Garment Measurements Vs. Body Measurements

A garment's measurements won't be the same as your body's.

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When it comes to sewing, garment measurements aren't the same as your body measurements -- although both are vital to getting perfect-fitting clothes. Knowing the difference between the two can determine if your clothing will fit or not, plus how well it will fit. Your body measurements are the measurements in inches of parts of your body, while garment measurements are the pattern measurements for the actual clothing item itself.

Body Measurements

Your take your body measurements by using a tape measure and wrapping it around certain areas of your body like your chest, waist and hips. These measurements tell you about your own body size, but if they match up perfectly with a garment’s measurements, the garment likely won’t fit.

Garment Measurements

A garment’s measurements are the actual measurements for that piece of clothing. While you may measure them at the same places you would measure your body, they aren’t synonymous with your own body. In other words, a garment’s measurements should be larger, not smaller, than your body measurements.

Ease

When it comes to clothing measurements, ease doesn’t describe how difficult or easy it is to put on an item of clothing. Instead, ease is the difference between your body measurement and the garment’s measurement at the same body part. Knowing a garment’s ease is one of the easiest ways to tell if something will fit. There are two types of ease: wearing ease is the garment measurement you need to get the garment on and move around in it. Design ease is the amount of fabric needed to give the garment its look. For example, design ease may be a large number for a dolman or batwing sleeve. You don’t need all the fabric to get the shirt on, but it's necessary for the garment to have a certain look.

Fit

If you have both your body and garment measurements, you can make a pretty good guess about how something will fit. Subtract the difference from the garment’s measurements and your own measurements and compare. For example, a sweater will be close-fitting if there's a 1- to 2-inch difference, while a 2- to 4-inch difference would give you a standard fit, according to the Craft Yarn Council. Anything with a 4- to 6-inch difference would be loose-fitting, while a difference greater than 6 inches is considered oversized. If your measurements match up to the sweater’s measurements, or there's less than a 1-inch difference, it’s going to be a tight squeeze.

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