I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have always had the hardest time measuring myself. I think part of it is that I am always in denial about what size I really am.
However, when creating clothing for yourself—sewing, knitting, or any other medium—the most important tool you have is your measurement. And it’s really important to divorce yourself from the idea that you’re a “size X.” While occasionally you might get lucky, more often than not you’re inviting a world of hurt for that moment when you finish your garment and it doesn’t fit.
Just as you’ve probably learned that in one clothing line you’re a size 10, and another a size 12, in home couture, the “sizes” listed are going to be unique that specific designer. However, they offer something more important than size numbers: actual garment dimensions.
This is why self measurement is so important; no matter what “size” you think you are, you will know if something is going to fit you if their measurements fit yours. Also, it allows you to see which areas may not fit, and allow you to plan for alterations before you begin (something I’m itching to learn how to do).
As Cathy Hays explains, “Taking measurements is a vital element in the creation of a perfectly fitting block or garment. Extra care at this stage can save you an extraordinary amount of time, effort and extra expense later”. Her tutorial on measurement is part of a larger series on drafting a corset designed to fit, but the measurements she instructs you on are useful for all types of garments.
Interweave Knits has also covered the topic of measurement in a YouTube video (imbedded below) that discusses measurement, and what a knitting pattern means when it mentions “ease.”
Correct measurements will always help to ensure that the project you’re making will fit the intended recipient.
Now, if you excuse me, I have to go measure my sister’s dog for a birthday present.