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Tips & Techniques > Measure your favorite clothes

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Posted by: Mollykat

About Mollykat star
Member since: 10/3/03
Reviews: 13 (tips: 1)
Skill level:Beginner
Favored by: 4 people
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Posted on: 12/10/03 9:17 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 42 people   
Featured in the PR book!
We all have our favorite clothes to wear, why not take some measurements of those.
I measured all my favorite tops. I discovered that they all had the same shoulder length within their fabric type and garment type. They also all had the same amount of ease in the bust area and in the sleeve area. What does this tell me? Match those measurements in the clothes you make and you'll like to wear what you sew!

Here are the points I measured:
1. shoulder seam to shoulder seam (across the top of the blouse)
2. Neck circumference front and back
3. Neck depth front and back
4. Armscye circumference front and back
5. upper back (between armholes)
6. bust
7. waist
8. hip

These are the clothing categories I used:
1. t-shirt
2. stretch blouse
3. woven blouse
5. knit jacket
6. woven jacket
7. coat

It is all set up in a spreadsheet. From there I can compare the measurements of a pattern to my favorite clothes and see immediately the alterations the pattern would require. It is also easier to see design details within the pattern which may not have been noticable before. It's all in the numbers....

PS - I am happy to share my spreadsheet to anyone interested. It is made in MS Excel 98.
Update 12/22/03 To download the spreadsheet, please Click Here

