Measuring: Why can’t I just go by what size I buy at the store?

I’ve had many people ask to just make whatever size they buy for their child at the store in the past.  What store?  Target?  Old Navy?  Crew Cuts?  A high end boutique?  Each brand and line have different measurements for their lines of clothing.

Why do I give them a firm NO! and recommend giving me measurements?  Because it’s super frustrating to cut out and assemble a dress only to have it totally not fit and you have to scrap it and start over.  It’s a waste of time and fabric (and no fabric should ever be wasted…).

I follow ASTM standard measurements for children which is different than many ready to wear lines.  And because I try to give instructions on how to alter your pattern to lengthen or shorten your garment, I STRONGLY advise you to measure your child before each and every piece.  Some pattern makers follow charts and guidelines created by different organizations or authors which vary slightly so just because you make X size in soandso’s patterns, does not guarantee that it will fit when you use our patterns.

My son, for example (Girly was not in the mood for pictures today) is 23″ around the chest and  48.5″ tall.  He’s a long skinny fella so he fits into a size 4 in width and 8 in height.

How did I get those measurements?

Measuring-2I had him stand straight, yet relaxed.  The chest measurement is right around the nipple (or “dot” as my very literal children call them) area under the armpits.  I did NOT have him make a T with his arms because that measurement can be up to 1/2″ smaller than standing in a relaxed position.  Do not pull the measuring tape tight but have it snug enough that it doesn’t droop anywhere.  Try to measure on a bare chest or over snug fitting clothing.

Measure the waist in the same fashion.  The waist is not necessarily where your child’s pant lay but where they bend when bending side to side.  It’s generally the smallest part of the waist (just above the belly button).  I had a 5yo photographing today so I have no useable photographs…sorry…

Height is easy!  Just measure from the top of the head to the floor!

Another good measurement to have is shoulder to knee.

Yep, that’s the awesome skills of a 5yo trying to dance and photograph at the same time…

This measurement is especially helpful when determining dress length when you have a shift of swing dress style.  Measure from the shoulder where straps usually lay to the crease at the back of the knee.

It’s always handy to write down your measurements or upload them to the cloud via google drive or something similar.  Then you’ll always have your measurements handy even if you are away from home.  Also, double check your measurements before each project to make sure your little one didn’t have a growth spurt!  I swear mine can grow an inch in a matter of a few days…


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