According to records, the first garments were made over 150,000 years ago. They were much simpler than the elaborate garb we wear today, and were created primarily out of necessity. These early humans needed a way to shield their bodies from the elements. Obviously the techniques we use to make and style modern clothing are much different as well. Processes such as laser distressing and automated sewing seem like they were conceived straight out of science fiction. Even with all the advancements technology has brought, one thing remains the same – our fashion measuring tools. Ok, the measuring tools we use today aren’t 150,000 years old, but they haven’t changed in over a century.
This can only mean one thing. The list of must have measuring tools isn’t that long!
Well, like answers to most questions, it depends. For the purposes of this article we will focus on measuring tools used to measure finished garments. Specifically, we’ll be speaking to those who buy and sell clothing online. This article will discuss the must have fashion measuring tools and will introduce the first instant garment measuring app.
1. Capture – the clothes measuring app
There has been little advancement in the garment measuring automation space. Tailored is a fashion technology startup devoted to creating a modern way to measure a garment. Like many innovations , Tailored launched their patented software to be accessed by anyone with a mobile device.
Their instant garment measuring software, called Capture, will measure an entire garment in seconds. As shown in the image above, just place a garment on a flat surface, then stand over it and snap a photo. The system is highly intuitive and provides many useful features, such as the ability to save labeled images to your device or email a pdf or spreadsheet with the measurements.
One of the most unique features of the Capture app is the labeled garment images. Similar to photographing a measure tape on a garment you’re selling, Capture’s annotated images act as a guide for anyone looking to purchase a garment. The benefit of these images is one image contains all measurements. Helping those in the business reduce the amount of time they spend on measuring.
Now on to the more well known fashion measuring tools…
2. Measure Tape
Without a measuring tape, it would be hard to get the dimensions of an article of clothing. The measure tape is the king of all fashion measuring tools and is the one tool on this list that is a must. Sure in a pinch you could use a ruler or actual builders tape measure, but those tools are not made for clothing. You’d find it difficult to get precise and accurate results. Plus, good luck measuring anything that isn’t a straight line.
Most fashion measure tapes today are made of a coated plastic which allows them to keep their original shape. Believe it or not measure tapes will stretch over time. This is one reason why designers at Levi Strauss discard their measure tapes every 90 days. Do yourself a favor and purchase two or three measure tapes (they’re not expensive), but use the same one to do your important measuring. This will ensure consistent results over time. Here’s one we recommend.
In addition to measuring apparel, measure tapes can be used to measure your body, purses, and other fashion accessories. They are truly universal measuring tools.
3. Flexible Curve
The difficult part in measuring clothing is often times the area you’re measuring isn’t a straight line. A neckline, armhole, or the sweep of a dress can prove difficult to measure even with the flexible measure tape described above. Enter the flexible curve ruler. Many in the fashion industry swear by this handy tool. It’s a ruler that flexes and bends to what you need to measure.
This tool is helpful not only for allowing you to measure easily on a curve, but to also keep it’s position and shape on a garment. If you sell clothing on eBay, Poshmark or any other online resale platform, it’s a common practice to photograph a measuring device on the garment. This is done to show potential buyers the garment’s dimensions. Many also do this because people don’t like to read. It’s much easier to reference a photograph than it is to read a list of garment dimensions. Photographing a measure tape on you garment is also a way to give your customers confidence in what you’re selling. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
4. See Through Ruler
Yes, there are times when a ruler is acceptable in measuring clothes. A see through ruler is great for certain measurements because it won’t change shape. This is unlike the two measuring devices mentioned above. Literally every fashion designer we’ve spoken with in the past about measurement accuracy and consistency will say no two people measure the same. Think about it for a second – apparel is flexible, the measuring device is flexible, every garment is different in its construction style and materials. How could we possibly train thousands of people in an industry to measure the same? The entire industry knows manually measuring clothing is not an exact science and it is highly inaccurate. Thus any tool one can use to improve on this is a plus.
An added benefit of the see through ruler is it’s easy to press an area flat while measuring. How many times have you measured a thick garment such as a denim jacket and needed to press an area flat, only to deform your measure tape in the process. This will not happen with the ruler. We recommend an 18 or 24 inch (they’re metric also) as it will cover most of your straight line measurements at those distances.
Master Your Own Measuring Style
How you choose to measure the garments you sell is up to you. Although measuring clothing is not only a skill for those selling clothes. It’s equally as important for those looking to buy apparel online. As the globe moves further and further away from physical stores, we as a population will have less knowledge and confidence around how items will fit us. So in the absence of being able to try something on, what better way to help us shop than to know the dimensions of garments we already own? Using the measurements of our own clothing and comparing them to the garments sold online is a no-brainer, apples to apples way to make sure you purchase the right item.
There are a lot of guides out there to assist you in learning the best ways to measure, but you need not travel further from here. We provide handy guides specifically for selling clothing on eBay or Poshmark. These guides will assist those who wish to measure their own garments as well. Over time you’ll develop your own style for measuring. If you sell online, you’ll even learn which measurements you should and shouldn’t provide in your listings. Measuring the clothing you’re selling online is a must. Trust us when we say it’s better to provide the measurements than have a customers ask you for them. People are used to instant gratification. If they’re left waiting on you to respond, you may miss out on a sale.
Measuring the garments you sell will also keep you ahead of competition. Do a search on any peer to peer resale platform and you’ll notice there are still plenty out there who do not provide garment measurements. It’s your goal to be the reseller who’s increasing sales and reducing returns. Utilizing fashion measuring tools can be one of the many ways you’re able to do this.