The first step in making sure you get a garment that fits prefectly is taking accurate and precise measurements. The first rule of taking measurements for period clothing is to forget everything you know about your modern sizing. Throw out your bra size, it's useless. The same is true for your jeans and dress sizes. There are simply too many variables with modern sizing for any of that to provide me with any accurate information with which to draft a pattern. Instead, take the following measurements. Do so with the tape measure held firmly but NOT restrictively (except for the tight bust and tight waist measurements). It helps to either have a friend measure you or measure yourself in front of a mirror to be sure you're holding the tape measure evenly parallel to the floor. If you're holding it crooked, you could be changing your measurements by quite a bit.
If you are measuring for a custom corset or bodice, your first step should be to tie a piece of string or ribbon around your torso where you think your natural waistline is. Next, bend side to side and back and forth. The string should settle at the place where your torso bends (somewhere between your lowermost rib and your hip bone). This is your waistline for corset and bodice measurement purposes. Leave this string tied as a point of reference for the following:
BUST: This is your chest at its fullest point, NOT your bra size.
TIGHT BUST: Measure around your bust again, this time pulling the tape measure as snugly as is comfortable. This will give me a good indication of your squish factor.
UNDERBUST RIBCAGE: For Wench Bodices and Underbust/Overbust Corsets, I will need to know your ribcage measurement right beneath your bra band. This is typically about 4 1/2"-5" above your waist. If this falls higher than 5" or lower than 4 1/2" on you, please make a note of that for me as well. Your corset or bodice pattern will likely require a length adjustment.
WASPIE RIBCAGE: For Waspie Corsets (Waist Cinchers), the ribcage will fall lower. Measure around your torso 3 1/2" above your waist.
WAIST: This your waist at its thinnest point, which will be higher than your modern waistline is. It should fall at approximately the spot where your torso creases when you bend from side to side. If you performed the string trick mentioned above, this should be a simple spot to find.
TIGHT WAIST: Measure around your waist again, this time pulling the tape measure as tight as you comfortably can. We all have a different squish factor, so this is a very important measurement to help me gauge your comfort level in sizing a bodice or corset for you. We all squish differently, so this will be anywhere from 1" to 4" smaller than your resting waist measurement, depending on your own level of comfort.
WASPIE UPPER HIP: For Waspie Corsets (Waist Cinchers), measure your upper hip 3 1/2" below your waistline. It helps if you leave the string tied around your waist and measure down from that.
CORSET UPPER HIP: For Underbust and Overbust Corsets, measure your upper hip 4 1/2" below your waistline. It helps if you leave the string tied around your waist and measure down from that. If you are measuring for my Long Line Underbust, measure at 5" down instead.
SHOULDER TO WAIST IN FRONT: For Wench Bodices, I'll need this measurement. Measure this from the center of a standard t-shirt's shoulder to neck seam straight down to your bodice waist, going to the side of either breast rather than over.
NAPE OF NECK TO WAIST IN BACK: I'll also need this for Wench Bodices. Measure this from the base of your neck (there should be a spot where a spinal bone pokes out a tad) straight down to your bodice waist.
FULL BUST TO WAIST: Measure this from your bust at its fullest straight down to your waist. It is best to measure this at a side or between the breasts rather than curve over them.
UNDERBUST TO WAIST: Measure this from just beneath your bra band straight down to your waist.
HEIGHT: It also gives me a torso reference if you let me know your height. Typically, my standard sized patterns work best of 5'3" to 5'6", so if you're shorter or taller, or just have a naturally long or short torso, I may have some additional measurements for you to take. If that is the case, I'll send you instructions via email.
WENCH BODICE FIT TYPE: For Wench Bodices, I have a few different fit types I can pattern for depending on your personal snugness preferences. They are:
Relaxed Fit: If you want your bodice to fit only a *small* bit restrictively while still remaining more than breathably comfortable, this is the fit type you should request. NOTE: With this fit style, you will have little to no cleavage or lift/support.
Standard Fit: If you are wanting a bodice to fit like a basic wench bodice should while remaining relatively comfortable, opt for this fit type. This is the basic, moderately snug fit most often chosen for a nice blend of comfort/support and that wonderful nipped in waist and lifted chest so iconic of period (or period inspired) Ren bodices.
Snug Fit -or- Standard Fit with a Front Gap: If you are very used to tight lacing and want a tight fit -OR- if you want a standard fit laced up with up to a 1" gap at the front lacings, this is the fit type to request. NOTE: If this is your first bodice, I do not recommend this fit as you will likely find it too restrictive and uncomfortable. This type of fit is more of an acquired taste, recommended only for those who have experience wearing tight corsets and bodices.