Measuring for a First Communion Dress

The beginners guide to measuring for First Communion Dress Buying

Buying a First Communion dress online for your daughter can be an exciting yet daunting task. First, there is choosing a dress from all of the styles using only pictures on a screen and descriptions and secondly there is the issue of making sure that the dress will fit perfectly when it arrives. Online fitting rooms don’t exist yet.

Proper measurements will help you choose the dress will fit perfectly the first time! In addition, having measurements on hand while looking at a sizing chart for a particular style of dress will make choosing a dress easier and more accurate.

Measuring tips

Measuring your child may seem daunting but done well it will help you choose a style and size that will fit her best.  Write down the measurements as you go and if something seems off to you, don’t be afraid to re-measure. The time spent to measure your child will ensure a good fit for the dress of your choice.
  • Use the right tool: Don’t grab the retractable metal tape measurer from the work room for this project, you are not working with lumber. You will want to use a proper cloth or vinyl measuring tape; the type use for sewing. We strongly recommend this type of measuring tape. Typically, you can find this type of tape in a craft, fabric or even grocery store. In a real pinch, you can use a piece of yarn or twine to measure but be careful, it can stretch and has a tendency to be inaccurate. If using yarn or string, you would follow the instructions below mark the string and then measure it with a ruler.
  • Measure snug not tight: While measuring, the tape measure should be held snug, but not tight. You should be able to fit a finger in between the body and the tape. Bringing the measuring tape around her/his body so that the ends will touch in the front to read more easily.  Overlap the end of the measuring tape slightly to get an accurate read of the size.

  • Up Front Measurements:  It may seem obvious but when you measure, make sure the numbers end up in front of you so you can read them easily. It is easy to start in front then find yourself leaning around struggling to read the numbers on the tape. Usually getting this right just means reaching around your daughter with the tape, and bringing the tape and the starting end around to match up in front of you. This will make it easy to see the exact measurements.

Key Measurements: 

    1. Measuring the Shoulder :
      The shoulder measurement taken from where a well fitted t-shirt seam naturally falls at the top of the shoulder. Measure from the back. Find the spot to measure by going just above the crease of the underarm. From this point take the measuring tape horizontally across the back to the other side, just above the crease of the underarm.
    2. Chest Measurement:
      Have the child face you and raise her arms to the sides, slightly relaxed. Making sure the measuring tape does not twist, bring it around the child’s body, slightly below the armpits. The measuring tape should be snug but not tight.
    3. Waist Measurement:
      The natural waist in sewing is not necessarily where the waist on pants are worn. The waist is measured just above the child’s belly button. Bring the measuring tape around so the numbers end up in front toward you, for easier reading.  The measuring tape should be snug but not tight.
    4. Shoulder to Waist:
      Measure from the back of the child. Place the tape at the top of one shoulder, closer to the neck than the outer arm. Allow the measuring tape to drop straight down to the natural waist. The waist is slightly above the belly button
    5. Length of the Dress:
      The length of the dress is listed on the sizing chart. This is the time to use the measuring tape to see where that length will fall on your daughter. Place the end of the measuring tape on the top of her shoulder, from behind her. You want to measure from where the seam of a shirt normally falls. Allow the measuring tape to fall behind her, along her back and check the length. Will it be too short? Will she trip if it’s too long? Most of the dresses designed are as tea length which means that they will fall between the bottom of the knee and the above the ankle.

      Tips for Translating the Measurements into the Perfect Dress

      When comparing to the sizing chart for dresses, start with the chest measurement. This key size is a good place to start as you determine if the bodice will fit.

      The Child Needs to Move:  Remember the chart is for finished articles of clothing. It is likely you will not see your daughter’s chest or waist measurement on the chart because clothes must fit around the body with a little room to move! You can safely add an inch or so to the measurement for ease of wear! The measurements around the body need to be larger than the actual size of your child.  However the length of the dress is exact, don’t add to it.

      Notes on Specific Dress Types:

      • Dresses that have a jewel or t-shirt style neckline will have a bodice (top of the dress) that may fit more closely than other styles. With this style the  dress can have a chest measurement that is slightly larger than the child’s because it fits closer to the chest than other styles.
      • Dresses with a scoop neck or a boat neck will likely have a bodice with more ease. This means there is more room in that style of bodice. With these styles the dress will tend to run larger in size because it sits more loosely than other styles.
      • Dresses that have a tie in the back will have more variation in fit for the bodice because you can tie the dress a little closer if needed. If you are concerned that you have chosen a dress that might be too loose, the tie for the waist might make a difference in fit for your child.

      Each of our dresses that feature a large bow in the back have the bow permanently tied. The advantage is that you don’t have to wrestle in the morning to make the bow look pretty! One side of the bow is sewn down and the other side has a small snap to keep it from drooping.

      Your careful work in planning your purchase, accurately measuring your daughter, selecting a great fitting dress style, will certainly pay off in a comfortable fit for your child and a successful dress buying experience for you. Celebrate!