How To Measure Yourself: Bust, Waist, Hips
Do you want your sweaters to knit perfectly? Learn to how to measure yourself correctly! Start here with this photo tutorial to help you accurately take your bust, waist and hip measurements, and then be sure to check out our exclusive FREE knitting measuring eBook with worksheets, more measurement tips, and FREE knitting patterns.
The photos below demonstrate where the tape measure should be placed. When you measure yourself, don’t measure over your clothing! We chose to keep our model clothed, because, well, this is a family website, but measuring over your clothing will add extra bulk. It’s best to measure over your basic underthings (bra, panties, slip, or camisole).
How To Measure Yourself: Bust
What it IS: Your Full Bust Measurement, which the circumference of your chest at its fullest/curviest/most voluptuous point.
What it is NOT: This is NOT your bra band size! It is also not your underbust measurement, nor your high bust measurement.
How to find it: You should be wearing the undergarments you would wear with a knitted top of the type you’re intending to make, but ditch the layers, sweaters, and bulky outer clothing for this performance. Bra only is best; bra with camisole is fine. Wrap a flexible tape measure around your bust. Make sure the tape lays flat, and goes only over your chest and shoulder blades, not over your arms or your cat or anything else. Wrap the tape around the biggest part of your bust, which on most gals is somewhere at or slightly above nipple level. Breathe normally—do not hold your breath!
For more about taking accurate measurements and how to decide what size to knit, we recommend Knitting Plus by Lisa Shroyer.
How To Measure Your Waist
Surprisingly, not everyone knows where their “real” waist is! The trouble seems to be that most definitions say the waist is your narrowest part … and that just isn’t true for non-hourglass gals. Feel along your sides for the top of your hipbones, and then wiggle your fingers around the area until you find the natural indentation just above the bones—that’s what is supposed to be your waist.
If your measurements don’t match the pattern schematic, you might need to alter your pattern a bit. Learn how in our Knitting Alterations seminar.
How To Measure Your Hips
Buddha Belly (for Rubenesque and Goddess gals)
If you’ve got one, you know what I’m talking about. Measure around the most generous part of your belly, because any sweater you make is going to have to stretch over that. Again, this can be tough to locate if you are not an hourglass. Feel along your sides for your leg joint, and then LOOK DOWN to see if this is the widest part of you. Wiggle the tape around until it looks as though you’ve got it around your widest bit.
A wonderful sweater pattern for curvy gals is the Sidelines Top. This flattering pullover accentuates your shape and allows for customization.
High Tummy (also for Rubenesque and Goddess Gals)
If you have a little padding of plush under your bust and above your waist, measure that at its most generous curve.
After taking your bust, waist, hip measurements there may be several additional knitting measurements you’ll need in order to have a complete set. Refer to your pattern for other specific needs.
One of our favorite books, The Knitter’s Companion, can guide you in taking the rest of your measurements accurately.
And check out our free, fabulous online calculator, the Interweave’s knitting Waist Shaping Calculator. Simply enter your measurements and the calculator will do the shaping math for you!