[Module 3] How to take good measurements | 6. Fill out Client Measurement Sheets

Updated: Jul 17

Bodice Measurements

Column 2


Once all of the measurements are collected the client is not needed to be present anymore and you can do the calculations for the bodice measurements.

Here are a few tips to help when filling in the second column for the measurement calculations;

  • Have a scrap piece of paper handy to jot down calculation workings, keep your measurement sheet as clean and clear as possible, this will help when drafting.

  • Some measurements transfer straight into the calculations table and don’t change.

  • Some measurements will take the largest size or the average size when both sides of the body have been measured.

  • Here is a hint for working out calculations as we are working in inches. To make it easier just work to the nearest 1/8” (but only for our calculations not for our drafting) When working out calculations do the workings for the whole number and then for the fraction part left over break it down into eighths of an inch, then do the calculations and add back to the whole number. For example to find half of 6 ¾” work out half of 6 which is 3. Then make the fraction into eighths ¾ is equivalent to 6/8 That makes it easier to divide by 2 which would be 3/8 Then add the 3 back to the 3/8 which would make it 3 3/8” Some of you will be quite happy to calculate down to sixteenths and this is fine also and you will be more accurate with the measurements so in this case you would break down the measurements into 16ths to do the calculations.

  • Some measurements divide by 2 in order to work out the measurement for ¼ of the body as the Base Template is created for half a front and half a back

  • Always check all of the calculations when you have finished. This step will save time later. They are simple calculations but it is amazing how many times you can draft incorrectly because of a mistake on the sheet.

Important Point to Make about Hip Measurements!

Just taking the Hip Bone and Low Hip Measurements may not be accurate enough for a good fit if the Client has a belly that protrudes. Let’s face it there are not many of us that do not have a protruding belly.


Now let me explain what I mean by this. Take a look at this diagram.

It is showing the side view of a body. Now this body shown here is not obese and may not even be overweight but there is a very slight protruding belly. If the client has a larger belly than this then you can magnify this concept even further.


In the first view, if you were to hold a ruler vertically down the front of the body (shown as a red line) resting on the belly then you would see the gap between the Waist and the ruler and the Thigh and the ruler caused by the belly protruding outwards.


If you were to measure the Hip Bone and the Low Hip (usually the widest measurement) then you would expect to be able to make a skirt to fit the body. But if you were to fit to these measurements the skirt would skim over the bottom in the back which would be fine but in the front it may not have enough fabric to cover the belly protrusion and the fabric would be pulled back into the body at the Low Hip where the Gap has been identified because the Low Hip measurement is shorter.


To try to demonstrate this in a very exaggerated way I have added a blue skirt to the second picture. You can see that simply taking the measurements you can leave yourself short for the belly protrusion which causes the fabric to get a little tighter in this region as the body will just stretch into the fabric, below the belly the skirt draws back into the body to fit the Low Hip measurement. Essentially this can cause an ill-fitting skirt and you would see drag lines coming from the belly down to the side seam.


This issues can and would be resolved through a fitting and altering a test garment which is covered in a later module but what if you wanted to ensure that you do not have this issue in the first place to have to resolve it. Well there is a solution to this issue and you will have to put some thought into whether you would like to do this or not.


A major part of deciding to do this has to do with the type of skirts you want to make. If you are going to make pencil skirts where they come in tighter lower down then you would not want to go down this route. But if you are going to do mostly straight or some kind of A-Line or flared skirt then it may be a good idea. Also if the client has a very protruding belly then I think you would be saving yourself lots of time if you do try to fix this before you even start drafting anything. You can always change your mind later if you want to during altering.


So what you would need to do is very simple, you measure the gap between the vertical ruler and the Lower Hip Level (and Hip Bone Level if there is a gap here too) and you would add on this gap measurement to the Lower Hip Level. This means that you are accommodating any belly protrusion and ensuring that this fabric carries on below the belly and flows down the skirt causing no skew. The measurement may only be an inch or so or more depending on the size of the belly.


If you are going to add on the gap measurement then make sure you note that you have done this on your measurement chart as a reminder.


Column 3

Dart sizes on patterns seem to vary from size to size and manufacturer to manufacturer. The larger the mound the larger the dart and when we are talking about bust then sizes of dart can increase between 1/8” to 3/8” per cup size. You may have your preferred sizes for darts already but keep in mind we are using 4 darts on the front for shaping (shoulder, armhole, side and waist). You could try your own dart sizes when drafting and see how you go. But otherwise use the calculations that I have suggested in Column 3 to work out your dart sizes. Caveat here – I have not tested my dart sizing on every size of figure, but I have given you enough information when drafting to overcome any issues that you might come across.


Here are a few tips to help when filling in the third column for the dart calculations;

  • When calculating dart widths for column 3 I find it easier to transfer the measurement into eights and then do the division – if it helps to add on or take off to lose 1/8th to do the calculation more easily then do it, it’s not a big deal, there is a good chance that dart widths are going to change anyway after a fitting so its ok not to fuss with this particular measurement.

  • Back Shoulder dart can be set as the same as the Front Shoulder dart unless there is an obvious round back where it can be increased by 1/8” or more and in very round backs even split off into the neck to balance the load across the back. There are lots of ways to measure to accommodate this but I think it may be better to resolve this issue during fittings and maybe refrain from sewing the princess seam at the upper bodice back in the test muslin in the meantime.

Download Samples of the Measurements Sheets are provided for your reference rather than me showing you how to work out the calculations have a look at the table I think it is clear enough.

You may be drafting for a body shape with no bust, in which case your measurements have come out as 0 for all Darts except the Waist Dart as there are no mounds to work around. It is up to you in this case if you wish to take benefit of the Waist Dart but on a female body it does look flattering if there is a little shaping for the Waist. If you decide not to use any of the Darts it is still worthwhile to draft a princess seam to allow you to remove excess from the interior of the draft and extra seams will allow you to do this at this stage, however it does not mean that you will use the seam later when drafting Flexible Patterns. Simply use the Centre Dart Line to confirm position of the seams you would like to use and omit the steps requiring you to draw the Dart Legs.


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