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Measure your clothing like the professionals!  Follow these simple guidelines for consistency and accuracy when selling or buying clothing on eBay or elsewhere!

The only tool you need is an inexpensive seamstress tape measure.  It should be made of vinyl or fabric to achieve the highest degree of accuracy for the garment you are measuring.  Please do not use a metal retractable tape measure, ruler, or yardstick.  You may not get the most accurate measurement by using these types of inflexible tools.  Also, keep in mind while checking and comparing measurements because fabric is very fluid, a precise measurement is difficult to guarantee, so you should allow about a 1/2 inch difference between the listed measurements and the actual garment.


Lay the garment on a flat hard surface like a table or clean floor.  Be sure you smooth the garment flat, especially the underside, to remove any wrinkles.



Bust:  This measurement should be taken directly under the armpits and doubled

Shoulders:  Measure across the top of the garment from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.

Sleeves:  For men's long sleeved shirts, this is the measurement taken from the back of the middle of the neck to the end of the cuff.  For women's garments, this measurement can be taken from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff.  However, since some garments have a drop style shoulder or a raglan style sleeve, the most accurate measurement is taken from the back of the middle of the neck to the end of the cuff, like a man's shirt.  Additionally, I will provide an underarm sleeve measurement which is taken from the underarm seam to the end of the cuff when a sleeve is of unusual length or style, such as drop shoulder.

Waist:  For pants and skirts, measure across the very top, then double.  For shirts and dresses, measure at about 6-8 inches below the armpit, then double.

Hips:  For pants and skirts, measure about 8-9 inches down from the waist, then double.  For shirts and dresses, measure at about 14-16 inches below the armpit, then double.

Length:  For skirts, measure the front center of the garment from the top of the waist to the bottom of the hem.  For shirts and dresses, you may measure one of several ways, depending on the style of the garment - measure from the shoulder seam to the bottom of the hem, from the armpit to the bottom hem, or from the center back neck to the bottom hem.  Depending on the style of the garment, you should decide which measurement will provide your buyer with the most accurate information, and include in your listing how you arrived at your measurement.

Inseam:  Measure along the inside leg from the crotch seam to the bottom hem.

Rise:  Measure from the crotch seam up to the top of the waist band in the front.  Additionally, you may want to provide a 'back rise' measurement in the same manner.

Flare:  For pants, measure at the end of the pant leg across the bottom opening.  Typically this measurement is NOT doubled (although I do sometimes).

Sweep:  You will see this measurement most commonly found on coats or jackets.  The sweep is the circumference of the bottom hem of a skirt, dress, coat, or jacket.  For a jacket or coat, measure the sweep across the bottom hem from open edge to open edge.  For a skirt or dress, measure the sweep by laying the garment flat with seams matched, measure end to end, then double. Be sure to smooth out any fabric folds before measuring. The sweep measurement will give your buyer a good idea of the fullness of the garment at the hem area.


I have many years of experience as a seamstress.  My late Grandmother Ella, who worked as a tailor in an upscale women's department store and was a professional seamstress her entire life, was my beloved mentor.  I dedicate this guide to her memory.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.  I hope you have found it helpful, and good luck with your listings!


Wexford House Auctions




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