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Am I taking my measurements correctly?

Midge | Posted in Fitting on

Hi: I’ve been sewing for about 6 years now and fitting still eludes me. I am about 5’7″, 125 lbs., so basically a thin, tallish type–when I take my measurements I get 34″ bust, 30″ inch wasit, 33 1/2 hips, which, with your typical McCalls/Butterick/Vogue patterns corresponds to a size 12 for the bust, size 16 for the waist, and a size 8 for the hips. Can this possibly be right, or am I just measuring wrong? (I usually wear a size 4 in ready-to-wear).  Thanks, midge


  1. Bernie1 | | #1

    Midge: I tried to post an answer earlier. Hope this one goes through. You are typical of the rest of us - not one standard size. I would recommend checking Nancy Zieman's book on fitting which uses a pivot and slide method and has you select your size based on an across the upper chest measurement. When you measure, hold the tape measure snug but not tight. Choose patterns by your upper bust measurement otherwise the garment will fit in the bust but the neck and shoulders will be huge. Choose skirts by your hip measurement and take out the waist. Some folks will say select your size by the waist and take it in for the hip but I find it much easier to let a pattern out than take it in. Check out Loes Hinse designs which flatter your type of figure.

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Hi, Midge,

    Bernie is steering you right --don't expect you'll ever be just one size. My measurements happen, in fact, to be very close to a typical pattern size, and still I can't wear anything as is. Humph!

    Remember, also, that the measurements printed on the pattern envelope aren't necessarily the ones that will fit or suit you best. Before cutting and sewing, take flat pattern measurements in the areas that count, and see how they compare to a garment whose fit you like. You might want more or less ease than the pattern provides, even if it's at the "ideal" size.

    I've read that you should pick pants and skirt sizes by the hip measurement and adjust for the waist. This ought to accomodate for the size of your posterior, which is usually more proportional to your hips than your waist. E.g., if your waist is larger, and you buy the pattern to fit there, you'll probably be able to take in the hips but still wind up with a very saggy derriere.

    Good luck!


  3. SewNancy | | #3

    I agree with Bernie.  Adding to your waist is easier and no saggy rear! Fitting  has been one of the hardest parts of sewing to learn.  Learning to read the wrinkles is a skill to aspire to.  I also like the Fitting for Any Body and Pants for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto.  Also, if you can find it Fitting & Pattern Alteration by Liechty, Pottberg, and Rasband.    I bought it years ago at Waechters Silk Shop in Asheville, NC.  Don't know if they still carry it but they are on the web.  You are certainly not alone with fitting problems, my library will attest to that!


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