Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finger Metrics

Have you ever been on a really long drive somewhere? One that is days long, where you have to drive for hours and hours each day, looking forward to the end when you can get out, stretch your legs and look at something else apart from the road in front of you?

That's kinda what making this top was like.

It's finished, though, and I'm really happy with it.

In my last post about it, I had decided that the neckline was way too high, and I ripped back to about two inches past the armholes to lower it. It was a bit of a gamble... I didn't really do any concrete measurements. I just stood in front of the mirror and used my fingers to figure out where the important parts should hit.

"So, here's where the bust darts end," I muttered. "And I want the neck to go about here. And so I need to start about a third of a finger length above the dart. Is that an inch? Yeah, about an inch. And the armholes will start an inch above that..."

I turned, poked, prodded, twisted, held up the fabric to my body... all very imprecise, but I know how I like my tops to fit.

I also decided to make the arms a touch longer, but not too long. I used my fingers to measure that, too... about one index finger long (about three inches).

I added half a finger of length to the torso.

The height of the sleeve cap is about a hand tall (from base of palm to tip of middle finger) plus half a finger.

And ya know, it fits. How's that for finger rulers?

I wonder if that's how a lot early seamstresses, tailors, milliners and cobblers did it. I mean, it's a finger. You always have it with you (I hope so, anyway), and it remains about the same length for most of your adult life. And it's not like you can stretch a finger out of shape, either... but I guess you can't really stretch a ruler or tape measure either.

But they're not as weird to measure with.

What kinds of weird objects do you use to measure with?


  1. I use my finger too. I have a freckle on my index finger that is 2 inches from the tip. Handy to know when I'm making a 2 inch cuff on my socks. And I have learned that my hand length is what I need in a sock foot before I start the toe decreases. I tried it with my husband's hand for his socks and it did not work his feet are longer than his hand.
    Oh and the top is beautiful of course! As usual :)

  2. I used a post-it note once. But I was using it to measure something on my computer screen. I don't even remember what...

  3. @YarnKettle: I just spent a couple of minutes to see if I had any freckles that measure specific distances. I'm not as lucky. :(

    @ABCDawg: We should find out how many post-it notes tall you are. I'm sure you could use that information somewhere. Actually, come to think of it, I measured the box for my airhockey table with my wallet to see if it would fit in the car.

  4. That is beautiful! What amazing, detailed work! It's so neat that you have the ability to make something completely custom fit your own body. You could never get that in a store.

    I also use the width of my fingers to knit all the time. Or I'll cut a bit of yarn or string and compare.

  5. Thanks, Kina! You're right - I'd never get that in a store, certainly not in my size.

    I think I've used string to measure things as well, usually really long things, which is totally stupid, now that I think of it. I've finally invested in a tape measure for those kinds of things now. :P