Measurement Tips Using Existing Garments

I can’t emphasise enough the advantage of using existing garments as the basis for your measurements. Even in some of the best bespoke tailors they will have you try on “house suits” and make the necessary adjustments.

If you get the lengths right then at most all your suit should need after delivery is a slight tweak to achieve the desired fit.

An existing suit jacket will help you determine a number of measurements. If you don’t already own a suit jacket then a good fitting shirt will suffice.

You can download the finished measurement guide which clearly shows where the measurements are taken (Note: it has been bought to my attention that parts of the form appear garbled in preview mode in some web browsers, e.g. Chrome. However, when you download the form it shows perfectly in PDF readers).

 The shoulder is a critical measurement, get this right and you are well on the way to a great fitting jacket.

Measure from the seam between the shoulder and the sleeve  to a point 1cm below the centre of the back of the collar then back down to the other shoulder seam. This will result in the tape being slightly curved

Now do the shoulder seams sit right at the end of your shoulders? If not make the necessary adjustments to your measurements. If they need to come in half a centimetre each then adjust the measurement by 1cm.

Sleeve length – Measure from the seam where the sleeve joins the shoulder to the end of the sleeve. I normally measure to just past where the wrist becomes the hand. If you bend your wrist inwards it will form a V shape. The middle of the “V” is a good length f0r a suit sleeve

Jacket Length – Measure from the seam on top of the shoulder as close as possible to the collar down the front to the end of the jacket. A shirt can also be used for this measurement.  An accepted jacket length is equal to the knuckles when the hand is resting at the side which on most people will also be around level with the bottom of the crotch of a pair of good fitting dress trousers

Back Jacket Length –  Measure from directly underneath the collar to the end of the jacket. It should be measured to the same point as the front.

You can use these on the body measurement order form then all you need are the torso measurements and they  can be easier then it may seem. Simply hold one finger over the part to be measured and get someone to run a tape around. So for the chest simply hold one finger at chest level and get someone to run a tape around the body. The tape should be level and touching the body (and the finger) all the way round without being pulled tight. Then simply run the tape down to the waist, belt level and hips.. Do the same at the thickest part of the bicep and at the wrist

Alternatively, you can also use your suit jacket (not a shirt this time as they are cut completely different) to obtain your jacket chest, waist and hips measurements.

Do up all the buttons on the jacket and lay it perfectly flat on a hard surface. Measure from one edge of the jacket to the other just under the armholes. Do the same at the narrowest part of the waist and again 15cm (6in) above the bottom of the jacket. They are the half-finished chest, waist and hip measurements.

Now you can adjust these to improve the fit of your new jacket however you need to remember that the measurements above are half-finished. So, if you want your jacket to be 3cm bigger at the waist you need to adjust the waist measurement by half that or 1.5cm.

For the sleeve width, all you need do is  make sure the sleeve is perfectly flat and measure from one side to the other at just under the armpit and again at the cuff.

The back chest isn’t critical but can assist. Lay the jacket perfectly flat face down and measure across the back that the middle of the arm seams.

If you follow the instructions above we now have enough to make you a good fitting jacket.

The trousers are fairly easy. All you need is your best fitting pair of dress trousers (not jeans)

Do up all buttons and zips and lay the trousers perfectly flat on a hard surface.

Measure from one side of the waistband to the other. Then measure from one side of the trousers to the other at a point 2cm above the bottom of the zip.

Crotch  –  Measure from the very top of the waistband at the front to where the four seams join under the crotch then measure from the very top of the waistband at the back to the same place and add the two measurements together.

Inseam – Measure from where the four seams join under the crotch following the seam to the end of the leg

Outseam – Measure from the top of the waistband at the side and follow the seam to the end of the leg 

Now fold the trousers flat as if you were going to hang them up, lay them flat on a hard surface (I now fold the top leg over and measure the bottom leg) measure from one side of the leg to the other at the following points

  1. Directly at the bottom of the crotch
  2. At the approximate knee
  3. At the cuffs

There are the finished trouser measurements.

If you have done all the above and prefer to send the finished measurement instead of the body measurements you can download the order form from here

If you have any trouble understanding any of the above feel free to send me a message for clarification.


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