How to Measure Yourself

Sew Over It Sizes

Dressmaking sizes are different from standard ‘shop’ sizes as they are based on body measurements. So, whilst you might normally be a size 12 in a highstreet store, your measurements could mean that you are a size 16 in our patterns. Because of this it’s really important to take your measurements and compare them to our size chart (below) before choosing a pattern size.

Measuring your body

So let’s find your measurements! Start off by removing anything bulky – for most accurate results you might like to do this step in just your underwear. Remember to wear the same bra you intend to wear with your garment once it’s finished, as depending on whether they’re underwired, padded, plunge or push-up, different bras can affect the fit.

When you hold the tape measure around yourself, make sure it’s snug against your body. Holding it too tight or too loose will give you an inaccurate measurement. If you can fit a couple of fingers between your body and the tape (but nothing more), you know you’ve got it right. Stand up straight and don’t be tempted to breathe in, as you could end up with distorted bust and waist measurements. Remember, you need your finished item to fit your actual body!

Elsie Dress Sewalong: Measuring and Cutting

To find your bust measurement hold the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust – usually this is around the nipples! Make sure the tape measure is horizontal all the way around your back. If it dips down or is up too high your measurement will be wrong and you could end up cutting a bigger size than you need to. We recommend standing next to a mirror so you can check.

Your waist is usually the smallest part of your torso, and the point from which you can bend sideways. Hold the tape measure around yourself, have a little wiggle, and it should find its way into the right spot. Remember, no breathing in!

For your hip measurement, hold the tape measure around the fullest part of your bottom. This is sometimes, but not necessarily the fullest part of your thighs when looking at yourself from the front, so it’s a good idea to stand sideways next to the mirror to see if you are holding the tape measure in the right place.

If you’re more of a visual learner we also have a YouTube video demonstrating how to take these measurements here.