How to Determine Your Size for Sewing Patterns

Ready to begin creating your very own handmade wardrobe? The first thing you need to do is learn how to take your correct measurements. Knowing your true measurements will allow you to choose the best silhouette and size. The last thing you want is to be half way through a garment only to realize that it's too big or worse yet, too small! So grab a tape measure, pen & paper, find a mirror and let's get started!        


  • High Bust: Some patterns call for the high bust measurement. To determine this, the tape measure should slide high up under your arms, straight across the back and chest (check for twists).
  • Full Bust: Again the tape measure should be straight across the back and around the fullest part of your bust.
  • Waist: Measure your waist at your natural waistline. If you're not sure about this, stand tall and bend at your waist. This should be above your belly button. The most common mistake is to measure the waist too low, leaving you with a waistband that's hanging loose.
  • Hips: Measure the around the body at the fullest part of the hips.

 Now that you've got the correct measurements, jot them down and keep them handy when you’re shopping for patterns. The beauty of the pattern designers we carry at Downtown Knits is that they are cut for real women! Compare your measurements to the chart on the rear of your selected pattern and choose the best size for your body. If you’re sewing a top, you’ll only need the upper measurements. When sewing pants and skirts, compare the waist and hip measurements. If the skirt is full, you'll only need your waist measurement. And if you’re sewing a dress, compare all the measurements, taking into account the fullness of the skirt portion of the dress. If you’re like most women, you may fall between two sizes. In that case, the safest bet is to select larger size and make changes where necessary. Still need help? Ask us at DTK! We’ll be happy to take your measurements and we won’t tell a soul! Happy Sewing!