Tutorial 2. Taking Measurements.
I will list all required measurements and show them to you schematically. There is nothing particularly hard about taking measurements off children! It is done the same way as with adults, only in this case you need to work faster and take some additional measurements because fixed standards don't work in children's fashion.
I start from tying cords around Sonja's body the same way I would on a woman: one cord around the supposed waistline, another around the stomach line, and yet another along the bust line. Then I take three pictures of Sonja (front, back, and side view) standing in front of the wall with a height chart or a measuring tape hanging on it.
Here is a list of all required measurements in the order you normally take them:
Bust Width Front: measure from side to side along the bust line (the way you would on a woman).
You can also measure the girl’s Under-Bust Circumference although it is usually irrelevant at this age. In Sonja's case though, the bust circumference is 56cm and the under-bust circumference is 54cm, which is a big enough difference.
Remember to mark the distance from the waistline:
Again, do not forget to mark the distance from the waistline. The hip circumference does not play a big role in this particular dress model but you should pay attention to it when sewing a dress with a slimmer fit in the hips.
Next, take all vertical measurements:
- Bust Line to Waistline;
- Waistline to Stomach Line;
- Waistline to Hip Line;
Waist to Floor: measure the distance from the waistline down to the floor.
Side Length: measure the distance from the waistline to the underarm. This measurement must be taken in the actual size. Ask the girl to lift her arm so you can see where the armscye should stop. It shouldn't rub against the skin and yet it shouldn't be too low either.
Bust Apex to Bust Apex: this measurement helps you determine the direction of princess seams on the bodice and take the clip measurements correctly.
Clip (only relevant if you are making an open front neckline) is measured as the actual distance to the supposed edge of the bodice:
To the armpit point:
To the corner at the top of the bodice:
To the middle of the supposed front neckline:
Armpit to Armpit Front: with the girl's arms hanging down freely, measure the distance between the supposed armscyes at the armpit level across the front.
Armpit to Armpit Back: with the girl's arms hanging down freely, measure the distance between the supposed armscyes at the armpit level across the back. This measurement will help you determine the position of the armscye. Imagine the armscyes or those corners at the back of the bodice and measure the distance between them.
Shoulder to Shoulder Across Front: measure the distance between the supposed outermost shoulder points on the dress.
Shoulder to Shoulder Across Back: take it the same way as the previous measurement but across the back.
Full Length Front: measure the distance from the side neck point to the waistline as a straight vertical line.
Full Length Back: taken the same way but from the back (it is best to take this measurement from the same side neck point).
These two measurements can be taken simultaneously: just mark the middle of the shoulder at the base of the neck and measure from waistline to waistline through this point. This way the measurements will be much more precise.
Shoulder Slope Front: measure from the shoulder tip to the point where the Full Length line arrives at the waistline. This measurement will help you give the correct incline to the shoulder on the pattern. You can measure the distance to the mentioned point on the waistline or to the bust apex point. It all depends on how you plan to construct your pattern.
Shoulder Slope Back: measure from the center of the waistline to the shoulder tip across the back. This measurement will help you give the right incline to the shoulder at the back of the bodice.
Center Length Back: measure the distance from the seventh cervical vertebra to the center waist point.
Center Length Front: this measurement is similar to the previous one. If the dress has a high neck, then measure from the sternal notch to the center waist point. But if the dress features a low neck, then measure from the supposed center of the neckline to the center waist point.
Armscye Circumference: wrap the measuring tape around the girl's arm, think over how loose the sleeve should be, and measure it in the actual size. This measurement indicates the actual length of the armscye on the finished dress. It is compulsory for dresses with sleeves or shoulder straps.
Upper Arm Circumference (taken if you plan on sewing sleeves or armlets): wrap the measuring tape around the girl’s upper arm.
Waist Width Front: measure from side to side along the waistline.
Stomach Width Front: measure from side to side along the stomach line.
These two measurements play a very important role in this particular dress. You may have noticed that Sonja has somewhat of a protruding belly which I need to account for in the pattern. The girl is too young to understand that she will feel very uncomfortable in a tight corset in this case. Dear mums, please do not torture your children! You must never squeeze a child's belly in a corset! Instead, account for the protruding belly when drafting the bodice.
Shoulder Length: measure from the base of the neck to the shoulder tip. Whether you need it or not depends on the style of the dress.
Forearm Length: since the dress features matching armlets, I need to measure the distance from the armpit level to the elbow along the arm.
These are all measurements I need to draft a pattern for Sonja.
Now I can finally start drafting. There is a separate chapter in this book − Drafting the Base of a Dress for a 6 Year Old Girl (Based on Calculations). It contains all key measurements, relevant calculations, full step-by-step instructions, my personal comments, and the resulting pattern.