephanie says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve been sewing garments for 20 years and I’m still learning new things with your blog. Thank you!

  116. Barbara says:

    Thanks so much for these clear and concise instructions. I’ll use these with my daughter before I buy patterns for her summer skirts and tops. Now I need instructions on how to adapt those patterns to fit her different from average size!

  117. nandini says:

    This is so helpful!! Am getting a sewing machine soon.. am sure i’ll be using this site a lot!!!

  118. BethieB says:

    Um…I am scared to death to get my measurements taken! What the heck size will I be in patterns if in ready-made clothes I’m a 16?! Sewing month may be put on the back burner in favor of I Need To Lose Some Massive Weight Month…lol.

    Thanks for the tips on exactly how to take measurements. I had no clue. Plus, with all this info and the great pics, I can show my sewing helper (who has no idea which end of a needle to thread) how to measure me. That is, if I get brave enough…

  119. Carrie says:

    Wow, thank you so much for this! I have never had anyone show me the proper way to measure, and it appears that I have not been doing it correctly in the past…maybe that explains why things never fit properly! I also had no idea there was such a difference between pattern sizes and commercial sizing…I would have already made myself a lot more, but I never thought they made patterns in my size so that is what has kept me from purchasing.

  120. Lil' d says:

    Oh, thank you – I’ve just bought some patterns and had no idea the sizes differed from the usual ones. I’d better get my measuring tape out…

  121. Kristin says:

    Pam and Kristin,
    According to their websites, the “big four” pattern manufactures all use the same industry standard measurement chart. I’m not sure if this is a recent development, but their websites do say this.

    Well, that would be great and extremely helpful, wouldn’t it? It has been awhile since I’ve really checked it out. When I used to sew for myself more often, it certainly wasn’t the case. I was always about 2 sizes bigger in a Vogue than a McCalls, but hopefully that has changed!

  122. Elizabeth says:

    Pam and Kristin,
    According to their websites, the “big four” pattern manufactures all use the same industry standard measurement chart. I’m not sure if this is a recent development, but their websites do say this.

  123. Teresa says:

    Great instructions…thank you!

  124. Kristin says:

    Excellent post, Elizabeth and Margaret! Great photos and valuable information! Thank you so much.

    Years ago I took my measurements and wrote them on a small card that I kept in my wallet, so I’d always have them when I hit the pattern section at the store. I agree with Pam–every manufacturer is going to be different, so best to size yourself for each specific pattern.

  125. Amy Hachem says:

    oh wow, thank you! I never realized the huge disparity between “ready to wear” fashions and pattern sizes. I have been sewing a lot of things lately, but NO clothes! Maybe being measured properly will give me the courage to try out a pattern this month with SMS 🙂 (after i pick myself up off the floor from the shock of the SIZE i will be using! lol)

  126. Pam says:

    Yes, the difference in sizing is SO frustrating! Not only is pattern sizing different than store-bought sizing, but it varies between pattern manufacturers. I’m a Simplicity 10, but a Vogue 12 or even 14. I know I should make muslins to check the sizing, but that takes so much time!!

  127. Leah says:

    An excellent start to women’s clothing month. I am seriously so excited about this!

  128. Coralee says:

    thank you so much for this post, I am stepping closer to attempting to sew something for myself to wear (I mostly sew bags and purses etc) and this is a great starting point for me! love the new banner, by the way!

  129. Andrea says:

    well, I am glad I didn’t buy the pattern I was going to buy since it is about 5 inches to small at its largest size. Can I still use it if I increase the bust measurements?

  130. Rebecca says:

    The pattern sizes are far off from “normal” because ready-to-wear sizes have gotten bigger while pattern sizes have stayed the same. Also, pattern sizes are closer to UK sizes if I recall… I wear something like a 2 US and 10 UK.

  131. Audrey says:

    I love the distinction between where you think your waist is and the natural waist. Great dance moves, btw!

  132. Cocoa says:

    Thank you for the wonderful step-by-step instructions for measuring. My daughter wants to make a new dress for herself we found the right pattern but I wasn’t sure on how to measure her correctly for the right size.

