How to take Measurements Correctly.

So you have the perfect dress envisioned for your wedding day only problem is you can't seem to find it in any shops. What to do? Hire a seamstress, of course!Now if your seamstress has a boutique you would go in, chat and get to know one another, discussing fabrics and dress styles, what would look good on you in the way of color and cuts and price.  Afterward she'd have you stand on a small pedestal and start taking measurements. If your seamstress is over the internet then you carefully take them yourself and send them to her. I've included this article in my blog because taking measurements is an area of knowledge that most girls have not needed till now or avoid.

In the field of sewing the old adage of "measure twice, cut once", is sage advice. While I'm not a sage, I will try to impart some guidelines to help you out.

  • First off, never take your own measurements. Always have someone else help you. If you feel you are in over your head ask someone who knows how to sew to be your assistant.
  • It's a good idea not to wear bulky clothes or clothes so tight that it distorts your shape while measuring. Be sure to wear a comfortable, well fitting bra.
  • Stand normally. Holding your arms out like a windmill will change certain measurements. Then you will have a garment that only looks good when you hold your arms out. 
  • When you measure, don't pull the tape tight. If the skin is dipping in on each side of the tape, it's too tight. Which means your dress will be too tight. Your seamstress knows how to make something close fitting, she needs your measurements to be accurate. 
  • Write your numbers in pencil. After you've double checked them they can be written in pen.
  • Tie a string or cord around your waist, not too tight, not too loose. Bend and twist to get it to settle on your natural waistline. Don't go by your belly button. Not everyone's belly button is near their natural waist.
  • If you are planing on wearing heels with your dress, make note of the heel height and wear heels of that height while measuring. You posture changes with different heel heights, therefore, your measurements as well.

You should have on hand a measuring tape, your string on your waist, a ruler about 1" wide, and some safety pins.

  Okay, you're ready to get started....

Your name, date, wedding date, contact information, and bra size should all be filled in.
  • Now, with each of the major measurements(bust, waist, hips) you need the total measurement, plus a front, and a back. The front and back are taken in the same place you took the total circumference measurement at, only it's the amount measured from your side seam on one side to the side seam on the other, in the front and then the back.  The side seam is the seam on your clothes that starts under your arm and runs straight down your side.  If you have trouble finding it or your side seam isn't straight, tie a string around your arm near the shoulder leaving a long piece hanging down. Tie a pen or something light on the end so it hangs straight. Now hold your arm out like a scarecrow. Mark this line on your clothes using safety pins. Your front and back measurements must add up to the total circumference measurement, if it doesn't measure again, carefully.
  •  Neck Diameter: (A)This measurement should be taken at the base of the neck. At the base of your neck there is a dip where the collar bones meet. This is what is referred to as the hollow (as in: measure from hollow to floor). At the base of you neck in the back, if you look down as much as you can you should feel a vertebrae that sticks out more than the others. If you have a necklace (not a choker)or string lay it around the base of the neck. It should lay on the vertebrae in the back and across the hollow in the front. Measure your string or necklace.
  • Neck Width: (B)Measure from the back how wide the neck is. See the little drawing to right.

  • Bust: You'll want to measure all the way around at your widest point.  (this would be a good time to put a safety pin on to mark where you took the bust measurement since you will need it again later)

  • High Bust: This measurement is taken above the bust,  just under the arms. It is an essential number for preventing your dress from gaping at the neckline.

  •  Bust Point to Bust Point: This one is exactly like it sounds girls. Measure from one point to the next.

  •  Under Bust: Measure just under the bust all the way around.

  • Shoulder to Bust:  Measure from the top of your shoulder to where you measured for your bust. (now, aren't you glad you put that safety pin there?)

  •  Bust to Waist: Measure from the place you took your bust measurement to the string at your waist.

  •  Waist: Measure your waist all the way around. (Don't forget to get front and back measurements while you're there.)

  • Hip:  Measure your hips at their widest point. This point usually lays somewhere between 7 and 9 inches below the waist. Don't forget the front and back measurements while you're there. (You may want to put another safety pin here for future measurements.)

  • Waist to Hip: Measure from your waist string down to the safety pin marking your hip measurement.

  • Hip to Knee: Measure from where you took your hip measurement to mid knee.

  •  Knee to Floor: Measure from where you measured mid knee to the floor. If you're wearing heels, take them off and measure again. Record both measurements, noting which is flatfooted.

  • Armcye to Armcye:  Okay, don't panic. The armcye is the arm circle, or an imaginary circle around where your arm connects to your torso. You want to measure from one to the other across the front of the chest (front armcye to armcye) about 3 inches below the hollow and then again across the back(back armcye to armcye) about 4 inches below the neckline.  If you'll notice on the little drawing, the armcye (dotted line) is where sleeves are attached to your clothes. At the top of the shoulder (where the dotted line is) place a safety pin for your shoulder seam measurement later.

  •  Front Neck to Waist: Measure from the hollow to your waist string.
  • Back Neck to Waist: Measure from the vertebrae at the back of your neck down to your waist string.

  •  Front Shoulder Seam to Waist: Measure from the top of the shoulder, over the bust, to the waist.
  • Back Shoulder Seam to Waist: Measure from the top of the shoulder down the back to the waist.

  •  Armpit to Waist:  (A)This is where the ruler comes in. With your arm down, hold a ruler as high up under your armpit as you can, so that one end sticks out in front and the other out the back. Now, measure from the bottom edge of the ruler to your waist string.
  • Armpit to Elbow: (B)This measurement is required if your dress has sleeves. Hold your arm out like a scarecrow. Now measure the underside of the arm from the armpit to the elbow.

  • Shoulder Seam:  Measure from the pin on your shoulder to the base of your neck(where you measured for the neck diameter). You should not measure higher up the neck than a regular Tshirt collar would go.
  • Top of Shoulder to Elbow: Measure from your safety pin down to your elbow along the top of your arm.
  • Upper Arm: Measure around your bicep
  • Elbow: Measure around your elbow with your arm slightly bent, like in the little drawing.
  • Elbow to Wrist: Measure from your elbow down to your wrist.
  • Wrist: Measure around your wrist.

I hope this was helpful. I do apologize to anyone who feels that my succinct tutorial has caused them to lose their marbles. If you need any help please email me, I'll be glad to help.
For a measurement chart click here.
Feel free to download it, fill it in and then email it back.