For ArtistsHow toLearn the Basics

How to Measure Your Body (or Someone Else’s!)

measuring tape, ruler and fabric

Taking accurate body measurements is the only way to ensure that your clothes fit properly and comfortably – and size charts can be your best friend when it comes to ensuring your new clothes look and feel great.

Whether you are looking at making your own clothing or you want to ensure that the clothes you buy online will fit you properly, knowing how to take your measurements is a great skill to have – and it is super easy to do.

Each piece of our customised clothing has a corresponding size chart. These size charts aren’t just there to look nice, they are wonderfully useful tools, which will help you create a piece of customised clothing that fits perfectly to your body. However, there are a lot of numbers and measurements on these charts, which can look a bit confusing if you don’t understand what they mean.

learning how to measure

Not all sizes are created equal

We have all been there. you go into one shop, try on a pair of size 12 jeans and they fit brilliantly. You then go into another shop and try on a skirt, only the size 12 doesn’t fit and you need to buy a size 14. No, you haven’t grown a dress size in a day. Standard dress sizes are not all the same. What is a size 10 in one store, might be a size 8 in another store. These standard sizes can make us feel great or terrible, depending on what size fits. This is why we say, “size is just a number!” It is not an accurate measurement of your body. The only way to know what size you truly are is by learning how to take measurements of your body.

Once you get to know your proportions, you can use them to ensure you have the perfect fit, every time. In this article we want to help you learn how to take your measurements and what to avoid to ensure they don’t go wrong.

What you need to take measurements

You only need a few bits, which you probably already have lying around the house:

  • A soft tape measure – any cheap tape measure will do, if it is soft and not the rigid kind
  • Paper and a pencil/pen for making notes
  • Underwear and a bra, so that your measurements are the most accurate. If you would rather stay clothed then make sure you are wearing thin, fitted clothing
  • A friend if you don’t feel confident doing it by yourself

How to take measurements

For basic clothing, there are 5 main measurements to take, for men and women. These can then go on to include detailed measurements, such as wing span, inseam, and shoulders, but for now, we are going to focus on the main 5, or the main 3 for women.

  1. Bust (for women)
  2. Chest (for men)
  3. Waist (for men and women)
  4. Hips (for women)
  5. Belt (for men)

There are a few simple things to remember when taking your measurements, to ensure you get the most accurate results. Here are a few tips from our Garment Designer Tinks:

  • Relax when taking your measurements. It is important that you are relaxed but that your posture is good. Stand up straight but not rigid and don’t suck in your tummy or hold your breath.
  • This might seem obvious, but make sure that your measuring tape is straight when you take measurements. The slightest kink in the tape or if you have it at an angle, will make your measurements incorrect. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen? Make sure you measure in front of a mirror!
  • If you don’t have a tape measure to hand, you can use a piece of non-stretch string, which you can measure with a ruler later.
  • It is best to measure in just your underwear if you can. This will give you the most accurate reading of your measurements. If you would rather take measurements in clothes, then we recommend wearing the thinnest clothing you have.
  • Try to take your measurements in front of a full size mirror.
  • If you can, have a friend help you out! 2 pairs of eyes are better than one, and by having a measuring buddy at hand, you don’t have to worry about doing it all by yourself.
  • And finally, don’t go on standard measurements (size 8, 10, 12, 14 etc). These sizes are different dependant on what shop you buy from. It is always better to be aware of YOUR measurements and then make use of the size charts, particularly with plus size clothing.

How to measure your bust

When it comes to “bustin’ a move,” some people can measure their bust in completely the wrong place. Here are the do’s and don’ts of measuring your lady lumps:


  • Do measure at the fullest part of your chest. This means wrapping the tape measure around your chest and over your breasts at their fullest part.
  • Do wear a supportive bra to ensure your breasts are being held in the correct place.
  • Do wear the kind of bra, which you would be wearing with the intended item of clothing, to ensure you get the right look.
  • Do make sure you are relaxed.
  • Do take at least 3 measurements and go with the widest one as the most accurate.
correct way to measure bust


  • Don’t stand with your chest pushed out.
  • Don’t stand with your arms straight out, either side of you (as above) as this will give you an incorrect measurement.
  • Don’t allow any kinks or twists in the measuring tape.
  • Don’t squish your breasts when taking your measurements, otherwise you will be very uncomfortable in your final product.
incorrect way to measure bust

How to measure your waist

Waist not, want not! Here is the lowdown on how to get the most out of your waist measurements.


  • Do make sure that you are measuring the right part of torso. The waist is the smallest, or narrowest part of your body. This should be somewhere between your navel and your ribcage.
  • Do bend sideways, if you still can’t figure out exactly where your waist is. The part that contracts or creases is your natural waist.
  • Do make sure you are standing up straight, but slightly relaxed.
  • Do make sure you measuring tape is straight.
correct way to measure waist


  • Don’t lean backwards to try and see your measurements.
  • Don’t stand with your legs at different angles.
  • Don’t suck in your tummy or hold your breath while measuring, otherwise your clothing will not fit, or they will be very tight.
  • Don’t hold your measuring tape at an angle.
incorrect way to measure waist

How to measure your hips

The hips don’t lie! Just make sure you measure them correctly, and your clothes will look fabulous.


  • Do make sure you measure the correct area. Your hips are the widest part, so your measuring tape should go all the way around your bottom.
  • Do take more than 1 measurement and go with the widest one.
  • Do make sure you stand straight.
  • Do make sure you stand with your feet together, as having your feet apart can create a measurement that is larger than your hip area.
  • Do make sure it is a snug fit around your hips.
correct way to measure hips


  • Don’t stand too relaxed with one leg baring more weight than the other. This will give an inaccurate reading of your hips.
  • Don’t forget that “hips” includes your bottom as well as your hips.
  • Don’t pull the tape too hard, otherwise you will find that your clothes won’t fit comfortably over your hips.
  • Don’t limit your view; make sure you check in the mirror at all angles, to ensure that the measuring tape is straight.
incorrect way to measure hips

Now you know how to correctly measure yourself, you can ensure that your clothes always look and feel like a second skin, whether you are buying them in store or online or if you are making your own clothing.

Feel the difference between different types of fabrics and explore over hundred other materials with your very own fabric swatch pack. Understand the texture, strength and finish of the fabrics by taking a hands on approach.

100 fabric swatch pack
student discount banner

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.