How to Take Measurements for Indian Outfits?

This post deals with methods of taking various body measurements for making of Indian garments in a comfortable order along with useful how-to measure illustrations. This post is a part of dressmaking basics series.

How to Take Measurements for Indian OutfitsNamaste Dear Tantu Enthusiast!

It’s been long since I was preparing to post about ‘various body measurements and how-to measure’. I had lots of confusions. After researching a lot about dress making over the years, I had realized that there are different ways to ‘measure, draft patterns and make a dress’ in the east and the west. My fear was that what is right in one country may be wrong in the other. Since Tantu has readers from all over the world, I decided to start with this topic as taking measurements for Indian garments.

Taking Measurements for Indian Garments

Indian outfits are made using fewer measurements compared to that of the westerns. Indian dress making is quite easy too, may be sari blouse is an exception. Hence all the Indian outfits fall under dress making category even though most of the Indians use the term tailoring. The measurement taking methods mentioned here are useful in making any Indian garments. Some of the Indian outfits to list are – Kameez, Angarkha Kameez, Kurti, Salwar, Chudidar/Churidar, Dhoti Salwar, Patiyala Salwar, Choli/Chola (Sari Blouse), Kutra, Paijama, Langa/Lehnga, Langa-Dhaavni (Half-sari) and so on. Here I have not included western attires like men’s shirt, trousers.

Method and Order of Taking Measurements:

Keeping in mind all the tips to measure accurately, let us start taking body measurements.

Upper Body Measurements Bust-waist-seatBust circumference:

Bust circumference is taken around the fullest part of the bust when the person being measured is breathing in. Remember to hold index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Waist circumference:

Waist circumference is taken around the waist at the navel point having kept index finger and middle finger beneath the tape while the person is breathing in.

Seat circumference:

Seat circumference is measured around the fullest part of the hips. Do not forget to place index finger and middle finger beneath the tape while measuring.

Bust point:

Bust point measurement is taken from the shoulder (at the neck base) to the bust point.

Bust point to bust point:

It is measured from bust point to bust point.

Upper Body Measurements -Shoulder & Waist LengthShoulder measurement:

Shoulder measurement is taken between two shoulder ends. We can feel a prominent bone when gently sliding a finger on the shoulder line. The outer end of this bone is considered as the shoulder end. Half shoulder measurement is taken from nape (position of the prominent bone at centre back of neck) to one shoulder end.

Waist length:

Length of waist is measured from nape to the waist (where waist circumference is taken). You can also note that this location would be the first prominent bone you get when sliding your finger down the centre back.

Garment length:

We have to measure garment length from nape to the desired garment length for any one piece dress. For an upper garment, we have to measure from nape to the desired length of the garment. For a lower garment, we have to measure from waist to the desired garment length. We can also get a lower garment length by subtracting waist length from garment length measured for one piece dress. This second method is useful when making a two-piece dress.

Back neck depth:

Back neck depth is measured from the neck base to the desired back neck depth.

Upper Body Measurements - Neck & ArmsFront neck depth:

Front neck depth is measured from the neck base (where shoulder starts) to the desired front neck depth.

Neck Round:

Neck round is measured round the neck base. Locate neck base by noting the crease formed while shrugging the shoulder. Or simply note the place on shoulder where your neck ornament stays as neck base. Remember to keep index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Armscye or armhole depth:

Armscye depth or armhole depth is taken round the armhole at shoulder end when the hands are kept close to the body. Place your index finger and middle finger beneath the tape while measuring.

Sleeve length:

Sleeve length is measured from the shoulder end down the arm. While taking full sleeve length, take measurement along the arm through elbow, when the hand is slightly bent (or kept on waist).

