Throughout this discussion, I will refer to the person being measured as the model.

Perhaps the greatest challenge when measuring is finding points on the body and consistently using the same ones. There are many measurements that refer back to specific lines or points. It will save you a ton of time to keep these lines and points consistent as references.  

When you use elastic, you want it snug so it doesn't move during the entire measurement process. However, you don't want it to deform the body underneath. 

Below are some helpful tips on taking the best measurements.

What Does Parallel to the Floor Mean?

When the instructions say parallel to the floor, that means that if you measured from the elastic in the front to the floor and the elastic in the back to the floor the measurements would be the same. The elastic is level and not tipped.


First, we're going to find the natural waist. It is the most important reference point for many measurements. Take a piece of elastic and pin or clip it around the waist so that it is snug enough not to slide. Have the model do a few side bends so the elastic will move to the position on it's own. The elastic will not be parallel to the floor, and that's okay for this measurement.

The natural waist is going to seem high, particularly on the Y body type. A good point of reference is that the natural waist is close to where the elbow is when the arms are down. Don’t put the elastic where you usually wear your pants or skirts. Patternmaker Pro drafts take the high, natural waist into account when the patterns are drawn.

The waist elastic will stay in place throughout the measurement process. It is used extensively for reference.

Cervical Bone - Back Neck

There is a very prominent cervical bone at the top of the spine. This location is very important and used for many measurements. You might want to make a mark there for reference.


Next, put a chain or string around the neck. You don't want it too snug or hanging way down.  You want the chain to lay where a collar would meet the neckline of a shirt. This is quite high on the neck. The chain/string should be in the pit of throat at center front and touch the cervical back.

Shoulder Points

Now you need to find the shoulder point on each side. Use your finger and press down on the top of the arm at the shoulder until you can feel that little bone that protrudes. As the model moves the arm up and down, the bone is stationary and sits just at the hinging area.

It is roughly in line vertically to the arm pit. This point is very important, so please take the time to find it properly. Mark it with an X on both sides of the model at this point. I'll refer to this as the Shoulder Point as we proceed.


Place a piece of elastic around the bust. If this model doesn't have breasts, this will be the widest area of the chest. The elastic should be parallel to the floor.


You will establish a horizontal line running across the back from armpit point to armpit point. Then you will measure from the cervical bone back to that line vertically. This is the Armhole Length measurement. This measurement is very important and used for making armholes and sleeves.

The armpits are located about 1/2" / 12mm below the actual armpit of the model. This is where the lowest part of a fitted armhole would be. You might find it easiest to run elastic around the body in the armpits and use that as the reference line.


Place a piece of elastic around the hips at the widest point. You can't always tell where this is in the front because the butt will make a difference. Keep the elastic parallel to the floor.

Marking these lines and points before measuring will save you a lot of time and trouble. It makes the process much easier for your model, too.