How to Take Measurements for a Shalwar Kameez

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Take your measurements for a shalwar kameez, sometimes called a salwar kameez or Punjabi suit, to get a customized fit for the finished garment. Shalwar kameez are custom-made pant and shirt suit sets in which the fabric is pre-dyed and decorated to match. Shalwar kameez suits are traditionally worn by Indian and Pakistani women all over the world. The assistance of a friend is required to get a full set of completely accurate measurements. Write down each measurement taken in inches or centimeters.

Basic Measurements

Stretch the tape across your back from the outside of one shoulder to the outside of the other. The outside of your shoulder is where your arm starts. Place your arm straight down by your side and follow the line that appears between your arm and your body to the top of your shoulder.

Wrap the measuring tape all the way around your body at the fullest part of your breast, placing the tape underneath your arms. Ensure the tape is even all the way around and is not sagging or lower at certain points of your body.

Wrap the measuring tape around your body just under your bust line. This is the same place your bra is situated underneath your breasts. Once again, ensure the tape is not sagging for an accurate measurement.

Measure the largest part of your upper arm. For most women, this area is around the highest point of the bicep, just below your arm pit.

Loosely wrap the tape all the way around your waist with the tape just above your belly button. Allow the width of one finger between the tape and your body to obtain a firm but not tight measurement.

Wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips for the next measurement. This area is typically where your hips bend.

Measure from the top of either foot to the highest point of your head, but do not bend the tape to touch your head. You may need to stand with your back against a wall to get an accurate flat measurement with the tape. If you will always wear heeled shoes with the suit, then take the measurement with your shoes on.

Measure your lower waist. This is the point where the waistband of the pants will rest, usually just below your belly button.

Take the measurement from the lower waist to your ankle by placing the tape down the side of your leg. This is the bottom length measurement and will define how long the pants are. If you intend to wear heeled shoes with the outfit, you should have the shoes on while taking this measurement.

Optional Measurements

Place the end tape at the joint where your shoulder meets your neck. Take measurements to where the tape meets your bust, your waist and your hip. Finally determine the length desired for the kameez, or top, and make a note of the length. Shirts can be as short as your lower waist or as long as your lower calf. Since the suits are custom-made, the length is entirely up to you.

Drape the tape from the top of your outside shoulder to just above your elbow for 3/4 length sleeves and to your wrist for full-length sleeves.

Place the end of the tape where you would like the neck opening to begin and drape it towards your cleavage or neck to determine the neck line. This is the front neck drop measurement. The same measurement can be taken in the back by lowering the tape to the depth you would like the back neck opening to drop. This is the back neck drop measurement.

Take the measurement from the bottom of the previously measured kameez length up to the point on your side where the split to end. The split can be higher or lower than your waist.


  • Do not pull the measuring tape tight or allow too much slack. Adjustments and allowances for seams will be made when the suit pieces are measured and sewn.


  • Not all measurements taken will be needed for every suit design.