Tips: Your Half Measurements and Why They Matter - Cool Stitches

Tips: Your Half Measurements and Why They Matter

Have you ever used, or heard of, half measurements? I want to talk you into taking and using these important measurements. You are going to love using them for sewing, fitting, and even shopping ready to wear (RTW). Doing so will eliminate fitting frustration and headaches. I've included below measurement and ease charts for your use.

In researching indie pattern designers for our sewing subscription boxes I was reminded about this concept over at Cutting Line Designs. Using your personal half measurements and the ease you are targeting for various garments you can quickly decide if a pattern or garment will work for you using just your tape measure.

"Knowing your half measurements will help you know which garments to take into the dressing room to try on. Saves time and frustration! But they also can serve as another way to evaluate a pattern and know where you might need more or less room." Cutting Line Designs

For example, your half measurements are taken at critical fitting points like from your arm scye to arm scye across the front, and then across the back - because your full circumference is not just divided when wrapping a tape measure around your body - especially for fitting tops.

Using these key measurements helps you determine if patterns or ready to wear garments will work for YOU because you can quickly compare your half measurements plus desired ease to the RTW garment when it's laying flat, or a pattern piece doubled. 

I recommend you do these three things now:

  1. Take your half measurements using the chart below.
  2. Add desired ease and calculate for garments - remember to divide the ease between front and back. 
  3. Drop a tape measure in your tote or handbag to measure away at the store or in your workroom so you can always edit garments and patterns and save lots of time and headaches! 

Your Half Measurements

Take measurements from side seam to side seam across the front and across the back of your body.










Full Hip



At Armscye notch



Shoulder/Sleeve Length:


  Bust Area Hip Area
Silhouette Dresses, Blouses,
Shirts, Tops, Vests
Jackets Coats Skirts, Pants,
Shorts, Culottes
Lined or Unlined
Close-Fitting 0 - 27/8" not applicable 0 - 17/8"
Fitted 3 - 4" 33/4 - 41/4" 51/4 - 63/4" 2 - 3"
Semi-Fitted 41/8 - 5" 43/8 - 53/4" 67/8 - 8" 31/8 - 4"
Loose-Fitting 51/8 - 8" 57/8 - 10" 81/8 - 12" 41/8 - 6"
Very Loose-Fitting over 8" over 10" over 12" over 6"
Back to blog


Hi Beal! You are correct in that you are measuring your body. The reference of side seams is to reinforce that this is not done all the way around your body. Just your body. Add the ease to that measurement (1/2 for the front, then 1/2 for the back). You have that correct.

Thank you for catching that typo! We only see what we want to see, right? :)


For the “your half measurements” table, I’m measuring my body, not a garment? Because the table says “from side seam to side seam,” as though I’m measuring a garment, but it wouldn’t make sense to add ease to a garment (step 2 in numbered list). Also, is the ease allowance table for front AND back? If I have, for example, bust front = 30". Fitted top ease is 3-4" (per the table). So I need a shirt that’s 31.5-32” (half of 3-4"), right? Lastly, there’s a typo in the title: “Measurement,” not “Mearsurement.”


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.