One of the main reasons why people sew their own clothing is to get a perfect fit. There is no doubt when your outfit fits perfectly—this makes you look and feel great. However, getting that perfect fit requires one to know how to take measurements. And the good thing with this is, you only need a tape measure, pen, and a piece of paper to get the job done.

There’s one mistake that most people make when sewing their own outfits—if you wear a size 9 ready-to-wear outfit doesn’t mean that you must buy a size 9 pattern. Behind every sewing pattern there’s a measurement chart that can assist you to choose the right size. Always make sure that you factor in your body measurements if you want your clothes to fit properly after you are done.

Before choosing any pattern size, make sure that you know your waist, hip, and bust measurements. And, when taking these measurements, it’s always advisable to wear well-fitting clothes, as well as underwear and bra—this ensures that your measurements are as accurate as possible.

With that said, let’s look at the guide to taking sewing measurements.

Neck and bust

  • Measuring your neck – to measure your neck, pull your measuring tape around the middle, and make sure it comes from the back of your neck to the front. The tape should sit at the base of your neck, just above your collarbone.
  • Measuring your bust – place the tape around the back, and then pull it to the front. Make sure you pull the tape around the fullest point or the apex of your bust. The tape should be placed parallel to the floor, making horizontal straight lines across your back and front. If someone is helping you take the measurements, record your readings at the front while your hands are down at the sides.

Hips and waist

  • Measuring your hips – one thing to keep in mind when measuring your hips—it’s not where your hip bone is located, but the largest area of your hip area.
  • Measuring your waist – when measuring your waist, avoid measuring where your pants start, as this isn’t your normal waist. Your normal waist is the smallest area of your torso, which is just under the rib cage, close to the belly button. When taking the measurements, ensure that your tape is even across the back and front, as well as parallel to the floor.

Front waist

To know the length of your front waist, start taking your measurement from the neck’s side base—this should be at the top of your shoulder, going downwards towards the waist level. The tape should pass over your bust area and it should remain straight. When measuring the depth of your bust, start at the same shoulder point, and measure down the fullest area of your bust point.

Back waist

Here, you will need assistance. You can ask your friend or spouse to measure your back waist length from the nape of your neck, down the spine, to your waist. To know the size of your back width, measure between your underarms (your tape should be horizontal).

Shoulder length

Typically, this is the shoulder seam length. To get this measurement, place the tape from the base of the neck, in the middle of the shoulders, and along the tip of your shoulders. In case you have a challenge in finding the tip of your shoulder, get an outfit that fits you well, and has a sleeve and collar—then, measure the outfit’s shoulder length.

Arm length

This is an essential measurement when planning to sew a long-sleeved outfit. Ensure that you measure from your shoulder to the wrist, with the arm slightly bent. This allows for movement once you sew the sleeves.


This is also essential when sewing your sleeve. To get the measurement of your sleeve, you need to measure your arm’s circumference just above the elbow.


Your wrist measurement will allow you to adjust the cuffs appropriately. To get the wrist measurements, you should measure the circumference of the wrist where the sleeve ends.

Inseam measurements

When sewing trousers, you will need the measurements of your leg’s inside area. Here, you will be measuring from your crotch to the floor. In case you want to wear heels with the trousers, ensure that you add the height of the heel to the measurement.

Outseam measurements

This is the waist to ankle measurement. Now, unlike the inseam measurement that gives you the exact length of the pants, the outseam measurement might be shorter when taken from the waist. Usually, the finished pants won’t raise to your waistline. This measurement, however, is very useful when sewing skirts or maxi dresses. And, just like inseam measurements, longer hem allowances are recommended when taking the measurement. When sewing pants, make sure that the outseam allowance is equivalent with the inseam allowance. Now, with these simple measurements, it will be easier for you to find the right patterns like the clothing patterns by Fayma, which should allow you to create the outfit you want.