Knowing how to take measurements isn’t only useful when you want to sew something for yourself, it’s also super useful when you want to order clothes online!
In the shop; you can leave your measurements to get a customized item that will fit you better than the standard sizes. So, here’s a crash course on how to take measurements and what every measurement means.

Of course, the most easy thing to do is to have someone take measurements. It’s easier to see if the tape measure is level and you get more accurate measurements. However, if you can’t find anyone to join your measuring party, you can take most measurements on your own!
You’ll need a flexible tape measure, which you can get in most craft stores. You probably already have one!  Also keep some paper and a pen handy!

take your measurements

The image above shows a toned down version of measurements you could take for a good fit. When you order a bespoke item and we have multiple studio fittings, I’ll take more measurements, but for ordering clothes online, this usually isn’t necessary.

There are widths and lengths. Let’s get started with the widths.


From top to bottom, first  you measure your shoulder width. This goes from your neck to the little bone on top of your shoulder point. Usually, for a grown woman, this is somewhere between 10 and 18 cm. A good fit at the shoulders gives you a more polished look.

Now, Let’s take your bust width measurement. This measurement is one that you take around the body, so it includes your bust and your back! Make sure you keep the tape measure level, and you keep it at the fullest part of your bust.

Also important: the underbust measurement. This is the width of the full ribcage, right under your bust. This measurement might be familiar as it’s  your bra  band size (in European sizing) The difference between your bust widht and your underbust width makes up your cup size in bra sizing.

Next up is the waist measurement. This one too goes around the body. You take this measurement approximately at belly button hight. Keep the tape measure level and make sure it’s nice and comfortable around your waist.

Last width is the hip width. This is taken around the fullest part of your bum. For me, it’s usually a bit lower since I have some fierce thighs. You need to check for yourself where you widest part is!  Again, keep the tape level when you take measurements!

Length measurements

Now onto the length measurements. First up: your arm length: this is only necessary when you have a garment with sleeves. You measure from the bone on your shoulder point  untill your elbow and from your elbow to your wrist. Make sure your arm is slightly bend and you use the outside of the arm to measure. If you want a 3/4 sleeve length or another length: measure the desired length instead of all the way to the wrist.

Next up is the front length is the length from the middle of your shoulder to your waist. If you find your waist seam riding up on dresses at the front, you might need a longer front bodice. If you provide me with this measurement, I’ll make sure your top is the desired length.

The back length goes from the middle of your shoulder to your waist at the back; This is one of those measurements where you’ll need someone to help you out. If you often have a pile of fabric pooling above your bum in store-bought dresses, chance is that the bodice of your dress is to long in the back and needs shortening. If you provide me with the back length measurement, I’ll make sure to adapt your garment for a better fit!

Waist to knee Length/Waist to floor length.
The waist to knee-length is taken from your waist to the bottom of your knee. The waist to floor length is taken from your waist to the floor. This measurement is basically so I’ll know how long your skirt or pants need to be. A midi skirt length can be very different between someone who’s 160 cm or someone who’s 180 cm!  So, to make sure nobody is wearing a miniskirt when it should have been a knee-length skirt, make sure you measure the desired skirt length!


This was a short intro to taking measurements! If you have any more questions, please let me know!


–> Did you find this useful? Check out the Happy Mail for more interesting articles like this one!

–> Are you a sewist yourself: check out my review on Fitting Solo for a lot more fitting techniques.