  133. Mia says:

    Wow! This is so helpful, thanks so much for doing this!

  134. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Thank you!! Last week I attempted one of the popular Built By Wendy shirts (thank goodness out of muslin, and not the nice black linen I bought). I took my measurements, but thought “I can’t be a 12!”, and made the 6 instead. I could barely pull it over my head. Now I’ll try again with the 12. Great tutorial!

  135. min says:

    Wow! That size 14 would’ve messed me up from the very beginning…I never knew that the sewing measurements were so “off.” I’d kill for Margaret’s measurements! What a sad day when someone so trim wears a size 14! I’ll be shopping in the size 26 department or something. But it’s good to know I don’t have to proclaim that size as my actual size. Whew!

  136. hb says:

    This is great. Now I just need to learn how to make adjustments to patterns when you don’t fit the industry standard 😮

  137. Mellissa says:

    Thanks so much for doing this. I really needed help with taking my own measurements. This helps so much!

  138. Nicole Prevost says:

    can you link the pattern industry sizing chart?

  139. Kristin says:

    Great instructions! It’s nice to have pictures to help clarify!

  140. Alejandra says:

    Thank You so much, I did not know this, can’t wait to keep learning so much more.

  141. Mara says:

    This is really helpful — esp just seeing that someone as tiny as Margaret is a size 14 in pattern sizes. When I took my own measurements, I was shocked at how large a size I needed. Really looking forward to the instructions on how to alter patterns to fit your measurements. I’ve been afraid to try making shirts because I’m not sure how to do this correctly.

  142. Aria says:

    Its wild – the first time I decided to sew something I thought the pattern must surely be wrong… if I wore a size 4 – surely a size 8 ought to fit… Um yeah – NOT! Luckily it was a costume that only had an opening at the back top and I was able to put a white t-shirt under the white regency dress and make it work for that year, but…

    Does anyone know WHY the pattern sizes are so far off of “normal”?? Are older patterns the same way?

  143. Wow thanks for the tips! I’m a newbie sewer and need all the help i can get!

  144. Mandy says:

    WOW! That is fabulous info. I have been collecting patterns for myself, but haven’t attempted any yet – this should be the month. I have a hard time finding clothes to fit me, so this measuring advice is absolutely wonderful. I didn’t know there was such a difference in ready to wear and pattern sizes, this is very helpful since I wear a 0 or 2 in ready to wear – I just returned 3 dresses that were way too big and were the smallest size they had, I now know that I can find a pattern to fit me and make myself something!!!! Thanks so much.

  145. Heather B says:

    Wow! this is great. I’ve been scared to make anything for myself – I wasn’t sure if I would be able to customize it for myself. You’ve made this process seem doable by just understanding the initial step. With the help of this month at SMS, I may actual make something for myself. Thank you!

  146. Joy says:

    Clear, concise and very helpful!
    I truly laughed out loud at the dancing around with waist elastic part 2.
    I never learned the elastic around the waist tip and didn’t know about
    the differences in patterns and ready to wear sizes.

  147. margaret m. says:

    this is so helpful. I have never made any type of garment and this will really help me to measure myself or anyone else I might decide to dress.

  148. amanda says:

    this is very helpful! thank you, elizabeth. I usually only measure bust, waist, and hips. I never knew the other things.

  149. Lynne in NC says:

    Wow! this is very helpful. I’m sharing this with friends. This is the way to take accurate measurements. Thanks ladies, great job.
    Peace, Lynne in NC

  150. PrutsPrinses says:

    Very beautiful how to, it is nice to see how you have to do it on a real person. Looking forward to the rest of this month’s posts!!!!

  151. Joanne says:

    Very timely month for me this time, since I’m starting to make more clothes. This is something I’ve never really done properly but I will now.

  152. Meream says:

    brings back memories of home ec 😀

  153. Bron says:

    Fabulously clear and easy instructions! I particularly love the ‘jingly’ dance photo!

« »

Subscribe to the sewmamasew.com newsletter

Sewing inspiration, projects, events and offers delivered conveniently to your email.


Get the latest sewmamasew.com news via