We all know clothing in stores do not have a size standard. I am a size 24/26 and I can go to 4 different stores and pick up something in my size and each piece will fit me differently. It is frustrating to say the least. The good thing about making your own clothes is that the clothes don’t have a size, but are based on measurements. Before you can draft your own pattern you must get real with your measurements. Here are the needed measurements for pattern drafting, best practices, and some encouragement. I have also included a free printable so you always have your measurements on hand.
Must-Have Measurements for Pattern Drafting
These are the measurements I took in the beginning. These measurements helped me draft my first dress pattern.
Neck: To measure your neck, pull the tape around the middle, coming from the back to the front. It should sit at the base of the neck above the collar bone.
Bust: Measure the bust at the fullest part. Measure all around the body (total circumference). Relax your arms at your sides, measure the fullest part of your bust, keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
Chest:Measurement right below the bust.
Waist: Measure the waist where the body bends. It helps to bend side to side to identify exactly where to measure.
Crotch Length: Measure from vertically from front waist to back waist. Do not make this measurement snug. I took this measurement because I want to make shorts soon.
Skirt Length: Start measurement at your waist. You can take several measurements for this one because skirts can be different lengths. Take one for mid-thigh length, above the knee, below the knee, calf length, and floor length.
Hips: Measure the hips at the fullest part, usually around the seat.
Shoulder: This is your shoulder seam length. Measure from the base of your neck right in the middle of your shoulder (from a bird’s eye view) and along to the tip of your shoulder.
Arm Length: Measure from the top of the arm (find the bone at the shoulder/top of arm) to the wrist (find the bone at the side of the wrist), with the elbow bent by placing your hand on your hip.
Wrist: Wrist measurement for long sleeved garments. Also helpful for jewelry making.
Inseam: Measure from your crotch to the bottom of your ankle.
Outseam: The Outseam is measured form the level of the crotch to the top of the shoe, along the outside of the leg.
Best Practices for Getting Measurements for Pattern Drafting
Do not measure yourself. Get a trusted friend/seamstress to do the measurements for you.
Check your posture. Stand upright in a relaxed position with your feet together. When measuring, breathe normally and make sure the tape is comfortably fitted to the body.
Wear the undergarments you will be wearing for the items being drafted.
Wear thin clothes to get more accurate measurements.
Always measure both sides of the body. Use the larger of the two measurements. If the two measurements are very different, record them both. You can create separate patterns for each side and blend them together.
Getting Over the Numbers
I dreaded measurement day. With vanity sizing I wear a 6 at Torrid, I wear anywhere from a 24-28 in other clothing brands and sometimes smaller depending on where I am shopping. There are not vanity sizes when taking measurements. These measurements are the actual inches, the actual size of the body. I did my measurements with a couple friends that I trust, love, and know that they value me regardless of my size. That helped a little but not completely.
I got over the number shock once I finished my first dress. This dress for custom made for me. Because of the measurements I was able to wear something that fit me perfectly, not just in some places.
Numbers are just that, numbers! They don’t define me.
Yes, my shape and imperfections are part of what makes me who I am but I am not just that. I am still on this journey of loving me, the PCOS me, the hypothyroid me, the me who also does some emotional eating because of an abusive past and anxiety issues. It is easy to love the creative, smart, and caring me but when you add all the other aspects it is harder.
My new dress that was made just for me helped me love all of me!
Must- Have Measurement Free Printable
Here is your FREE Printable Measurement Sheet. I hope this helps you start creating lots of clothes for yourself.
If you are looking for more information on Plus Size Pattern Design and Fitting, Craftsy has a great online class that comes with all 11 video lessons,Vogue 8815 peplum top pattern, and much more!
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