Lesson 3 How to Take Body Measurements


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You have decided to sew clothes by yourself. The first thing you need to do is totake body measurements to find out the size you wear. After you have made your mind about the model idea that you want to sew you need to make a pattern or use a ready one. In any case, you need to know the exact sizes of a person for whom you are sewing. According to the sizes or measurements that you have taken, you can build a pattern or amend the ready pattern.

What will you need to take measurements?

• A tape measure.


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• Paper for writing down the data.

• A pencil.

Guide to Taking Body Measurements

Your customer needs to stand straight and freely in order to take exact body measurements. He/She should not bend the back too much or take in the stomach unnaturally. Remember that your model is going to wear the thing you will sew. If the clothes are uncomfortable and tight, your work may turn out to be in vain.

To take the body measurements the model may be wearing underwear or thin clothes. If the model is wearing correcting underwear, the sizes may vary when they wear regular underwear. This should be taken into account.

All measurements of circles and width are taken in whole but written as a half size. All the length measurements are taken and written in a whole size.

The names of measurement are written as abbreviations, consisting of the first letters of the measurement name.

The Main Measurements You’ll Need for Building a Pattern

The Main Measurements• Half Neck (HN). To take this measurement you need to tape measure the base of the neck. Divide the number by 2 to get half neck width.

• Half Chest (HC). To get the measurement of half chest you need to measure the horizontal circle passing across the line of shoulder blades and the most jutting out bust/chest parts. Then divide this number by 2.

• Half Waist (HW). Run the tape measure across the narrowest line of the waist and divide the number by 2.

• Half Hip (HH). This measurement is taken across the most jutting out parts of the hips and buttocks. Then divide this number by 2 to get a half measurement.

• Half Width of Back (HWB). This is the distance from armhole to armhole passing across the line of shoulder blades.

• Half Width of Front (HWF). This is a horizontal line passing a bit higher than the bust from armhole to armhole.

• Sleeve Length (SL). The model needs to bend the arm slightly in the elbow. The line of measurement passes from the shoulder through the elbow and ends at the wrist.

Back Waist Length• Back Waist Length (BWL). This is a vertical line which is measured from the neck base to the narrowest waist part.

Front Waist Length • Front Waist Length (FWL). The front length is measured by placing the tape measure to the base of the neck and the other end to the narrowest part of the waist.

Control Measurement • Control Measurement (CM). Control measurement is a checking size. It is measured as follow: the tape measure is passed from the right to the left going around the neck across the jutting out part of the chest.

The Main Measurements

Then this number is divided by 2 and the difference of back neck and front levels is subtracted.

• Clothes Length (CL). The length can be measured like this: put the beginning of the tape measure to the nape of the model from the back and the end to the desired length of the clothes.


Every person is individual and has his own proportions and measurements. The pattern and clothes producers always bring a human body to certain standards. The mentioned measurements will help you to build your own patterns. Also knowing these measurements, you will be able to correct the existing pattern with average sizes.

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