Hi, this is Rob from Manufactory Apparel!

Today I want to talk about using a measuring tape to get consistent measurements. After close to a decade in Skydiving (and countless jumpsuits), I know just how often you’ll have to take measurements whether for yourself, friends or teammates for new equipment. So, I pulled together a few helpful tips to make it easier for you to get consistent measurements.

Before we jump into those tips, keep in mind that today’s global marketplace still uses both the metric system (cm’s) and imperial system (Inches) for recording measurements. However, so long as your measurements are consistent you’ll be good to go.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into my tips!

Tip #1. Have someone else measure you.

Why? Standing up tall and straight ensures you get the best measurements. You simply cannot do that if you’re measuring yourself. Don’t move and try to stand as relaxed as possible. If you can’t find anyone to measure you, measure yourself, but have it double checked by someone else to guarantee you are comfortable in the item you end up buying.

Tip #2. Keep in mind the purpose of the measurements.

What are you measuring for?

Take into consideration any extra items or accessories you will wear to compliment the garment it is your measuring up for. Will you need space for extra clothing? Or do you need the item to fit snugly against your body? Or will you wear something over the top which should not be obstructed?

Think about comfort and performance too. Do you plan to lose or gain weight? If so, factor that into your measurements as well.

Also, think about the seasons. A good example is If you’re planning on skydiving in winter, you’ll need to fit another layer of clothing under your jumpsuit. In the summertime, the opposite will be true, and you’ll need less space. Our suggestion in this case is to fit your garment to the time of year you will most likely use it. Also look for winter thermals that are lightweight with high thermal properties if you really want to wear a slim suit all year round.

Tip #3. How to Take Correct Measurements

Hold the tape correctly.

My best piece of advice is how to hold your measuring tape. Whoever is measuring you should use three fingers, their thumb, index finger, and middle finger. The best way to hold the measuring tape is loosely between these fingers. Instead of pulling the tape in opposite directions, allow the measuring tape to lay naturally against the persons body. You should feel a slight tension from the tape between your fingers, and by using your inside two-fingers as a guide for pressure, you will have a consistent idea on how firm you are pulling the tape as your fingers press against the body part.

This tip applies only to the necklines, chests, waists, biceps and circumferences, not to length measurements such as the inseam, body, arm and leg lengths.

The goal is to provide consistency for your measurements across the board. It is certainly better to go a bit loose than too tight, not only because you can add layers underneath, but you can also adjust the item.

Tip #3. How to Take Correct Measurements

Stand natural

As you’re being measured, it’s very important that you stand tall and straight, but be natural. Avoid sticking out your throat and chin, chest, or shoulders if that’s not the normal way you stand. Again, the goal is to provide consistent and comfortable measurements. So, if you’re standing unnaturally the measurements will be off and useless. Stand as you normally do for the best results.

 Use Secondary guides

If you’re measuring lengths, it’s a good idea to use a piece of string (Pullup cords to the rescue!), for example you can tie one piece of string at your ankle and another piece of string at your knee. Then measure from one string to the other, instead of picking an imaginary point on your knee and ankle.

The result is a minimal discrepancy, which is a good thing for measurements. You do not want large discrepancies like two or three centimetres. An acceptable tolerance should be no more than 1cm or 3/8 of an inch.

Remember That Every Manufacturer Is Different

Finally, remember that manufacturers each have different ways of measuring. Most of the time this is because everyone is taught a unique way of measuring items. Pattern makers, machinists, and seamstresses, all have different techniques for translating measurements. Again, we go back to what I’ve been saying all along, as long as your measurements are consistent you’ll have a better chance of getting it right.

However, an experienced patternmaker should be able to see any ‘odd’ measurements in your response and will likely reach out to you to double check those measurements.  They know that everyone is a bit different and they want to ensure they get it right for you.

Wrapping It Up

Buying clothing and gear online shouldn’t be overwhelming. You can get the right item to your doorstep if you do your due diligence the measurements will be spot on.

My hope is that these tips have given you a clearer understanding of the best way to use a measuring tape. If you have any further questions about this process, or just want a few extra tips from me personally, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. I’m always more than happy to help.

Happy Measuring!