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This lesson covers all sizes -
*denotes measurements to be taken on child type dolls.
Measurements are shown on an MSD doll.
What you will need:
-Blank Measurement Sheet (PDF file)
-Narrow Measuring Tape - I use a small measuring tape that comes out of one of those circular, spring back containers. The tape is narrow, flexible and has both inches and centimeters on it.

-Your doll
-Pen or pencil

-Placing your doll on a stand will make it easier to take the measurements
-Always take the measurements in the same place and in the same way.
-If you find the measurements hard to take, cut narrow strips of paper, wrap them around the
doll and mark a beginning and end spot, take off and measure the piece of paper.
-You can write down the measurements in either the English system or
Metric - I will be covering both when we get to creating the pattern
-It helps to place masking tape or some other kind of tape on the doll to mark the bust,
waist and hipline as these become reference points for several "vertical" measurements.
-I have numbered each measurement on the blank measurement sheet and refer to those number below.

The tape on the pictures below show where measurement should begin and end.

1. *Shoulder to Shoulder - take across upper back as shown.
Determine where you want the shoulder line to be on a regular garment
(where the sleeve would be sewn in) and take the measurement there.

2. *Neck (base) to shoulder - take measurement as shown and end
at the same shoulder line you determined in measurement #1.

3. *Neck (around) - this measurement is used to determine neckline size, or for a turtleneck collar size.

4. *Cross Back - used to determine if the back is broad or narrow.

5. *Bust (or Chest on a child doll) - This measurement should be taken around the fullest part of the bust and tape measure should remain parallel to the floor all around the body (don't let it droop in the back).

6 & 7. - Separate Front and back bust measurements - I put a small pen mark on tape
(or place a strip of narrow tape) on each side seam of the doll, then take separate front
and back bust measurements. These will be needed if your doll has a full bust so that
you can do an accurate full bust alteration to the pattern.

8. *Waist - I always place something at the waist when I am taking a full set of measurements.
Either a strip of masking tape or a rubberband so that I have that as a reference point
while doing other measurements. I visually note where the waist appears to be
(the indentation at the side of the doll) and place my marker there.

9. Underbust - taken direcly under the bust. Important when creating a fitted bodice or corset type pattern.

10. High Bust - Taken above the bustline and under the armpits. Important if doll has a full bust.
(For a point of reference-on human patterns for adult females the patterns are drafted from a
sloper with a B-cup size. If a human has a larger bust than that it is usually better to use the
high bust measurement when buying the pattern and then altering for a large bust. Most
patterns increase in size across the shoulders and some times the armhole area and if a
person isn't large/heavy, but simply has a large bust, the pattern will be too large all-around).

11. Bust Point to Bust Point - The measurement is taken "nipple to nipple" on the doll and is a reference point when placing bust darts on a pattern. It is also used when altering a pattern for a full bust.

12. Shoulder to bust point - taken from the middle of the shoulder (I use the seam on the doll) to the bust point. Another reference measurement for placement of bust darts and altering the pattern for a full bust.

13. Shoulder to waist over bust - Taken from the shoulder (seam of doll) over the bust to waist.
I actually cup the tape measure over the breast when I take this measurement to build in a slight
bit of ease. This is yet another measurement that is used when doing a full bust alteration.
Note: When a doll (or a person) has a full bust, the pattern usually ends up short in the front
so you would need this length to determine the amount of alteration to the pattern.

14. *Underarm to waist - taken from under the arm to the waist.
Used to determine length on a fitted bodice or corset.

15. *(Back) Neck to Waist - used to determine length of bodice.

16 & 17. *Arm Measurements--Shoulder to Elbow and Elbow to Wrist. Taken from
where you marked the shoulder to the elbow and then from the elbow to the wrist.

18. *Total Arm Length - taken from the shoulder to wrist over a bent elbow to build in a slight bit of ease.

19. *Wrist Circumference - I take this around the bottom of the lower arm piece
as it is larger around than actually around the wrist (or ball joint).

20. *Bicep (circumference) - useful if doing a short sleeve.

21. *Left and Right Hand Spread - take separate measurements if the hand
spread is not the same measurement on both hands. You need this to determine
how big around a sleeve is going to be to insure it will go over the hands -
or if you will want to make an opening in the sleeve (to allow the sleeve to
go over the hands but still have a tighter fit.)

22. Upper (High) Hip - taken around the body at the place where the hip "bone" starts.
This measurement is used to help determine the proper hip curve on skirts and pants.
This measurement would also be important if you have a doll with a pot belly!

23. *Hip (full hip - around fullest part of derriere).

23A & 23B - Front and Back Hip - draw a mark on tape at side seams (or place a narrow
strip of tape along where the sides would be) and take an individual front and back
hip measurement. (This will be used if your doll has a full derriere).

24. *Hip (around ball joints) - OPTIONAL. You would take this measurement if your doll has ball joints
that protrude in the front (the doll pictured here does not). This measurement is taken around
the fullest part of the derriere and around the protruding front ball joints and then would be used
as the "hip" measurement when doing a pattern for a slim skirt or pants. It is usually a larger
measurement than the hip. Think of someone who has "full" front thighs - skirts and pants will
fit too tight in that area of the garment if it is fitted to the hip measurement.
CLICK HERE for further measurement information - and alteration guide for pants and skirts.

25. *Waist to Hipline - taken down side of doll from waist to hip. This measurement is
used to make sure the hipline curve is placed correctly so that the fullest
part of a skirt or pants-at hipline/the widest part of the curve on pattern-is in the right place.

26 - 27 - 28 - *Crotch Front, Crotch Back & Crotch Total - Take the entire crotch measurement
from front waist thru crotch to back waist (going over the butt). To get the separate front and
back measurements I determine where the front will stop and the back will begin by turning the
doll upside down, aligning the inner leg in the socket and using the leg seam to place a tape
marker at that spot. This is used when making pants or legging patterns.

29. *Thigh (around) - used for pants or legging patterns.

30. *Waist to Floor (outer leg) - used to determine length of long skirts, etc.

31. *Outseam (waist to ankle) - to determine pants length.

32. *Waist to Knee (outer leg) - to determine short skirt length.

33. *Inseam (Crotch to Ankle) - also for pant length

34. *Head Circumference - useful for wigs. Take measurement with wig on for hats/headpieces.

35. *Torso Length - taken from shoulder over bust thru crotch and up over butt to shoulder.
Very useful for body suits.

May 13, 2014
Copyright 2000 - Dale Rae Designs