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Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!


Filtering by Tag: measurements

MDC Measurement Guide

Michael MacWolff

So I know I've already done this, but here I have a brand-spanking new version to share with all of you! It's updated with a few more useful pieces of information, and I wanted to add a basic patterning guide so that you can actually put this information to use yourself! 

So, first things first we have the visual guide:

Vertical Measurements


All heights are going to be measured in reference to your shoulder. When finding your starting point, the easiest thing to do is use the seam on a t-shirt as reference. Then simply measure from that point to your Bust, Waist, Hips, and to the Floor. This can be done all at once, easy-peasy!

The "Garment Length" shown here is a custom length for the garment you are making. If you're making something that only covers your top, like a shirt, hoodie, etc. the Garment Length will fall just past your hips.
If you're making a robe, dress, cloak, etc. that is longer, you will have to determine this measurement yourself. It's still helpful to have your measuring tape at your shoulder, and simply figure out visually how far down your body you want the garment to be and determine what your measurement is.
The same can be done if you're making a crop top, or something that is shorter than your full torso. Just do the same thing: place your measuring tape, then record the length you want to the end of your garment.

Arm Lengths

When measuring your arm length, you again want to use a shirt seam as your reference point. This time we'll use the sleeve seam and measure down the outside of your arm to both your elbow & your wrist. For most patterns, you'll only use the Shoulder-Wrist measurement, but for some things like armor and other details, it's useful to know were your elbow sits on your arm.


Inseam and outseam can be tricky to measure on yourself when you're trying to stand, so here's a simple way to avoid that issue:
1) Find a pair of store-bought pants that fits you well and is the length you want.
2) Measure the seam on the outside of your leg (where your hip is, not your crotch) - this is the Outseam.
3) Measure the seam to the inside of your leg (from your crotch to the bottom) - this is the Inseam.


Horizontal Measurements

Remember, while in the visual guide, there's just one arrow, all of these measurements shuold go all the way around  whatever area you're measuring. I imagine most of you know that but we all have brain farts sometimes :-)
Most of these are fairly self-explanatory, but here are a few tips for certain ones:
Crown - You should measure your crown just above your ears, across your forehead. IF YOUR COSTUME INVOLVES A WIG, make sure to wear the wig when you take this measurment.
Bust - This is also sometimes called Chest. You should be measuring under your armpits, and roughly across your nipples.
Underbust - This is only relevant if you have breasts (or your character does). Measure just under the breasts, hence why it's called "Underbust."
**IMPORTANT NOTE** If you are altering your body in any way for your costume (e.g. binding, etc.), you should make those alterations when you're taking your measurements.
Arm Hole - The simplest way to measure this is to put on a t-shirt and measure around the sleeve seam.

And that's that! Now you have all of your measurements and are ready to use them! In my next post, I'll be putting together a very basic patterning guide to use alongside this measurement guide so stay tuned!

Measuring Yourself

Michael MacWolff

As all of my fellow cosplayers out there in the world already know, having your measurements readily available is a very useful thing in putting together your costumes. Often we know how to fit things to ourselves without necessarily needing to do this, particularly when altering existing garments, but generally when making something from scratch this information is useful, and when drafting your own patterns this information is necessary.

So here's my little guide for you on the useful measurements to take of yourself for the sake of cosplay. I should note a few things before I go into detail, primarily that the names I use for the different measurements are not necessarily standard. If you are commissioning someone to make a garment for you, make sure you clarify what they mean when the ask for certain measurements. These are what I use, so if you're planning on commissioning me, I'll use this as a reference (which is essentially my primary motivation in making this entry in the first place).

measurement chart

As you can see I color coded everything for your convenience. The mark on the body matches the name to the right, or for the lengths it's written sideways, and should be fairly obvious which ones correspond to which names. Now, here's some further information for each one.

Measurements Around

  • Crown: Measure around your head, when measuring your crow you should be measuring across your forehead and above your ears, roughly where a hat would sit on your head. You really only need to take this measurement if your costume involves a hat/crown/etc. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you need to take this measurement and your cosplay involved a wig, WEAR THE WIG when you measure. I've made my fair share of hats that fit me fine but won't stay on my head when I have the wig on underneath.
  • Neck: Measure around your neck... pretty self-explanatory.
  • Arm Hole: Measure around the base of your arm. This should be right about where the seam on your t-shirt would be between the body and the sleeve of the shirt. If you're having a hard time measuring this, you can always just find a shirt that fits well and measure that. Just be careful if the shirt is stretchy because it could skew your measurement.
  • Full Chest: Measure around your shoulders and chest like this. Most of the time you won't need this measurement but it does occasionally come in handy. It should be noted that most of the time Chest and Bust are used interchangeably, and almost always refer to what I have listed here as Bust. Apologies for making things confusing but there's no other more logical word to use for this.
chest measurement
  • Bust (aka Chest): Measure around your chest, immediately under your armpits. When measuring, it should roughly go across your nipples. Again it should be noted that most of the time Chest and Bust are used interchangeably, and almost always refer to what I have listed here as Bust (that's this one).
  • Waist: Measure around your waist. Your waist is just below your rib cage, and should be the thinnest point along your torso.
  • Hips: Measure around your hips. I think you can find those without further explanation.
  • Wrist: Pretty sure you've got this.
  • Thigh: In my drawing up above, the thigh measurement is lower than you would usually measure. You generally want to measure your thighs near the base of your leg, closer to your crotch.
  • Knee: Measure around your knee. Generally you want to measure when your leg is straight, however there are some cases in which you want a measurement when your leg is bent.
  • Ankle: I hope you know where your ankles are...


  • Shoulder Span (not on diagram)
  • : Measure from the base of your neck to your shoulder. If you're not sure exactly what points to be using, put on a shirt and measure from the base of the collar to the sleeve along the shoulder seam (if there is a shoulder seam).
  • Shoulder Height: Measure from your shoulder to the floor.
  • Torso Length: The length of your torso from your shoulder to your hips. You should measure this from your shoulder down the front of your body.
  • Ribcage (not on diagram): Measure from your shoulder to your waist.
  • Waist to Underarm: Measure from your armpit to your waist.
  • Arm Length: Measure from your shoulder to your wrist. To help with this measurement, you can take a long-sleeved shirt and measure from the seam at your shoulder to where the sleeve ends, just make sure it's a shirt that has sleeves that are the proper length for you.
  • Outseam: Measure from either your [hips or your waist] to your ankle. This measurement will differ slightly depending on where and how you want your pants to sit on your body. This measurement is primarily relevant for pants and skirts.
  • Inseam: Measure from your crotch to your ankle. This will also differ slightly depending on how you want the hem (bottom of your pant leg) to sit.

I hope this has been helpful, and please leave comments if anything is unclear so I can reference as useful as possible. Thanks!