Measurements for Fitting Pants

Guide C-209
Constance Kratzer, Family Resource Management Specialist
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF)

Measurement Suggestions:

  1. Waist–Measure the smallest part of the waist. Leave a tape or ribbon tied snugly around the waist while taking other measurements.

  2. Hips–Measure the fullest part of the hips. Also record the distance from the waist down to tape, located at fullest area.

  3. Abdomen–Measure about 3 to 4 inches below the waistline over the fullest part of the abdomen.

  4. Thigh–Just below crotch, around leg.

  5. Knee–Measure around knee with knee slightly flexed.

  6. Calf–Measure around calf.

  7. Instep–Measure around heel over the instep. This measurement is necessary for narrow tapered pants. Be sure to allow enough room for the foot to slip through.

  8. Side length to knee–Measure from the waist to the knee.

  9. Side length–Measure from the waist to desired length.

  10. Crotch
    a. Depth–Sit on flat chair, bench, floor, or table. Measure from waist to top of flat surface.
    b. Length–Determine measurement from front waist to center of body and from center of body to back waist.

Diagram of measurement areas.

Figure: Measurement areas.

Personal Measurements

Item Description Your
Total Needed Pattern
Plus or Minus
Waist As tight as you wear waistbands   Up to 1 inch      
Abdomen 3–4 inches below waist over
fullest part of abdomen
  Up to 2 inches      
Hips Fullest part   At least 2–4 inches      
Inches down from waistline          
Thigh Fullest part of upper leg   1–2 inches      
Inches down from waistline          
Knee Fullest part   At least 1 inch      
Inches down from waistline          
Standing–from waistline in front–under crotch–to waistline in back. Indicate front to center and center to back measurements. Front 1/2–1 inch      
Back 1/2–1 inch      
Seated–follow contour of body from waistline to hip, hold tape straight from hip to chair. Left 1/2 inch if under 36 inches hip; 1 inch if
over 38 inches hip;
3/5 inch if in between.
Waist to ankle at side seam Left        

The publication was edited by Darlene Dickson, 4–H/youth specialist.
Originally written by Susan Holder, Extension clothing specialist.

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Revised and electronically distributed January 2003, Las Cruces, NM.