M is for Measure
Yes, that ever boring but ever necessary part of any project: measuring. For all you disbelievers out yonder, there's a reason the phrase "measure twice, cut once" exists. And everyone will get to know why in time, if you don't measure and mark!
So, measurements. For any project, these are crucial: and take this from someone who has made both an ill-fitting dress a really rather wonky patchwork quilt!
When making clothing and choosing the size of your pattern (and thus how much fabric you will need), there are a number of different measurements to take. The measurement that is most crucial to getting a correct fit is the bust measurement. All others can be adjusted, but this is the hardest to make work. Most commercial patterns available tailor to the lady with a 'B' cup. I am not a B cup, nor will I ever be, and so I often have to adjust my patterns. There are many ways to do this (whcih there simply isn't the room for here!) so I suggest hoking out your faourite sewing book and following the instructions in that. As for the adjustments themselves, they fall into two categories: small bust adjustments or full bust adjustments. These methods may be used where the discrepancy between bust and waist size is so large it will make grading a pattern too difficult.
I haven't gone into tremedous detail about measuring for dressmaking because there have been tomes written about it elsewhere, and I could write a tome about it myself. The crux of it is, what you're making is to fit you, so make sure any pattern you buy will either fit or be adjustable to your own measurements, then make sure you actually make those adjustments. There is no better way to do this than to make a muslin - see the sister post to this one for more details!
This post was written by Aileen McKenna sewing enthusiast and author of http://sewseamly.wordpress.com/