View Full Version : Universal Measurement Sheet for Customers/Commissioners

02-10-2011, 04:18 AM
Having run into problems with missing measurements, comissioners using different styles of measurements and having to provide measurements over and over for different costumes and always getting different results (in spite of often providing the same measurements), I wonder if we might not create a measurement tutorial to sticky here for those looking to comission?

Common Questions to Answer:
1) How does one ideally take accurate measurements?
2) How tight should you hold the tape measure around each part?
3) When asked for measurements ~ should one provide nude measurements or the measurements they want from their clothing?
4) Should male costumes for female customers be measured bound or unbound?
5) What areas might a comissioner "miss" on their standard measurement sheets that would affect fit?
6) How can I tell if I've made a mistake in providing measurements or if the commissioner has made a mistake in construction?
7) Will the commissioner take the looseness of the fit in references into account or do I need to tell them how I want each piece to fit in addition to my measurements? In other words, can I count on the comissioner to alter the fit to match the garment I've requested?

Additional request:
~a measurement fill-in form that is as close to "fool proof" as possible that could ideally be provided to multiple commissioners without need to take measurements over and over.

Any help?

02-11-2011, 01:09 PM
This is an extremely good idea. I vote that this should get stickied somewhere.

02-12-2011, 11:42 AM
Agreed! To answer a few of these questions, imo...

1. Of all places, Fan+Friend actually has a decent guide to measuring parts of your body (http://www.fanplusfriend.com/service/policy.htm#Custom_Sizes__). Often, people will measure their waist too low and their hips too high, for example. This guide is pretty good for that.

2. This is a tricky one, because you can't really "describe" an exact amount of tautness over the internet XD I personally hold the tape measure so that it's just taught enough to lay against my body without squeezing and without drooping- then (for the waist) I take a normal breath and see how much I need to expand it to be the same tautness while still able to breath normally. But again, it's hard to describe over the internet. ^^;

3. This is another tricky one because I think it depends on how the commissioner themselves works.

4. Bound, I'd say. You want the measurements to be for however you plan to wear the costume- including undergarments (so if, on the other hand, you plan to wear a super duper pushup padded bra with a female costume- take your measurements with it on :P)

5. A few good ones that F+F link hits are neck circumference, bicep circumference, thigh circumference, bust height, sleeve length and shoulder width (I have this problem a lot since I have very thin and short shoulders!), and torso length (from underbust to waist or shoulder to hips, for example). Also calf circumference and wrist circumference (various uses- stockings, cuffs etc), ring size/finger circumference and hand width/length from the wrist (for gloves), head circumference for wigs...

6. Measurements for garments, flat, should be about 1/2 the actual sizes they need to be for your body (ie a flat measurement for a blouse fitting a 32" bust would be about 12"?) so that way, you can measure out a garment to see if it adds up correctly. This is a sort of slippery slope, though...

7. See #3!

I think a universal measurements form would be fantastic. I have a textfile for all of my measurements that I refer to when shopping, not just for cosplay stuff. The sizes I have on mine are (all in cm because cm are more exact) :
WAIST TO KNEE: (for skirts)
SHOULDER TO HIPS/SHIRT LENGTH: (how long tshirts etc generally need to be on me)
SHOULDER TO KNEE: (for knee-length dresses)
FOOT LENGTH: (for Japanese shoe buying :D)

If you commission wigs often, I'd add head circumference.

Hope this helps!

02-22-2011, 03:07 PM
I make up a custom measurement sheet for every person/costume I am commissioned for. Every body is different and important things that are overlooked include how far apart are the breasts (apex spread), because that guides where the princess seams/darts must go. What is the distance between the bust and waist? Underarm to waist? Shoulder circumference (for sleeve armseye).

At the themepark I work, they have a one-sheet-fits-all that includes all those things and more. I think there are a total of something like 60 measurements that covers every possible costume we may make for a person, from dresses to bodysuits, tailored menswear to dancing girls.

That said, there are measurements totally not needed for certain projects. Strapless dress does not require armseye, neck, or leg measurements (except for skirt length). Or there are measurements you need to make up. For big puffy sleeves, I widely gap my measuring tape around the part of the arm until it looks like the correct fullness and record that. Custom, custom, custom.