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Danmar said... (8/29/13 7:17 AM) Reply
sanntech9 said... (6/13/12 7:31 PM) Reply
Great suggestions, I have a favorite pair of pants and jack that I wish I had bought 2 pairs, now I can try to copy them.
BWooster said... (4/14/12 5:43 PM) Reply
Thanks! This is quite helpful!
harmony said... (8/1/10 1:44 PM) Reply
Thanks so much for sharing. Very helpful!
fabricdancer said... (2/18/10 3:18 PM) Reply
Thanks for the ideas and the spreadsheet! This should help me better fit blouses, which I'm having a frustrating time with right now.
Lrowens said... (9/20/09 3:04 PM) Reply
I appreciate the time you took to make the spreadsheet. It's great! Thank you, Linda
kacysews said... (8/31/09 11:16 PM) Reply
I so agree with you. P. Sagers suggests even going into a Neimans or Saks and finding things that fit GREAT and taking those measurements. I do take the measurements of things I own that fit really well and use those measurements for making items. thanks
Marny said... (10/10/07 2:19 PM) Reply
The info you gave is so fabulous! You'll be teaching courses here before too long!
PatBB said... (6/1/05 10:31 PM) Reply
Thanks for sharing, makes sense to me. I have downloaded your spreadsheet and will try this method.
ONDY said... (3/30/05 7:43 AM) Reply
cinderly said... (1/24/05 1:23 PM) Reply
Thank you! This should help tremendously with the trouble I've been having with patterns being WAY oversized if I cut according to the body measurements given on the pattern envelope.
annemeriwether said... (6/13/04 6:23 PM) Reply
What a great idea! I am just starting to sew again after a long break (and some major sewing disappointments, largely due to fitting). I am sewing a dress this week for a semi-formal occasion and was looking for some help on fitting it well, and you gave me exactly the idea I needed to get me started in the right direction! Thanks so much!
Pierrette said... (3/24/04 8:06 PM) Reply
Great tip....very useful when shopping for clothes too hate those dressing rooms! :)
KateB said... (1/8/04 8:58 AM) Reply
Thanks, good idea and I like the spreadsheet.
Maggie said... (1/5/04 2:38 PM) Reply
I love this website. I have learned so many little tricks that has greatly improved my sewing. Thanks.
Karla Kizer said... (12/30/03 6:27 PM) Reply
I carry a similar but less extensive measurement chart with me, one based on years of measuring my DD's favorites and altering patterns to fit. Thanks to the Chart-in-My-Head, I have successfully bought perfect-fitting pants, shirts and jackets for her, usually at bargain prices. (She's a college student and is rarely within 100 miles of me when I'm shopping.) Knowing what the critical measurements are and carrying a purse-size tape measure at all times have really paid off in RTW, as well as in pattern alterations. The spread sheet idea is great. It's on my "I Oughta Do That List".
geekatee said... (12/30/03 0:35 AM) Reply
I'[m working to get back into sewing, and agree that measurements, comfort, and ease of construction all contribute to supporting that effort. Thanks for suggesting a way to have that happen for me.
Georgene said... (12/22/03 10:24 AM) Reply
Molly cat, the "cross chest/ cross back" measurement is in addition to the bust measurement. This cross chest/back gives you the narrow part of the armhole to check against. Whenits too big you have all that fabric pooching out in front (or back) and have to scoop the armhole. If you take out too much or don't have enough in a woven, you can't lift your arms. It helps you see how much ease there is in the garment. Bust ease is one thing, but you have to be able to move your arms as well. And of course there is a big difference when you work with knits/ stretch knits/ wovens....they all have very different requirements.
Mollykat said... (12/21/03 11:02 PM) Reply
I just sent my spreadsheet to Deepika, so it should show up soon for everyone. Georgene, I have been measuring the bust at the bottom of the armhole. It sounds like you are saying to make it a measurement based on distance from the shoulder seam instead. Did I correctly interpret this?
Georgene said... (12/21/03 5:38 PM) Reply
The cross chest/ cross back measurement is located at 5" down from the side neck (at the highest point). If you lay your garment flat, measure 5" down and place a ruler or other straight edge horizontally across your garment. You are measuring from armhole to armhole across the front or back, at the place which is normally the narrowest spot. Its kind of where your arm attaches to your body, where you feel the ligament. Sorry if I was unclear before!
Mary Reed said... (12/21/03 2:45 PM) Reply
Georgene - I think I have cotton for brains. I am not sure what you are saying when you recommend measuring 5 inches down from high-shoulder. Am I measuring my high bust or what?
Georgene said... (12/21/03 1:50 PM) Reply
When measuring the cross chest and crossback between the armholes, make sure you take the measurement at the same point down from the side neck/shoulder seam. Generally speaking unless you are VERY tiny or VERY big as in really tall, this point would be at 5" down from the High Point Shoulder (HPS). This spot is really important to gauge whether you have the right amount of ease for movement
Babs said... (12/21/03 12:58 PM) Reply
Sometimes the most helpful suggestions are the ones that should have been obvious to us in the first place. That is certainly true of this suggestion. I have sewn for years, taught for years, and have NEVER thought of doing this before. Mollykat, you say you are a beginner. But you are a WISE one! Thank you for sharing this tip with us. May your sewing always be as creative and satisfactory as your generosity!
oldsewandsew said... (12/21/03 10:07 AM) Reply
Would love to see your spread sheet - would you contact me - [email protected]
Yvonne Stolworthy said... (12/21/03 6:10 AM) Reply
What a great idea! It makes so much sense to take the time to do this. I would like to see your spreadsheet, too. My email is [email protected]
sheri1 said... (12/20/03 9:57 PM) Reply
This is a great idea. I would like your spreadsheet also. [email protected]
sloquilter said... (12/20/03 5:29 PM) Reply
Mollykat, thanks so much for your idea, I gave up making garments because it was too time consuming measuring and altering patterns, now maybe I'll try it again. Thanks,
mClones said... (12/20/03 5:14 PM) Reply
What a great tip - and so logical. I keep writing measurements on scraps of paper - and you know where those end up. Thanks!
Deepika said... (12/20/03 9:34 AM) Reply
I'll attach Molly's spreadsheet to this tip when i get it. Thanks Molly!
Meredith P said... (12/20/03 9:30 AM) Reply
Mollykat-thanks so much for the useful tip. Much less hapazard than my methods! I would love a copy of your spreadsheet if convenient: [email protected] Thanks again!
Vera Meyer said... (12/20/03 9:21 AM) Reply
Sometimes it is hard to measure a garment, especially if the fabric is squirmy...3 tries may give 3 different results. Try this: place narrow masking tape (1/8" quilter's tape is great) at the location to be measured, then measure the tape.
Corki said... (12/20/03 9:04 AM) Reply
Thank you for sharing this tip. I would love to have your spreadsheet. [email protected]
Jackie M said... (12/12/03 11:28 PM) Reply
Mollykat, I don't think you can post attachments directly to this post. If you upload the file to a Web page, you could then link to that Web page ...
Loreli said... (12/12/03 2:00 PM) Reply
This is a great tip Mollykat! Thanks. Im going to print this and try it out.
Mollykat said... (12/10/03 8:36 PM) Reply
Mary and Lynn, I attached the file to an e-mail for both of you. Anyone know how to attach a file to this tip?
Lynngray said... (12/10/03 7:34 PM) Reply
Yes, I would like your spread sheet [email protected] Thanks great idea
Kathy in NM said... (12/10/03 7:11 PM) Reply
Great Idea! I too compare and measure parts of things when sewing a similar garment. But, to use a spreadsheet to keep track of the measurements would save a lot of time in re-measuring each time! Thanks!
Mary Reed said... (12/10/03 5:26 PM) Reply
I would love your spreadsheet. How can I get it? - [email protected]
Julia Graham said... (12/10/03 3:46 PM) Reply
This really is a good tip. Taking these measurements more seriously would help prevent some disappointments.
Asa Hagstrom said... (12/10/03 11:53 AM) Reply
Wow, that sounds like a big undertaking! But I can see that it would be very helpful once you have all the numbers. I often compare patterns to RTW patterns that fit, but I hadn't thought of doing it in an organized manner :) Good tip!
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