Great patterns start with accurate measurements
One of the greatest things about creating your own clothes is getting a personalized fit, and that starts with accurate measurements. Make sure you have a good tape measure, straight pins, and a body-hugging outfit. It’s difficult to take good measurements if you are wearing bulky clothing because the tape measure needs to wrap rather snugly against your body (but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable or alters your size).
Having a friend help you is easier than taking your own measurements, but as long as you have a mirror you can take them yourself. Make sure you stand naturally with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. And, when you are taking width-wise measurements, make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor. A slight slant of the tape can throw off the measurement and cause fitting problems later.
Prepare to take and record all the measurements described. Keep them in a safe place so you can refer to them while drafting your designs. I have a notebook in my work area where my measurements live, so I can refer to them for each new project.
Tip : You can tie ribbons around your true waist and hips to mark them for future measurements.
BODY WIDTH MEASUREMENTS
Total true-waist circumference (A). Your true waist is probably higher than you think. It is usually the narrowest part of your body, slightly above your belly button. Your master pattern (or sloper) will be drafted up to this point. Don’t worry; you’ll learn how to lower (and raise) the waistline if you want to. While you have the measuring tape around your body, use straight pins or a temporary fabric marker to mark your true waistline at the centerfront, center-back, and side seams of your body-hugging garment. This will help you remember where you measured your true waist when it’s time to take length measurements.
Front waist (C–1). Measure your front waist from side seam to side seam across the front of your body.
Back waist (C–2). Measure your back waist from side seam to side seam across the back of your body (not shown).
Total hip circumference (B). Your hip circumference measurement is taken around the fullest part of your hips, between 7″ and 9″ below your true waist. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor all the way around your body and mark your hipline at the center-front, center-back, and side seams with a pin or a temporary fabric marker. This will help you remember where you measured your hip circumference so you can take accurate length measurements later.
Front hip (D–1). Measure your front hips from side seam to side seam across the front of your body.
Back hip (D–2). Measure your back hips from side seam to side seam across the back of your body (not shown).
BODY LENGTH MEASUREMENTS
Front waist to hip (E–1). This is the distance from your true waist to your hips along your center front.
Back waist to hip (E–2). This is the distance from your true waist to your hips along your center back (not shown).
Side waist to hips (G). This is the distance from your true waist to your hips along your side seam.
Waist to knee (F). This is the distance from your true waist to the top of your knee. Your master skirt pattern (sloper) will be drafted to your knee, but it is easy to change the skirt length to suit your designs.
Note : When added together, your front and back waist should equal your total true waist. The same goes for your hip measurements. Double-check them to make sure they are accurate. If they are terribly off, you are probably reaching too far (or not far enough) over the sides when you are taking the front and back measurements. If you’re having trouble, you can always mark with straight pins where you start and stop each measurement at the sides.
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