Frustration levels would be high if you created an item of clothing only to find it doesn’t fit due to inaccurate measurements. It may be tempting to rush or skip this step, assuming you know your shape, but it is essential to get a perfect fit.
What Do I Need?
For accurate measurements you need a full mirror, pen, paper and measuring tape. Some people find it helpful to have string too. When measurements are complete and you are ready to prepare your dressmaking fabric, ensure you select the right scissors, as discussed in The Independent.
How Do I Measure My Body Shape?
Ensure all but the closest-fitting clothing has been removed so measurements aren’t affected by any substantial clothing. Ideally, this will mean just underwear, including your usual bra, so your everyday body shape is recorded. As you start measuring, try to relax. Keep breathing normally and hold the measuring tape against your body, but don’t pull it too tight.
The minimum required measurements for most projects are bust, waist and hip, but there are some extras that can be helpful to record and refer back to for the best fit possible.
Hip – look in the mirror to ensure you take the hip measurement around the fullest part of the hip and bottom. It is often lower than you may suspect, which is where the mirror can prove very useful.
Waist – the waist measurement is the narrowest part of the torso. If you are having trouble identifying the right spot, it can be useful to tie a piece of string around your waist. Alternatively, stand up tall and tilt to one side – your waist is the bit where your torso bends.
Make sure you record the measurements so you can keep them and refer back. Before starting a project, think about the dressmaking fabrics you will be using as they can vary widely in terms of stretch. For complete beginners there are some wonderful resources online regarding what are dressmaking fabrics.
Whilst the three measurements discussed above are a good starting point, there are others that could be helpful, particularly as you get more confident and ambitious. Further measurements you may wish to consider include shoulder, upper bust, arm length, wrist, neck, inside leg and waist to ankle. Good luck!