Dressmaker Measurements

Pattern making is, eventually, going to need a dressmakers dummy. Now, there are many different options, and I know some sewists dislike the adjustable form dummies. But if your weight fluctuates a lot, or even if you are sewing a lot for others, then the adjustable forms truly are pretty easy to work with. For my form, when I’m ready to start sewing, I’ll be adjusting the hips, but padding the bust. The downside of small ribs and back but large boobs.

In addition to a whole host of measurements that Patternmaking for Fashion Design tells you to take, there are some specific measurements that should be taken and used to pad out and adjust your dressmaker dummy. Now, having someone help you take the measurements is far easier than attempting to take them yourself; but you CAN take your own measurements. Just be prepared to do lots of micro adjustments throughout the process.

The first set of measurements for your dressmaker dummy are the Horizontal Balance Lines:

Horizontal Balance Lines = HBL

Horizontal Balance Lines = HBL

Tape measure should be firm across the body, measurements are taken at full bust, natural waist, high hip, and full hip. Next, we take vertical and diagonal measurements:

Vertical and Diagonal lines

Vertical and Diagonal lines

Make sure you take these measurements on both the left and right sides so that any imbalances in posture (like, for example, scoliosis) can be accounted for in the pattern making. This will remain a challenge throughout pattern making and fitting, as no matter what dressmaker dummy you buy, unless it is a very high end custom form, the dressmaker dummy is rarely set to account for postural anomalies. Get comfortable with a camera, as actually wearing the item and checking for fit in a picture is the best way to make adjustments for us bent b*tches.

So these are the measurements you need to set up your dummy. This is NOT an all inclusive list for measurements needed. For that, you can buy the book.