How to Take Professional Dress Measurements

By Amrita Chuasiriporn

Whether you're having a dress altered or specially made, it's important to know how to take professional dress measurements. Though you cannot take them by yourself, a friend and a trusty tape measure can ensure that your measurements will help to create the perfect dress to fit your silhouette stunningly. If you keep a copy of these measurements handy, you will be prepared to create beautiful dresses and have beautiful dresses created for you.

Woman using sewing machine
credit: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Step 1

Measure across your bust. Have your friend pull the tape measure around your shoulder blades and over the fullest part of your bust. Make sure the measuring tape is pulled snug, but not so tight that it is cutting into you in any way. Your friend should also hold their thumb underneath the tape measure just over your spine to allow a small bit of leeway. Write down this measurement, and do not be alarmed. It will not match your bra size, but it is not supposed to.

Step 2

Measure around your natural waistline. This will be at or near your belly button. Stand up straight, and allow your belly to relax naturally. Have your friend follow the same procedure as for your bust, only around your waistline. Write this measurement down.

Step 3

Measure around your hips. As with the previous two measurements, this measurement should be taken around the fullest part of your hips. Your friend should allow some slack by placing her thumb underneath the tape measure as she pulls it snug. Write down this measurement.

Step 4

Measure the length of the dress. If you want to keep a general set of measurements around for the purpose of making many dresses, you may wish to take a few measurements to cover different lengths. For a formal dress, measure from the hollow of your collarbone down to the floor. Make sure to wear the shoes you will be wearing with that dress as you are getting measured. Allow the tape measure to slacken slightly to emulate the extra material you will need for a long, flowing skirt. Repeat the process for knee-length and shorter dresses. Write down all measurements.