02-22-2011, 03:56 PM
Some advice on how to measure someone's head (so you can modify a wig head and properly style a wig) would also be helpful, if anyone has anything to offer.

02-22-2011, 04:12 PM

http://www.lace-front-wig.com/custom_wig_size.html I just googled "wig measurements"

02-25-2011, 07:33 PM
Oh boy! this is a great idea and I'm glad to fill it out from a commissioner's standpoint, since I'm revamping and relaunching my 10-year-old business. I've had problems trying to fit people because they give me inaccurate measurements, so it goes both ways.

1) Accurate measurements should be taken ideally with assistance. Get a friend/family member to help you, don't try to take them all yourself. Especially the measurements taken across or down your back - don't take them in the front and figure that'll be enough. In addition, if you're confused as to exactly what the commissioner is asking you to measure? ASK THEM. A good commissioner will be happy to answer.

2) The tape measure should be comfortably taut. Not so tight you can really feel it/it bunches or pulls your skin and clothes, but not so loose that there's slack. A good seamstress or tailor working from actual patterns or drafting their own will want the actual body part measurement, no added slack to accommodate for clothing layers or anything else.

3) Nude measurements are...well, now that I think about it, somewhat ideal, but not even a tailor will make you strip down to your skivvies to measure. A thin t-shirt does not affect the measurements enough to require you to take it off. Pants? Well, try to get a waist and hip measurement without jeans or anything thick around your waist if you can.

4) BOUND BOUND BOUND!!! regardless of whether you're doing mtf or ftm, always ALWAYS measure with any undergarments appropriate to the costume if it's going to significantly change your shape. Binding, or in opposite cases stuffing for a bodice, changes your shape enough that you'll want to give those measurements to the tailor. This also includes corsets or other shaping garments - if you're commissioning a period ballgown, for example, you'll want to inform your commissioner how big your panniers or bustle are going to be, yes?

5) Chest/Waist/Hip is not the only measurement needed. For most coats and upper-half garments I also ask for arm, shoulder, and back measurements - and the length! I want to know how long that thigh-length coat should be ON YOU and not on a standard model. For pants, generally you should get inseam and outer leg measurement, but I've found that also including rise (the waist-to-crotch height) and the actual circumference of your thigh and calf also help, particularly if the pants are to be tight-fitting.

6) That's a tough one. All you can do is inform the commissioner where and how it doesn't fit, and ask them for a reason. If, for example, it's too tight in the waist, you can tell them and politely ask why. If you provided the wrong measurement, they'll probably say something like "I made it according to the measurements you provided me." Honestly I'm not sure what other advice to add because this has never been an issue for me. SO FAR.

7) A quality commissioner with an understanding of drafting garments and patterns to fit will take everything into account - including how loose or tight the garment is supposed to be according to the reference material. If you're unsure or have any doubts, feel free to mention it. That same quality commissioner will not get offended if you load them down with every last detail or spec you want for your costume - in fact, we thrive on it! I find I always like it when the customer is very very specific about how they want the costume to fit and move and call my attention to details in the off chance I missed them. My reaction is usually "yeah, yeah, I noticed," but I won't get mad for it - I'll be glad that the customer is on the ball.

Additional request:
~a measurement fill-in form that is as close to "fool proof" as possible that could ideally be provided to multiple commissioners without need to take measurements over and over.

Oh lord. I don't know if this is necessarily possible - I personally have about seven different measurement lists that I send to people depending on the garment(s) they're commissioning. A set for a coat doesn't need to include pants inseam, etc, after all. But if you're talking about compiling a master list that you can just copy/paste the relevant parts from? Potentially a good idea and I can comb through my lists and compile. But I'll add a caveat onto that: if you commission less frequently than once per quarter (once every three months) I seriously suggest you take fresh measurements every time just in case you have gained or lost weight in that time period. Particularly as you get older/out of puberty and your body shape fluctuates more. I take mine for my own garments every single time I start a new costume, my weight varies too much to count on one set being universal.