Sleeve round:

Sleeve round is measured around the arm where sleeve length is measured keeping your index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Elbow round:

Keep the measuring tape around the elbow. Then, let the person fold hand in such a way to touch shoulder with fingers. Now take elbow round measurement around the elbow keeping index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Wrist round:

Wrist round is taken around the wrist having kept index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Lower Body MeasurementsThigh round:

Thigh round is measured around the thigh keeping index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Knee round:

Keep measuring tape around knee. Fold the leg in such a way that thigh meets calf. Now, knee round is measured around the knee keeping index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Calf round:

Calf round is measured around the fullest part of calf keeping index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Ankle round:

Ankle round is measured around the ankle keeping index finger and middle finger beneath the tape.

Measurements for Upper Garments & Lower Garments

Below are quick charts for the beginners to note measurements for upper garments and lower garments.

Taking Measurements for  Upper Garments

Taking Measurements for  Lower Garments

Tips:

  • Taking measurements accurately is the key to proper fit.
  • Order of taking measurement given here is designed for a comfortable sequence. This order may vary from person to person.
  • If the person has any deviation in the body, note that.
  • If left half of the person differs from that of the right half (example, shoulder), measure them separately.
  • All the measurements listed in this post may not be needed for all the garments. Say, for sari blouse, we don’t need any measurements below waist.
  • Dotted half circles in the pictures indicate that measurements are taken around that particular body part.

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Hope this measurement post is useful. Do write to me in the comment section if ever you find this post worth it.

Take care!
Bye until the next post!

Yours,
Sindhu

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About sindhoooo

Hi, I am Sindhu Devi, an Indian Fashion Designer. I am a graduate in Fashion Design from Mangalore University, who bagged the first rank in the year 2006. I have enjoyed teaching Fashion Design for 5years. Currently I am a full time designer and a full time homemaker. I am passionate about designing as well as making of unique outfits and accessories, keen to share my design ideas in the blogosphere.
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22 Responses to How to Take Measurements for Indian Outfits?

  1. Malar says:

    Wonderful post Sindhu, anyone can learn to take measurements from this post!!!

  2. jpeggytaylor says:

    Measurements can be so confusing … I think you have described these measurements very clearly Sindhu, with words and pictures 🙂

    • sindhoooo says:

      You are right Peggy. People take measurements wrongly not because they cannot, but, because they don’t know the exact procedure.I’m so happy that you liked this post and could understand the instructions clearly. Your words mean a lot to me 🙂

      TC! Keep smiling 🙂

      • jpeggytaylor says:

        Oh, yes, exactly, Sindhu. I think it can be a bit confusing because I know I used to find different dress-making patterns seemed to measure from slightly different points on the body and they weren’t always clearly explained. Your explanations are much clearer 🙂

        • sindhoooo says:

          Thanks a lot Peggy 🙂 Your kind words made my efforts worthwhile! Yes, it can be confusing as it has to be live demonstrated. And there are different ways to take measurements and use them. If we take shoulder measurement alone, there are three different ways! Very glad to have your feedback, it gives a lot of confidence 🙂 TC! Keep smiling 🙂

  3. Excellent information on measurement with pictures !!

  4. indrani says:

    You have presented it well with pics.

  5. Such a elaborate share dear:-) having your post I can take measurement and tell tailor

    • sindhoooo says:

      Thank you dear for your lovely comment 🙂 Yes, you can take measurements yourself and give it to your dress-maker/tailor… That will definitely get you a better fit. Happy measuring 🙂 TC! Keep smiling 🙂

  6. Ananya Tales says:

    Thanks for sharing this useful post 🙂

  7. I am sure you have made it easy for people who have interest and skill but to me it looks so complicated!

  8. Arti says:

    What an excellent tutorial on taking measurements and all the basics related to it! Always been on the other side of it – so it is nice to see what all goes in ‘measurement taking’.

  9. What an excellent tutorial on taking measurements and all the basics related to it! Always been on the other side of it… so it is nice to see what all goes in ‘measurement taking’.

  10. Anita says:

    Love how you make it look so simple, Sindhu 🙂
    Nicely explained!
    Keep smiling 🙂

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