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Measurements are the basis of making clothing, particularly because you have to actually measure things to ensure that they will fit you correctly. This page lists the different types of measurements and how to take them, and clothing standards in the United Kingdom, European Union and United States.

TraditionalEdit

Although there is not specifically a type of measurement considered "traditional", I have tried to compound the other measurements which I have encountered in tailoring books which are distinct in that they do not fall into pre-defined increments or letter codes, but are general "rules of thumb" which relate to measurements of individual anatomy.

Reference lines/pointsEdit

These lines and points are used as references to parts of the body where clothing will hang, but also where certain measurements should be made up to. They don't have specific measurements, they are just

Reference Description
Neckline

The line which runs around the neck, which is easiest viewed by draping a chain or heavy string around the neck, which outlines the natural contour.

Neck planes Used to provide an representation of the shape of the neck in three strokes; one for the vertical part of the neck, one for the angled part which joins the neck to the shoulder, and one which joins the shoulder to the neck angle.
Shoulder Point The point at which the shoulder meets with the upper part of the arm, or, where the shoulder seam meets the sleeve seam.
Shoulder seam The shoulder seam is the line that runs along the top of the shoulder from the slope of the neck inbetween the front and the back of the body.

Side front

Side Back

The line which runs down the body from the mid-point of the shoulder slope over the backl or front towards the floor.

Center front

Center back

The line which runs down the body from the mid-point of the front neck contour to the floor between the legs.

MeasurementsEdit

This guide distinguishes between the circumference measurement, which is around a body part, and a normal non-circumferencial measurement by the terminology of "circumference taken" and "measurement" respectively.

Type Measurement Gender Description
Girth Neck Both The circumference of the neck, taken by measuring over the large vertebrae of the center back, and over the collar bone. Tape measure should trace the neckline and be snug but not tight.
Neck Width Both Taken by putting a string around the neck so that it falls vertically at either side of the neck, roughly outlining the width of the neck. The measurement is then taken between each string.
Shoulder Width Both Taken parallel to the ground, measuring the distance between the left shoulder point and the right shoulder point.
Chest Male Taken at the fullest part of the chest, with the measuring tape crossing over the shoulder blades at the back.
Upper Chest Female The circumference taken of part of the chest above the bust, taken under the arm.
Full Bust Female The circumference taken at the fullest part of the bust, and over the shoulder blades of the back.
Front Bust Female The measurement across the fullest part of the bust from the left side-seam to the right side-seam. Where these measurements are taken is unclear; the best description is if hands were lifted up and a measure drawn directly down from the widest part of the shoulder until it intersected with the measurement given for the full-bust, then this point would be the beginning, and the end would be the same point on the other side of the body.
Back Bust Female The measurements at the back, at the same height as the measurement taken for the front bust.
Bust-Bust Female The measurement taken from the apex of one breast to the apex of the other.
Rib Cage Female Circumference taken of the body taken below the level of the bust.
Waist Both The region differs depending upon comfort, but the region of the waist is close to the belly-button, but normally it is the circumference of the waist taken at a position between the rib-cage and the hip bone.
Bicep Both Circumference taken at the fullest part of the bicep.
Wrist Both Circumference taken just below the large wrist bone.
Palm Both Circumference taken at the largest part of the hand.
Hips Both Circumference taken at the largest part of the hips.
Thigh Both Circumference taken at the largest part of the thigh.
Leg Width Both Measurement taken of the thigh from the largest part of the thigh at the front of the body to the largest part at the back.
Knee Both Circumference taken at the knee cap.
Length Center-front-waist Both Measurement from the center-front of the neckline down to the waist.
Center-front-ribcage Female Measurement from the center-front of the neckline down to the ribcage. 
Center-front-knee Female Measurement from the center-front of the neckline down to the knee.
Center-front-floor Female Measurement from the center-front of the neckline down to the floor.
Side-front-bust Women Measurement from the side-front of the neckline (the mid-point of the neck curve where the neck meets the shoulder) down to the bust.
Side-front-waist Both Measurement from the side-front of the neckline (the mid-point of the neck curve where the neck meets the shoulder) down to the waist.
Shoulder-bust Women Measurement taken diagnonally from the apex of one breast to the shoulder point.
Shoulder-waist Male Measurement taken from the point between the center-front and the waist, and the shoulder point.
Armpit-waist Both Measurements taken by the use of two tape measures; one drawn in a straight line under the armpit to just beyond the upper arm, and then one drawn from this line down to the waist.
Arm Both With the arm bent at the elbow, the measurement taken around the contour of the arm, over the back of the albow, from the shoulder point to the bottom of the large wrist bone.
Shoulder-elbow Both Measurement of the same method as the arm measurement, but taken from the shoulder point to the
Sleeve (Cap) Both Measurement taken by placing a rubber band around the upper part of the arm, and then measuring from the shoulder point to this area.
Waist-hip Both Measurement taken from the waist to the fullest part of the hip.
Waist-knee Both Measurement taken from the waist to the knee.
Waist-floor Both Measurement taken from the waist to the floor.
Inseam Both Measurement taken from the inside of the leg, along the leg, to the floor.
Crotch Both Measurement taken from sitting from the side waist to the chair seat.



