Updated: Jul 17
Measuring people you would think is an easy thing to do, but actually I have found that you have to do it very mindfully, as you are entering close personal space and this can be intimidating at a time when you are trying to set up confidence with the client. My time training for my wellness clinic helped me learn how to measure people sensitively, I find that it’s a good idea to step into their space then to move back out of it again after every measurement, if you are writing down each measurement on a nearby table then this gives you the space you need. You are measuring lots of points, don’t be tempted to say the numbers out loud, again be mindful.
Always have an extra-long tape measure to hand up to 120”. If you are measuring a larger body then asking for assistance with the tape measure is ok to do if you cannot reach all the way around, it is better to do this than to try to see if you can make the stretch!
Touching the client takes some consideration, it is a good idea to let the client feel your touch at intervals as during fittings you will be having to touch to make alterations and they need to know that you are professional and they are safe with you. So I am suggesting a gently tap on the shoulder to request a turn around to the back as long as there are no injuries that the client is suffering from. You should be aware of not touching any areas where the client has pain or any sensitive body areas for example when measuring the bust points measure an inch away from the body, when measuring the crotch area get the client to hold the tape measure. If you need to know the position of the bust apex (nipple) then ask for the client to point the placement out for you, or the belly button for waist placement.
Measuring yourself is even harder than measuring another person and will require some assistance as you are aiming for accurate measurements it’s probably best not to try to do this on your own, just don’t worry about the numbers!
Bodice Measurements Column 1
The measurements sheets are comprehensive and for good reason, this is the only chance you are going to get to capture this information while you have your client available. It is a difficult thing to ask them to keep coming back to check measurements and fittings so it’s important to keep the visits to a minimum.
But that does not mean that the sheets are complicated, it’s just that you have lots of information to fill in and as long as you take your time and do one measurement at a time then the process should not take too long.
Every measurement in column 1 on the Measurement Sheet refers to a position on the body, shown in the measurements diagrams (there is a Front Back and Side diagram). Any specific detail about how to take each measurement is explained on the diagram.
Refer to the diagrams to check tape measure placement if in any doubt.
As I have already said I think it is important to measure both sides of the body even though we are going to only create a pattern for half of the body, half a front and half a back. This will allow you to become more familiar with the clients proportions and will highlight early on any very obvious asymmetrical lines or design considerations. There is a place on the Measurements Sheets in column 1 for noting both sides.
When we measure the body we are pinpointing key lengths that are going to help us build out the shape. The 2 Dimensional Base Template draft that we are going to create on paper will in the end allows us to produce as close to an exact three dimensional fabric copy of the body. However although we are measuring both sides of the body we are going to make a judgement call regarding what measurement to use, therefore the intention is to have both halves of the body template the same size. So ensure that you highlight the measurement on the sheet that you are going to use for the calculations. The reasoning behind this is that visually you want the end garment to look balanced. A little padding may be required at a later stage to raise a shoulder or a specific choice in design may be needed to help deal with excess fabric and in extreme situations this will take some consideration and some consultation with the client to come to some agreement.
The first thing to do is to go ahead and take all of the measurements for column 1 on the Measurements Sheets, filling out the sheet as you go. Fill out the sheet in pencil so that it is easy to rub out a mistake.
Measuring Sleeves, Skirts and Trousers
It makes sense to take all the other measurements from the Client while you have them available if you have time. Keep in mind that some of the measurements you have already taken and these measurements as you go down the sheets are marked with an asterisk *.
Use the Visual Guides to see where to position lines such as Empire Height etc.
When you have finally finished taking all of the measurements check again that all measurements have been taken and that the figures have been written down and that measurements are as expected, i.e. is there a large difference between left and right measurements, does the waist look too big, just a quick assessment before removing the dots. It is a really important step this so don’t be tempted to skip it.
When you are finished remember to retrieve your elastic and all of your sticky dots.
Hand Measurement for Pockets
Your client can now relax but there is one extra measurement to consider. If you will be designing garments for the client and they have indicated that pockets might be an option then it is a good time to take advantage of the fact that you are measuring them and to work out the size of the hand. Get them to place the largest hand onto the Hand Measurement Sheet and with fingers and thumb together as if they have the hand inside the pocket and draw around the shape of the hand roughly from wrist to tip and back up the other side, there is no need to draw around every finger.
The lines on the sheet are just a guide but it is fine if you need to go over the line.
This will assist with working out the size of all pockets required.
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