Site Map

Home page


 About Leena's


Welcome to Leena'

Welcome to Leena', the tutorial and pattern drafting site for
PatternMaker Drafting Sofware for PC.
In this site, you will find tutorials, pattern drafting instructions, sewing instructions and many other sewing projects.
Please Enjoy!

Use Site Map

This web site contains hundreds of pages of information. To find what you need quickly, please use the
Site Map

PatternMaker Software, Manufacturers and Dealers

For PatternMaker software, manufacturers and dealers,
please go to the PatternMaker website at


Sewing instructions
Sewing projects
Pattern drafting


Checking Women's Measurements

[Measuring women] [Check measurements] [Measuring men] [Measuring children]
[Women's standard measurements]
[Men's standard measurements]

The most important measurements are 

1) waist height (from back neck over bust apex to front waist)
2) back length (from back neck to back waist)
3) back width (horizontal measurement between shoulder blades i.e. from sleeve seam to sleeve seam at a level of about one hand's width below neck)
4) pants' crotch height (difference between pants' leg outside and inside length); this can be measured from a pair of old, well fitting pants

If the pants' crotch height is too much or too little the pants waist is too high or too low. Increase or decrease your crotch height accordingly.

If one of the first three measurements is wrong, the result may be a distorted pattern and it is difficult to figure what measurement is wrong. If one of the other measurements is wrong, you get either a too-tight or a too-loose garment and you can easily see what measurement to correct and to what direction.   

To check the measurements for the bodice, sew a muslin of cheap one color fabric. It is worth while doing this because after you have checked that the bodice fits perfectly, you can be sure that all garments made with PatternMaker macros with those measurements fit.

Sew a muslin

Draft patterns with the basic bodice macro (Lbodice.mac). Use dart to shoulder option and normal ease. Do not add seam allowance to neck opening and hem. Add 1" seam allowance to center front. Add 1/2" seam allowance to other seams. Sew all seams but do not attach the sleeves. Put the bodice on and check the fit.

Before joining the sleeves to the muslin

Check that the shoulder seam goes along the center of the shoulder and that the shoulder tip of the garment is in the middle of the shoulder. If there is too much volume at the front armscye , as in the picture, fold a pleat at the armscye and close it with a pin. Then measure the width of the pleat and subtract the amount from the back length measurement.

Please note that in the picture only half of the pleat width has been marked. You have to subtract from the back length the measurement of the whole width of the pleat i.e. the width of the pleat when opened.

If there is too much volume at the back armscye (when the shoulder seam is at place), fold accordingly a pleat at the back armscye, measure the width of the pleat and add the amount to the back length measurement.

This sounds straight and you may think that the the corrections should be done vice versa, but this is what you have to do, believe me.

If bust apex of the garment is too high or too low, change the bust height measurement accordingly.

After joining the sleeves to the muslin

Sew sleeves. If you needed to make a pleat at the front or the back armscye, fold a corresponding pleat at the front or the back of the sleeve caps. Join sleeves to the shell. If the garment is too tight at the back, as in the picture, unravel some of the back seams of the sleeve caps and measure the amount you have to add to your back width measurement.

Make sure that the waist seam of the muslin is in place. If it is too high or too low, change waist height and back length accordingly. Be careful not to change waist height and back length with different amount because it might change the direction of the shoulder.


Normally the patterns for a basic sloper are more or less like in picture 1 . Front and back shoulders slope downwards to shoulder tip. Armscyes curve inward. Back armscye can be rather straight but should never bulge outward or curve strongly inward.   

If the pattern is like in picture  2 i.e. front armscye curves strongly inward and back armscye bulges outward, back width is too much. Measure back width anew.

Please note that this measuring error causes the garment to be too loose at back and too tight at front. Therefore the situation cannot be corrected by only reducing width of back pattern. The patterns must be redrawn using the correct back width measurement.

If waist height in relation to back length is wrong, the result is either a shoulder which slopes to wrong direction ( picture 3 ) or which is too steep ( picture 4 ).

If you measure waist height as instructed in the PatternMaker measuring instructions i.e. double around back neck and divide the result by two, there seldom is any error in waist height. Therefore the error usually is in back length.  

If shoulder slopes in wrong direction ( picture 3) back length is too much, if it is too steep ( picture 4 ), back length is too little. Check the amount to be corrected in the measurements sewing a muslin and using instructions above. When you have the correct back length measurement, please look to which point at your neck it has be be measured from the waist to be measured correctly.

If the subject stand in a very upright, military position with bust out and abdomen in, also waist height may be too much. Please make sure that the subject stands in a relaxed position when she is being measured.   

A measuring case

Here you have a blouse sewn without waist darts and with dropped sleeves. You can see that the hem of the garment is not horizontal. Furthermore there is too much fabric at the front armscye, which causes wrinkles at the armscye.

In this case two measurements have been taken incorrectly: waist height and back length. You notice this when looking at the muslin sewn with the basic bodice patterns (refer to the picture to the left picture above). The waist and the hem of the bodice are not horizontal. You have to add waist height and back length, but not with same amount. Please notice that you should not correct this kind of a situation by just adding length to front and back hem.

When fitting the basic bodice, mark the waist line on the muslin with pencil or basting. Put an elastic around the subjects waist and check that the waist line marked on the bodice goes along the elastic at the subject's waist. If not, measure the differences and change the measurements accordingly.

The shape of the armscye is dependent on the proportion of waist height and back length. If waist height is too little compared with back length, as in this case, front shoulder is too straight. This kind of a situation is illustrated in picture 3 above.

Following changes were made in the measurements and the bodice seems OK now (refer to the right picture above):
- 3 cm/1.2" was added to waist height and
- 1.5 cm/0.6" was added to back length

Correct patterns can look odd

In some cases a steep shoulder may be due to the subject's body shape. This is the case if the subject has a very prominent bust. And vice versa, if a subject has a very flat bust and/or a very round back, the shoulder can be rather straight.   

Thus, there are cases, where the patterns are all right even if they look "odd". When the patterns are drawn according to a person's own measurements, they should not be compared with patterns drawn according to "normal" or "average" measurements.

If you get an error message :   
value out of range in line …   
coord (32,33,sqrt(op*op-oke*oke),-oke); 

measuring error is so drastic that the program is unable to draw the patterns at all. Front shoulder does not meet armscye line. Then either back length is too little or waist height too much. It may also be that shoulder length has some influence: shoulder length may be too short.   

Also, in some other cases there may be reason for checking shoulder length measurement. If shoulder is too short, there will be a corner inward where front and back shoulder meet at shoulder tip and vice versa.

Home page       |        Suomeksi       |         About Leena's       |         Contact is a subsidiary of PatternMaker Software USA.   Copyright © 1998, 2006 Leena Lähteenmäki, PatternMaker Software.