In sewing, often only 3 measurements are required on patterns to determine a size to follow: bust/chest, waist and hips. That’s about as impractical as anything I’ve ever seen considering people are all kinds of height and shapes outside of those measurements. The vast majority of people don’t even fit the standard sizes made!
For example, patterns for women tend to be made for women 5’6″ or 5’7″. Do you have any idea what the average height for women is? Try 5’2″.
Do you know the standard deviation on that? It’s two inches.
And do you know what that means? It means the pattern size is 2 or 2.5 standard deviations off the average women’s height, meaning the pattern would fit one in 40 women out there, or fewer if 2.5 standard deviations was used, just on height alone!
Then there’s shape. A large proportion of us are overweight or obese, bad pun intended.
There are also many other body parts to accommodate.
If you’re going to be proactive to fit what you can by doing pattern alterations before fitting, rather than finding out you might need to start over or make massive adjustments after a few steps, you would need a lot more measurements from a person than just those three common ones. It would also save you from having to call them back several times to adjust a few parts each time as you get to them. Might as well have a bunch of measurements and only call them back when you need more.
What I have linked below are two measurement sheet files which has a whole slew of measurements I have found useful. I have indicated garments they may be useful for, though it’s far from an exhaustive or comprehensive list. I did so since some people probably would do the Spock one raised eyebrow look upon seeing some of them and wondering why one would need such a measurement.
You can take the list and use it as is, or edit it to your liking. The Word file is editable, whereas the PDF is generally not unless you’ve got special software. I included it for those who don’t have Word. At least you have something to work with.
For file use, what I would suggest you do is take the Word file and edit names to those you use. You may also want to reorder some to the order you’d prefer to measure. You may also want to remove some, like measurements for corsets which can get a little intimate to do, if you never plan to do one, or any time soon. This post will always be here if you change your mind. Finally, add in ones you find useful. Should you do this last step, please leave a comment so I can consider to add to my sheet, and update the sheet posted here. Some things on my sheet, I will admit, aren’t the biggest priorities for me, like shoe size for socks and boot covers for costuming. I may also expand the list to two pages by some grouping where measurements for rarer garments are on a second page to save people from having to waste paper, or lose focus on their main charts that they can carry around on one page.
For measurements, I would say measure as many as you think you might need in one go. That’s to minimize error in starting and ending points. Let’s say you took the neck to waist measurement and later needed a waist to knee measurement. Do you think you’d get the exact same waist starting point as the previous time? If you don’t, you will end up with a slightly longer or shorter length, say, than you would if you were to have done it all at once. A knee length dress that passes through the waist will be a little off, which you can adjust for after (if shortening), but we’re trying to minimize that, remember. Many measurements are actually vertical measurements that segments the body into a variety of useful points. Do all this in one go to minimize errors.
I hope you will find these sheets useful. I look forward to hearing your feedback and/or suggestions.