Where do I start with body measurements?
First remove any bulky clothing, otherwise your measurements won’t be accurate. Ideally just wear your underwear and whichever is your day-to-day bra so your bust measurements will reflect your typical body shape.
Get a reliable tape measure! Very important - from personal experience, I grabbed a new tape measure as I couldn’t find my usual one, to measure one dress. The measurements felt a little off to me, so I decided to check again once I had my usual tape. It turns out that there was about half an inch - an inch difference!
Most reliable tape measures will be from a haberdashery or fabric shop - something to remember when measuring. Another alternative would just be a piece of string and a ruler; using the string as tape, and then checking the measurements of that against the ruler would also work.
Standing in front of a full length mirror, remember to wiggle around a bit first to relax your body. Hold the measuring tape snug against your body but not too tight and don’t forget to breathe normally!
What measurements should I take?
The measurements for the dresses on my website are the basic Bust, Waist, Hip, and Shoulder to Hem measurements. The Foldline www.thefoldline.com gives a good description of how these are taken:
Bust – this is the measurement around your body across the fullest part of your bust, often your nipples. Make sure you keep the measuring tape straight as you record the number so that it doesn’t dip at the back. Check this in a full length mirror.
Waist – this is the measurement around your body at the narrowest part of your torso. If you are having difficulty finding your waist, stand tall and lean over to one side – the point where your body bends is your waist. Sometimes it can help to tie a piece of string or ribbon around your waist to find the right position.
Hips – your hip measurement is taken around your body at the fullest point of your hips/bottom. It’s probably lower down than you think and not around the top of your hip bone.
All the measurements that I take are taken with the garment laid flat and then doubled (apart from the Shoulder to Hem measurement). I take the Shoulder to Hem measurement as follows: Shoulder to Hem - the measurement taken from the top of your shoulder down to the hem of the garment.
What other body measurements would be useful to know?
There are some other really useful measurements you can take; always feel free to ask me any questions about the dresses as each garment will behave differently depending on the cut, maker, fabric so it is always really handy to know your own measurements to ensure the best fit dress for you:
Upper bust – this is the measurement around your body that is taken above your bust. Keep the measuring tape straight and measure just under your armpits. If you have a larger or smaller bust this might be useful for doing full or small bust adjustments to bodices.
Upper hip – this is measured around 2-3″ below your waist and is useful when measuring for trousers and skirts that finish above the hip.
Neck – Measure all the way around your neck above your collar bone. This is a useful one for particular for any collared garments.
Shoulder – the shoulder measurement is good to know in case you have wider or narrower shoulders than the ‘standard sizes’. Measure from the point your shoulder meets your neck to the top edge of your shoulder.
Arm – measuring the full length of your arm from the top edge of your shoulder to your wrist.
Wrist – measure around your wrist just above your hand.
Front bodice – measure from your clavicle (where the two bones meet at your neck) to your waist, down the centre front of your body (avoiding the bust).
Back bodice – measure from your nape (back of the neck where the skull meets your neck) to your waist, down the centre back of your body.
Waist to knee – this measurement is useful for the length of skirts/skirt part of a dress. Measure from your natural waist to just above your knee.
Waist to ankle – this is a useful measurement to have for maxi dresses. Measure from your natural waist to your ankle.
You can find a detailed diagram here to show the measurement points.