How To Find Your Size In PDF Sewing Patterns

Welcome to the ninth lesson in the Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Knit Apparel! Download the ebook for free!

In this lesson, we’ll be talking about measuring yourself to find your perfect size. Every pattern company uses a different sizing chart. So never cut a pattern size based on the size you wear in stores. Nevah evah! The only way to know exactly what size you should cut your sewing patterns is by knowing how to take your own measurements.


The most common mistake when choosing your size for PDF patterns is to default to your store-bought size. It’s so important to know your measurements and to cut accordingly! Most PDF patterns include instructions for the correct standing position, tape position and tightness of the tape when measuring, along with how to grade between sizes. Taking the time to measure starts your project off in the right direction and gives you the perfect fit every time!

– Kristi Fitzpatrick, George and Ginger Pattern Co.


To take all of these measurements you’ll want to use a fabric tape measure. Check out all of the pics below of some of the most common measurements you’ll want to have on hand for any sewing pattern. I did my best to illustrate where to measure with my 8 months pregnant body.

When you measure yourself you’ll want to be standing up straight, nice and tall with your feet right underneath your hips.

For my pics, I tried to accentuate my curves so you could see better where on the body you’ll be measuring. You know you love seeing a pregnant lady in tight clothes… 😉

High Bust

This measurement is taken above the bust, right under and around the armpits.

Full Bust

For this measurement, you’ll wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your bust. Do this while wearing the bra you normally wear under your clothing to get the most accurate fit.


This measurement is at your natural waistline, somewhere around the level of your belly button. Yeah sorry about the pic. Don’t really have a waist at the moment. But you get the idea…

High Hip

Wrap the tape right around the hip bones.

Hip / Full Hip

This measurement is taken at the widest part of your hips, going across your booty. Ow ow! Get it girl!


Measure at the widest part of your thigh. This is rarely asked for, but I have come across a few pant patterns that have it on the sizing chart.


Once again, this will be the widest part of the calf. And just like the thigh measurement, it is less commonly asked for but you may come across it for pant patterns.


The inseam goes right from the base of the crotch, down to the length you would want your hemline. For me, this is about an inch off of the floor.

Mirror Power Stance

Once you’ve taken your measurements, go look in the mirror and tell yourself how insanely sexy you are. Seriously, this is a legitimate step in the sewing process. I don’t care what those numbers are, you are a beautiful woman worth sewing for.

Editor’s Note: How did you measure up? Take those measurements and try the Womens ABB Leggings!

Comparing Your Measurements to the Sizing Chart

Now take your measurements and compare them to your sewing patterns in order to determine which size you need to cut. If your measurements vary significantly between sizes, you’ll likely want to do what’s called “size grading“. We will cover that in our next lesson.

Lesson assignment: Take your measurements!

If you’re needing to grade between sizes continue onto our next lesson, How To Grade Between Sizes. If you’re feeling pretty comfortable in one size, go ahead and skip that lesson and continue onto How To Print PDF Sewing Patterns.

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