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How to Measure Yourself


Measure yourself to determine the proper size to start with and any immediate adjustments to make. You may know your size for ready-to-wear clothing, but pattern sizing is completely different!

Measuring high bust

Measuring high bust

Measuring hips

Measuring hips


Measure yourself when starting a new project. Measure the person that you’re sewing for, when sewing for someone other than yourself. You’ll need a measuring tape, a mirror, notepaper and pencil, and a friend to help you, if there’s someone around who’s willing!

There is no alternative to measuring yourself! Sure, you might not want to get out the tape measure. But it’s the only way to figure out which size to make. Sewing pattern sizes aren’t the same as store-bought clothing sizes, and sizing can vary between pattern companies.

Wear the undergarments that you plan to wear under the finished garment. If your dress requires a special bra or foundation garments, measure yourself wearing that bra and undergarments.

Tips + Notes

  • If possible, get a friend to help you measure yourself. It’s a lot easier to have help!
  • Don’t pull the tape measure too tightly. You should be able to take a breath in and out.
  • Don’t be tempted to cheat on your measurements. They’re only numbers, and accuracy is important to getting the right fit. Write down the real measurements from the tape measure, no matter what they are—even if they’ve increased since the last time you measured. You’ll only be cheating yourself—and making it harder to fit—if you don’t use accurate measurements.
  • If you already have your measurements recorded, but it’s been a while since the last time you measured yourself, measure again. Even if it seems like nothing has changed, your measurements may have changed slightly.
  • To learn how to measure a sewing pattern to determine a garment’s finished measurements, see page link.


Wear underwear or a slip or other snug-fitting clothing. Don’t measure over your regular clothes or your measurements will end up much larger than you need.

How to measure yourself (1)


The first measurement will be the bust. Measure this around the widest part of your bustline, making sure the tape is straight around the back. (This is where having a mirror comes in handy!) If it dips down, your measurement will end up larger than your actual body.

How to measure yourself (2)


While working on your top half, also measure your high bust. If you are especially busty, you may want to choose the pattern size for your high bust size and adjust for a full bust. This picture demonstrates the high bust position. You want to loop the tape measure above the bust in front and under the shoulder blades in the back, where your bra sits. The tape measure is not straight for this measurement but angled upward at the front.

How to measure yourself (3)


Measure your natural waistline, not where you wear your pants. Bend at the side, and the string or ribbon around your waist will slip into your natural waistline. That’s where you want to measure.

How to measure yourself (4)


Loop the tape measure around the widest part of your hips. Make sure it’s straight around your rear end, not dipping down or pulling upward. Again, it helps to use the mirror as a guide, to make sure the tape is straight.

How to measure yourself (5)


For skirts, measure from your waistline to the desired skirt length. You may want to measure a skirt from your wardrobe that is a length you like. For trousers, measure the inseam from the crotch to the floor while wearing the shoes you plan to wear. Compare this measurement against the inseam of a pair of trousers that you like.

How to measure yourself (6)


For dresses and blouses, measure from the bump at the nape of your neck to your waist for the back waist length. This measurement is often noted on patterns so you can adjust above the waist if needed.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine