Measuring For Children’s Patterns

At one point or another in your sewing career, you have likely put together a cute little outfit for your son or daughter, only to have it a little tight in the chest, or the arms are just a tad short. A lot of that can be avoided if you know how to take the right measurements prior to making the garments.

You don’t want to needlessly spend your time and effort on something that isn’t done right. If you are too big, then at least you can bring in the seams and try to fix the garment. But, too short, and you use up a whole lot of fabric. This article will describe how to take the proper measurements for a child, so you can get them into the outfit you have sewn.

Measuring for height – This is probably the simplest one to do – just as long as your child is not wearing shoes. Shoes can add between an inch and 2.5 inches to the height of the child – making your measurements way off. Have your child stand with their back straight against a wall. Measure from the bottom and back of the heel, to the crown of the head.

Chest – You should measure for the chest around the largest part of the chest. Not when the chest is expanded, but at the part where you will get the greatest measurement around this area. It is most often right underneath the armpits.

Waist – The natural waist is the best place to measure for kids, but figuring out the natural waist might be the toughest chore. This is usually the area about two to three inches above the top of the hipbone.

Hips – This one is simple. We all know where the hips are, so we need to measure around the fullest part of the hips. Without an accurate measurement in this area, our kids might not be able to pull up their new slacks!

Arm – To get an accurate measurement of the arm, you need to first measure from the neckline to the tip of the shoulder bone (towards the arm). Make a note of this measurement. Then give the arm a slight bend, and without releasing the tape (from the original measurement), measure all of the way down to the wrist. Subtract the shoulder width from the overall measurement and you have your most accurate arm length measurement.

Pant length – You need to measure both the inseam and the outside of the leg in order to get a good measurement for the pant length. The outside seam will be the overall pant length, and is the most important for the proper length. This is measured from the waist point to the length you wish the pant leg to be.

The inseam is for the proper fit in the midsection and crotch area. To measure the inseam, you need to measure from the crotch area to the length you want the pant leg.

Final tips and hints for measurements:

Don’t be afraid to err on the larger side. Unless you are trying to tailor something to fit perfectly then don’t worry. Also, kids are going to grow, so by making it 1/4″ bigger in one area isn’t going to hurt.

When measuring (especially for pant and arm length), you want to keep in mind the comfort of your children, over making it fit exact.

When choosing a pattern for your child, match the height of your child first, then the chest, and finally waist and hip measurements.

If your child has measurements that fit between two pattern sizes, go with the larger pattern size.

With a firm idea of how to make proper measurements on your children, you can now go ahead and tailor that new blouse, or a great set of summer shorts!