How to Measure Guide

Creating a How to Measure Guide for Your Fashion Manufacturer (with a free sample guide!)

As a fashion designer, you know the importance of getting the perfect fit. You spend hours crafting your measurement specs down to the last inch to get it right. But sometimes, the samples don’t quite match your expectations.

The truth is, we often focus so much on the “what” that we overlook a crucial step – communicating the “how” to the manufacturers.

I’ve been there – getting frustrated trying to get the sample-maker to hit my required measurements, only to learn that we just weren’t using the same measurement process. 

That’s where a well-crafted How to Measure Guide comes in. So, in this article, I’ll help you communicate measurements more effectively by creating a How to Measure Guide for your fashion manufacturer. We’ll cover why it’s important to have one, key points to include in your guide, and how to share it with your manufacturers. 

First things first… 

What is a How To Measure Guide in the Fashion Industry?

Well… it’s actually as straightforward as the name!

A “How to Measure Guide” is an essential document that serves as a reference, illustrating specific points on a garment on where and how these measurements should be taken. 

Having a How to Measure Guide not only helps ensure quality and clear communication, but also means you’re not going through an endless back and forth with your factory explaining that the chest width measurement should be taken 1″ below the armhole. That’s just (unnecessarily) exhausting! 

Those working in established fashion brands that have been in the clothing industry for some time now might have come across these guides already. But for freelance fashion designersremote technical designers, or those who are starting their own clothing brand, creating How to Measure Guides is essential in the production process.

There are more benefits to a How to Measure Guide than just communicating with your manufacturers. A How to Measure Guide also serves as a handy reference for design teams working in fashion brands that have several members, making sure everyone is on the same page regarding the measurements. Not gonna lie, this doc has also saved me so much time training new employees or interns in clothing brands I’ve worked with before. Talk about multi-purpose!

In addition to this, How to Measure Guides help ensure quality control in your production process. By providing precise and detailed instructions on measurements, you can minimize the risk of errors during the production process.

What is a how to measure guide

Table Of Contents:

The Importance of Customizing Your How to Measure Guide 

You might wonder why there’s not some standard measurement guide floating around on the internet! I’m sure there are a few out there. And I won’t stop you from using them.

But here’s where it gets tricky – there’s no one-size-fits-all guide in the apparel industry. As you develop various clothing lines with garments outside of a basic t-shirt, you’ll recognize that every garment has its own unique style and that different design elements will require specific measuring techniques. 

Think about it, from button-down shirts to denim pants, and everything in between – each piece requires a set of measurements tailored to its distinct characteristics. Using a customized How to Measure Guide ensures that you address the specific needs of your designs and a generic guide just won’t cut it.

Additionally, different clothing brands cater to a wide array of customers, each with their own ideal customer body types and preferences. Therefore, having the flexibility to customize your How to Measure Guide is invaluable. 

Consider this – a high-end luxury brand creating clothing lines with a tailored, form-fitting look may prioritize more measurement points including waist and hip proportions, while a trendy streetwear brand targeting a relaxed and oversized style might focus on chest and sleeve measurements. 

Your fashion brand’s identity and target market dictate which measurements matter the most. With a customized How to Measure Guide, you can effortlessly communicate these essential points to your manufacturers.

So, let me teach you what you’ll need to make one!

What Should I Include in a How To Measure Guide?

Here are the 3 key points that should be included in your How to Measure Guide: 

  • Points of Measures (POMs)
  • Clear description of the measurement
  • Visual Aids
how to measure guide for vneck tshirt

Points of Measures (POMs): Provide a clear and comprehensive list of the POMs that are crucial to achieve the desired fit of the finished garment. Depending on what kind of garment you’re designing, these could be the chest width, shoulder width, full length, bust point etc. 

Clear description of the measurement: Include concise instructions on how to take each measurement correctly. Are you measuring half or full circumferences? Should the elastic be measured while stretched or relaxed? Also specify if the measurement should be taken along a curved or straight line. 

For example, if you’re describing your armhole curve measurement, you can say “measure along the contour of the armhole seam from top to bottom.” If you have a top with an elastic waistband, you can include “waistband stretched” and “waistband relaxed” on your POMs.

These things might seem obvious for you, but might not be for the person on the other end. All these little details matter when perfecting your garment fit.

Visual Aids: In an ideal world, manufacturers would read and understand all the tiny notes you’ve added to your doc. But let’s be realistic – that’s often not the case. To avoid misinterpretations, do the heavy lifting upfront and make sure your visuals speak for themselves. 

You can include actual photographs of a finished garment or draw technical flats with guidelines and arrows to illustrate how each measurement should be taken. 

In some cases, sending a How to Measure Video can be helpful to make sure you’re on the same page. You can take a video of yourself measuring the garment while calling out clearly how the measurements should be taken. 

Additional tips on creating a How to Measure Guide for your fashion manufacturer:

  • Before finalizing your How to Measure Guide, conduct a thorough review to check for any inconsistencies. Share the guide with colleagues or team members and ask for their feedback. Testing the guide on a small batch of samples can help identify any issues and refine the instructions for clarity.
  • This sounds like a no-brainer, but always make sure to use a consistent unit of measurement throughout your guide and also your spec sheets. Whether you’re using inches, cm, etc., just stick with one!
  • Don’t let your measurement guide gather dust on some forgotten shelf – make sure to do regular reviews or necessary updates when needed, like when you introduce a new style that may have new and unique measurements.
parts of a how to measure guide

Sharing Your How to Measure Guide with Fashion Manufacturers 

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, another key aspect is being able to share it efficiently with your manufacturers and factories. Here are some tips! 

  • Choose the right format: Determine the best way to present your guide to the manufacturer. Whether it’s a digital document, a shareable link, or a printed booklet, ensure the format is easily accessible and user-friendly. Consider the preferences of your manufacturer and opt for a format that suits their workflow. 

    Pro-tip: I prefer storing the entire How to Measure Guide as a PDF(s) in a Dropbox folder and then sharing a link to the folder (not the actual PDF(s)). This way, when you make changes or add new PDFs to the folder, you don’t have to share a new link, just mention the files inside have been updated.
  • Communication is key : Ask for feedback or questions from your manufacturers. You’ll find that they have a lot of helpful insights that can help you improve your guides.
  • Demonstrate usage: For tricky measurements, consider providing a demonstration of how to take measurements using your guide. If an in-person meeting is not possible, consider sending a video tutorial as mentioned earlier. This trick has saved me so much time troubleshooting measurement and construction concerns when I was working as a remote freelance fashion designer!

Building Your How to Measure Guide Library

Now that you’ve learned the essential tips on creating a How to Measure Guide for your fashion manufacturer, I encourage you to continuously build a library of guides for different garment types. 

As you know now, there is no one-size-fits-all guide in the fashion industry. Creating these documents may be a pain in the butt upfront, as they require time and effort. But trust me, your future self will thank you for putting in the work. I know I did! 

Use the sample guide provided in this article as a starting point and dive into creating the next ones, one garment at a time.

And remember, a How to Measure Guide is a general guideline for each type of garment. It’s not a direct solution to all your measurement problems. Think of it as an initial written agreement that saves you 90% of the explaining upfront. 

While the guide streamlines communication, make sure to continuously communicate with your manufacturers and be ready to supplement your guides with additional details or clarifications as needed. 

You got this!


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