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Tutorial 2. Taking Measurements.

Tutorial 2. Taking Measurements.

I tie cords around the girl's body to take all measurements correctly: one around the waist, another around the stomach (do not tie it too tightly, keep it natural), and still another along the under-bust line. Needless to say that taking measurements off children is not the easiest thing in the world because they keep moving around. They can't just stand there waiting for you to get focused on the task. So try to do it quickly and yet accurately!

I start taking measurements. They are the same as for a grown woman.

Bust Circumference:

Under-Bust Circumference:

Waist Circumference:

Stomach Circumference:

Hip Circumference is a must because I am sewing a long dress. The measuring tape goes horizontally through the most prominent points of the buttocks.

Next, I measure the distance from the level where I just placed the measuring tape up to the waistline along the side. This is Hip Depth.

I always mark the distance from the waistline to the stomach line:

And I also measure the distance from the waistline to the under-bust line. This measurement is called Waist to Under-Bust.

There are some more compulsory measurements on the list.

Bust Width Front is measured from side seam to side seam along the bust line.


Under-Bust Width Front is also measured from side seam to side seam:

Vicky has a bit of a belly. She can suck it in, of course, but we can't expect her to do it whenever she is wearing her favorite dress. And this is why I measure her Waist Width Front from side seam to side seam along the cord tied around the waist.

And I take a similar measurement, Stomach Width Front, from side seam to side seam along the stomach line.

After deciding on the position of the front princess seams, I measure from Bust Apex to Bust Apex.   

And then I place my finger at the Bust Apex point and measure Clips:

- Straight up to the neckline. I decide how far from the bust apex point the neckline will be.

 - To the armpit point:

 - And to the supposed centre of the neckline if you plan to give it some fancy shape.

Waist to Floor: measure the distance from the waist down to the floor.

If you are sewing a garment with shoulder seams, you can take additional measurements the same way you would for an adult.

Side Neck Point to Bust Apex:

Shoulder Tip to Bust Apex:

Sternal Notch to Waist (Centre Length Front):

Shoulder Length: measure from the side neck point to the shoulder tip.

Shoulder to Shoulder Across Front: measure the distance from shoulder tip to shoulder tip across front.

Then I ask the girl to turn around and measure the Shoulder to Shoulder Across Back.

I find the seventh cervical vertebra and measure the distance to the waist (Centre Length Back).

Full Length Back:

Shoulder Slope Back: this measurement is taken diagonally from the centre of the waistline to the shoulder tip across the back. It will help you draw the right incline of the shoulder at the back of the bodice.

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.

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.

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.

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.

These are basically all measurements I need to draft a pattern of a dress for Vicky. The more measurements you take off the child, the easier it will be to construct the pattern. You won't have to make guesses in the process.

Now I can finally start drafting. There is a separate chapter in the book: Drafting a Dress for a 9 Year Old Girl (Based on Calculations). It includes all key measurements, relevant calculations, full step-by-step guidelines, valuable additional comments, and the resulting draft of a strapless dress designed for Vicky. You will also find all relevant calculations for constructing a dress with shoulder seams.

I will apply body proportions-based adjustments to the pattern during the cutting process.

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