How to Measure Sleeve Length?

What aspects to take into account before buying or tailoring a shirt

Written by Kate Holmsy. Updated on What aspects to take into account before buying or tailoring a shirt

Centuries ago, the ability to calculate the length of a sleeve was a must: people used to make clothes for themselves or ordered the apparel from the professional tailors, and of course, everyone had to know how to measure the arm length for a shirt or another garment.

Nowadays, the necessity of measuring arm lengths for shirts or a sleeve length for dresses disappeared since we usually buy ready-to-wear clothing. However, if we decide to order apparel from a tailor, we will anyway have to measure sleeves.

Below, everyone can learn more about where to measure the sleeve length and how to measure an arm for receiving the precise number.

Measuring Sleeve Length. General Information

To begin with, we must admit that the sleeve length measure does not always hang upon the numbers we get when we measure the arm length. It happens because the sleeves do not end at the same level on our shoulders. Besides, people have varied shoulder widths. 

Another reason is that the shape of the armhole of the sleeve influences the size of the shoulders which, respectively, will affect the sleeve length.

To fit all these distinctions and make apparel that will fit the customer perfectly, designers and tailors take measures from the center back of the neck, then over the top of the shoulder, and down to the point where the arm starts to get wider at the wrist.

When they measure the arm length, they actually do it from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the wrist. Such a sleeve measurement approach is widely used for making a casual shirt sizing.

How to Measure The Shirt Sleeve Length

Taking accurate sleeve length measurements is a crucial stage of the whole process. The more precise numbers we get the better the final item will fit us. 

To measure a sleeve length, we need to be aware of how to measure an arm’s length first.

  • Start taking sleeve measures from the center back of the neck and move to the end of the shoulder at the top of the arm
  • Take arm length measurement from the shoulder to just past the wrist bone 
  • Always slightly bend the elbow when measuring the sleeve length. This will give some extra ease and the apparel will not sit tight. If this step is skipped, the shirt arm length will be too short because the natural position of our arms is not completely straight
  • Now sum up the received measurements and round up to the closest shirt sleeve length
Measuring Sleeve Length. General Information 
Photo by Yarenci Hdz

This method will help to get the most accurate sleeve length measurement easily. It can be used for the dress shirt sleeve length measurement, moreover, this approach works for both men and women since people often get curious about any possible distinctions and ask “How do you measure men’s sleeve length?” or “Is it the same for male and female shirts?”.

How to Measure the Short Sleeve Length For a Shirt

Since we already figured the things out with the long-sleeved items, let’s take a closer look at another variation of this widely worn apparel.

Short-sleeved shirts are the same popular because men (and women) wear them on hot days when long sleeves would make us feel too sweaty. However, when it comes to figuring out how to measure a shirt sleeve length for an item with the short sleeves, most stumble upon the same issue of how to measure such a sleeve.

How to Measure The Shirt Sleeve Length
Photo by Nathan Van de Graaf

Well, let’s see how to measure a shirt sleeve length when those sleeves are not long.

  • The short sleeve length is taken along the top edge of the item’s sleeve
  • Start with the shirt that is buttoned up completely, and face it up
  • On a firm and flat surface spread the sleeve out so that it is absolutely flat. The front and back edges of the opening must be straight and aligned strictly.

Double-check that no wrinkles are left  

  • The start of this shirt sleeve measurement is at the top corner of the sleeve right where it meets the shoulder part of the apparel
  • Place one end of the measuring tape on that point, and run it along the top edge of the sleeve to it end
  • Measure the sleeve length to the top corner of the outer edge of the sleeve opening, and round the result to the nearest ¼ inch

Extra Method Of How to Measure a Sleeve Length

How To: Measure Your Sleeve LengthHow To: Measure Your Sleeve Length

Except for the approach provided above, we know another way of measuring the arm length. 

It is called a measuring arm span, and for this one, you will need an assistant:

  1. Stand upright with the back close to the wall. This will allow the partner to make the most accurate sleeve size measurements since slouching can inhibit the span of the arms
  2. Stretch the arms as far as they can go. Try not to bend the arms and the fingers keeping them even and leveled
  3. Ask the assistant to measure the span between the middle fingers, from tip to tip
  4. Compare the received number to your height: the numbers must be almost equal.

When taking the shirt sleeves length wrongly, you are at the risk of buying a smaller item or getting the shirt improperly made (if you are ordering it from a tailor). Since self-measurements are simpler to perform, people prefer this method rather than calculating the span, however, with someone’s help, the numbers can be more accurate, so you decide.

We showed how to take shirt sleeve measurements and how to measure the arm length. Hopefully, from now on, the process of choosing a proper shirt size will never be an issue for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ What size is 34 35 in men's shirts?

Usually, the first number on the tag shows the neck size, and the second one is about the sleeve length. 34/35 means that the sleeve is between 34 and 35 inches long.

⭐vIs a 16-inch neck big?

The 16-inch neck is a middle-sized neck equal to 41.5 cm.

⭐ What is the standard sleeve length for men's shirts?

The average length for a men’s sleeve is between 34 and 36 inches.

⭐ What is the average sleeve length for a woman?

The average length will be between 30 and 31 inches.

⭐ How do you know what size arm sleeve to buy?

Take the measures of your arm and consider that the width of the sleeve at the bicep area must be smaller than the width of the relaxed bicep.

Written by
Kate worked in "The Fashion Magazine" for four years as a freelance writer and loved to consult and help people with their style. How to create your own style, how to look beautiful, and select trendy colors for your hair - these are just a few of many issues Kate will happily explain in Beezzly Beauty blogs!
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