Male Upper BodyEdit

Upper-Measurements-Male
  1. Neck
  2. Shoulders
  3. Chest
  4. Sleeve
  5. Short sleeve
  6. Bicep
  7. Wrist

Male Lower BodyEdit

Lower-Measurements-Male
  1. Waist
  2. High Hip
  3. Hip (At fullest part)
  4. Waist-Hip
  5. Waist-Floor
  6. Thigh (At fullest part)
  7. Knee
  8. Waist-Knee

Female Upper BodyEdit

Female Lower BodyEdit

Standards-basedEdit

The most common standards for clothing are those created by the International Standards Organisation, which designate the size of clothing. These are different from tailored clothing in that there are static, specific size types, rather than specific measurements. 

International StandardsEdit

The International Standards for clothing size are:

  • ISO 3635:1981 Size designation of clothes – Definitions and body measurement procedure
  • ISO 4416:1981 Size designation of clothes – Women's and girls' underwear, nightwear, foundation garments and shirts
  • ISO 5971:1981 Size designation of clothes – Pantyhose
  • ISO 8559:1989 Garment construction and anthropometric surveys – Body dimensions
  • ISO/TR 10652:1991 Standard sizing systems for clothes

American StandardsEdit

American standards seem to be quite behind. At the moment, the most-adhered-to standards seem to be International standards in the United States.

British StandardsEdit

British standards are the same as the International Standards but with different reference numbers, however, the standards are the same.

European StandardsEdit

These standards seem to have developed a lot of popularity in the United Kingdom. These standards came into effect in Europe in 2004 and have had varying adoption across Europe. The standard proscribes the use of a pictogram which details the various measurements of clothing, which is usually placed onto a piece of clothing.

The standards are:

  • EN 13402-1: Terms, definitions and body measurement procedure
  • EN 13402-2: Primary and secondary dimensions
  • EN 13402–3: Measurements and intervals

DimensionsEdit

Each one of the standards defines specific dimensions which are measured, and how to measure them, and in particular, defines letter codes which are specific sizes of clothing:

Letter codesEdit

Code Description Size
XXS Extra Extra Small
XS Extra Small
S Small
M Medium
L Large
XL Extra Large
XXL Extra Extra Large
3XL Extra Extra Extra Large

MeasurementsEdit

Measurement Description
Head girth Maximum horizontal girth of the head measured above the ears.

Neck girth

Girth of the neck measured with a tape measure, passed 2cm below the Adam's Apple and at the level of the 7th cervical vertebra.

Chest girth

Maximum horizontal girth measured during normal breathing with the subject standing erect, and the tape measure passed over the shoulder blades (scapulae), under the armpits (axillae) and across the chest.

Bust girth

Maximum horizontal girth measured during normal breating, with the subject standing erect and the tape measure passed horizontally, under the armpits (axillae), and across the most prominent part of the bust.

Underbust girth

Horizontal girth measured just below the breasts.

Waist girth

Girth of the natural waistline between the top of the hip bones (iliac crests) and the lower ribs, measured with the subject breathing normally and standing erect with abdomen relaxed.

Hip girth

Horizontal girth measured round the buttocks at the level of the maximum circumference.

Height

Vertical distance between the crown of the head and the soles of the feet, with the subject standing erect without shoes, feet together. For infants who are not able to stand upright, the length of the body measured in a straight line from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet.

Inside leg length

Distance between the crotch and the soles of the feet, measured in a straight vertical line with the subject erect, feet slightly apart, and the weight of the body equally distributed on both legs.

Arm length

Distance measured using a tape-measure from the arms-eye/shoulder-line intersection (acromion), over the elbow, to the far end of the prominent wrist bone (ulna), with the subject's right fist clenched and placed on the hip with the arm bent at 90 degrees.

Hand girth

Maximum girth measured over the knuckles (metacarpals) of the open right hand, fingers together, and thumb excluded.

Foot length

Horizontal distance between the most prominent toe and the most prominent part of the heel, measured with the subject standing barefoot, with the weight of the body distributed on both feet.

Body mass

Measured in kilograms.

Measurement methodsEdit

Method Description
Free coiled tape measure healthy living stock photo Creative Commons Measuring tape Often made from "dimensionally stable" material that means that the length of the tape stays the same, and so that the scale in centimeters and meters is kept stable.
Measuring stand A fixed stand used often by doctors and others to measure height. These are also referred to as somatometers and anthropometers.
365 Balance Used for measuring body mass.
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