How to Find Your Waist and Other Measurements
Experienced sewers know accurate measurements are the basis for good garment fit. Learning to find your waist, as well as measuring shoulder width, armhole depth, and hip circumference all go a long way in getting a great fit.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the measurement methods described by the sewing pattern industry, and even some fitting books, can be difficult to perform precisely. Further, the reference points can bear little relation to the way individuals prefer to wear clothes. Also, the more your figure varies from the pattern or garment industry’s standardized figure, the more difficult it is to take accurate measurements. For better garment fit, I think it’s time to reconsider where and how you take certain body measurements.
Throughout my years teaching fashion design and working with patternmaking software, I have witnessed the results of guesswork and inaccuracy when it comes to where and how measurements are taken. Based on my experiences, I believe that measuring methods should be flexible, not static.
Understanding how your body relates to the industry’s standard figure is vital to assessing pattern fit and making alterations, as well as to create flattering visual illusions through garment fit. Measuring to accommodate your figure’s proportions or to suit your fit preferences yields a better result than relying on the industry’s standard methods.
There are six measurements you may want to rethink. I’ll review the standard approach for each and explore alternative or refined measuring methods that better accommodate your actual body to help you achieve your best fit.
Taking the most accurate measurements requires patience, some knowledge, and a capable assistant. Compare your previous measurements with the ones taken using these methods, and then refer to your favorite fitting source to make the best alterations.
Accurate shoulder width