Measuring Kiddos

Measuring the chest of a child
Measuring the chest of a child
Measuring Kiddos for Clothing

Since many of us are making pajamas for our kiddos or some kids in our lives, I thought it might be helpful to talk about how to measure kids! It’s not a lot different from measuring adults, in fact it is a little easier, but for those of us with less experience sewing, it is always nice to have a little guidance, right!? For most kids patterns, you will only need 4 measurements – height, chest, waist, and hips. I didn’t include a picture of a height measurement here, but that will mean measure your little one from the floor (without shoes or socks) to the top of their head. I find it easiest to do this when they are standing with their back flat against a wall and then use a pencil to draw a very faint mark on the wall where their head hits. Then I can have them move away from the wall and measure it without them wiggling as much.

Meauring the Chest
How to Measure a Child’s Chest

When measuring the chest, you want the tape measure to go around the widest area of the chest, under relaxed arms. I have my kiddos raise their arms out to their sides like they are pretending to be an airplane so that I can get the tape measure around them and easily see where the widest part of the chest is, and then they can relax their arms to their sides. Make sure you get the measuring tape nice and snug without digging into the skin, and write down the measurement where the tape end (or end of the silver piece in this picture) meets the rest of the tape. So, for this measurement, I would write down that the chest measurement is 26.5″ (sorry that the tape is upside down 😄!)

*** Please note, when taking measurements, it is most accurate if you can do it next to the skin or with tight fitting clothing or a swim suit. If you are fitting for a child that is not comfortable with that, you need to make sure to pull the measuring tape snug over the clothing they are wearing, but without digging into the skin to get the most accurate measurement possible*** The nice thing about sewing with knits is that they are forgiving, so if the garment is a little tight it will stretch. For me, especially when sewing for kids, if the measurements end up between sizes or right at the top of a size, I tend to sew the next size up because they are always growing, and it may be big for a little while, but a larger fit now will give them more use out of the item.

Measuring a Child's Waist
How to Measure a Child’s Waist

Measuring a child’s waist for clothing is very similar to the chest with one exception. Instead of measuring the widest area, you are looking for the narrowest area. For boys and younger girls, this may be harder to determine, as their bodies may look like a column for much of the midsection. In that case, just measure right near the belly button as in this picture. For other youngsters, and many adults their may be a much narrower section, and it is often above the belly button (or navel), not where most people have the waistband of their pants sit. ***Measure the Narrowest section of the midbody as the waist measurement*** If you use what we typically think of as our waist – where our pants sit – this will throw off which size you select for your pattern, and it will not fit correct. Again, you will write down the number that is seen when the silver end of the tape measure would cross over the rest of the tape measure, so in this picture, it would be 24.5″.

Measuring a Child's Hips
How to Measure a Child’s Hips

Measuring a child’s hips for clothing is just like the chest – measuring the widest part of the child’s lower part of the body, which includes the widest section of the bottom. I find it easiest to measure this from the side because it is important to make sure the tape measure is staying level from front to back when taking this measurement. In fact, it took us about 4 or 5 tries to get this picture right because I had the tape measure too high in front and too low around his bottom and needed to step back to be able to tell if it was level all the way around. (Good thing I have so many kids with extra hands to help out with this! 😂😂😂). And again, make sure to write down the number that you see when the end of the silver part of the tape measure touches the rest of the tape, so in this case, the hip measurement would be 29″ (but since we were taking pictures for the internet, I did this over his sweatpants. In reality, this measurement would be about 1/2 – 3/4″ smaller than this because we would measure next to his skin).

So, I hope that helps a few of you out who are new to sewing, and/or maybe haven’t sewn for kids much before. I am also listing some resources below from some of our pattern sponsors from #FAMJAMS who have great fitting/measuring tutorials and blogs on their websites. A number of these also refer to measuring and fitting for adults if that is something you’d like more info on.

Winter Wear Designs:  How to Take Measurements

Pattern Niche: Taking Measurements and Choosing Sizes

Stitch Upon A Time: Size Charts with Guide

Love Notions: How to Take Accurate Measurements for Sewing

LLK: Size Charts

E&M: How to Measure

Sinclair: Sizing Guide

Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Sewing!


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