The Waist to Full Hip measurement is used to fit pants, fitted skirts/dresses, and very long line corsets. It’s the secret measurement that lets you make patterns that keep skirt hems and prints level on figures with a pronounced tum or bum. (For historical purposes, making patterns up using a modified Waist to Full Hip measurement taken over hip pads/skirt supports can be used to keep hems and fabric patterns level.)
The Waist to Full Hip measurement should be taken at three places on the body: the Side Line (centered below the middle of the armpit), the Center Front (in line witht he navel) and the Center Back (along the spine). If your hips are permanently slanted due to scoliosis or a related condition, you should take this measurement along both sides of the body.
The reason this measurement is so important for keeping hems level and keeping patterns horizontally true has to do with a trick we’re going to use while drafting patterns. We’re going to assume that the Full Hip line is level with the ground – most of the figure’s curves have happened above this point, so it’s generally not a bad assumption. The High Hip and Waist lines will be plotted up from the Full Hip Line, using the Waist to High Hip and Waist to Full Hip measurements and a touch of math (subtraction, indeed). The Full Hip line is used as the true horizintal point for matching patterns, and used as the reference line for dropping hems. (This all, of course, assumes straight skirts patterns, which are used as the basis for developing all other skirt patterns in flat drafting systems. It’s a long story, and we’ll get there, but right just now we’re still pretty close to the beginning….) When dealing with supports or pads that distort the true shape of the body, the Waist to Full Hip measurement can be taken over the pads to model the altered form of the body. It’s really pretty cool stuff, if you’re a topology geek at heart….