Knowing your sleeve length will also guarantee that your shirts fit you nicely. Also, if you’re buying a shirt online and want to know the exact measurement, this method will come in handy, as sizing ranges vary across different sellers.

If you want to know how to measure sleeve length, you’re in for a treat! In the following article, we’ll walk you through a step by step guide to get the job done in minutes!

How to Measure Sleeve LengthHow to Measure Sleeve Length

Whether you’re having a tailor-made shirt or want to know your measurements for work uniforms, measuring your sleeve length as well as your collar length will give you a nice reference. Here’s how you can do it!

Step 1: Get a Measuring Tape and a Helping Hand

Before you head into measuring your sleeve length, or any part of your body, you’ll always be more accurate and quicker if you have someone to help you.

That’s because you need to keep still while you measure; something you might not be able to do while holding a measuring device at the same time.

Additionally, you need an accurate measuring device that’s similar to the ones used by the shirt manufacturers. Luckily, all kinds of vinyl tailor’s measuring tapes will do the trick.

These ones are ultra-flexible, which allows them to follow the contours of your arms nicely for adequate measurement. 

On the other hand, the metal measuring tape bends in sharper angles, which results in incorrect measurements.

If you prefer metal tapes for retractability, you can opt for the new retractable soft measuring tapes.

However, if you don’t have flexible tape and you’re in a hurry, you can hack this step by using any piece of string robe that you have lying around. 

Simply, mark the start and finish of the string and measure it later with metal measuring tape or even a long ruler.

Step 2: Get in the Right Stance for Measurement

Regardless of what you’re wearing, make sure that you stand up as erect as you can while keeping still. Use a room with plenty of space, so you don’t have to adjust your stance.

If you’re wearing a shirt with a long sleeve, remember to button it all the way to keep it from getting in the way while measuring.

With your arms spread all the way down, bend them with a slight angle towards your body to make your elbow face your side and your hand on your hips.

Tailors measure shirts this way to create a space for you to move your hands freely. That’s why measuring your arms without the slight bending may get the shirt a bit short, and therefore, uncomfortable for you.

Step 3: Place the Measuring Tape in the Right Spot for Measurement

Now that you’re standing right and ready for measurement, your helper should be ready with the measuring tape to take in your sleeve length.

To do that, ask your helper to hold the measuring tape at the back of your neck, exactly at the center spot. 

The helper should then lay the measuring tape all the way towards the shoulder, down on the outside of the bent arm, and reaching the wrist.

If the helper can’t get the measuring tape to stay still, they may measure the distance from the center back of the neck to the outside of the shoulder. 

After that, measure from the same spot to the wrist where the cuff should hand, and add the two measurements together.

Step 4: Measure Your Neck Length (Optional, But Necessary for Shirts)

While you’re at it, you might as well get a reference of your neck size, which is usually necessary if you’re getting a tailored shirt.

To do that, wrap the measuring tape around your neck at the same spot where the shirt’s collar rests. Don’t overstretch or loosen the tape.

Instead, treat it as a buttoned collar. Take in measurements and round it to the nearest quarter inch. For instance, 14.85 inches should be 15 inches.

Step 5: Record Your Measurements and Calculate Your Shirt Size

Now that you have your measurements, you need to round it up or down to the nearest quarter inch (0.6 cm). 

For reference, here are some average sleeve sizes per shirt sizes:

Size  Sleeve  Neck
Small 32 to 33 inches 14 to 14.5 inches
Medium 33 to 34 inches 15 to 15.5 inches
Large 34 to 35 inches 16 to 16.5
X-Large 35 to 36 inches 17 to 17.5 inches
XX-Large 35 to 36 inches 18 to 18.5 inches

How to Measure a Shirt’s Sleeve Length

Although you should always try your shirts on instead of relying on measurements, knowing how to measure a shirt without wearing it is highly beneficial for online shopping referencing. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Lay the Shirt Flat

Get a sample shirt that you like its sizing and lay it flat with its backside up. Make sure that the shirt is buttoned and the sleeve is spread to the side all the way.

Step 2: Place the Measuring Tape Right

With your non-dominant hand, place the start of the measuring tape at the center backside of the shirt at the collar. Lay the measuring tape across the shirt from the top all the way to the wrist.

Step 3: Record the Measurements and Round it to the Nearest Inch

Similar to your sleeve measurements, record the measurements and round them up to the nearest quarter inch to get the exact measurements of your shirt. Use the reference guide above to pick the right sizing of the shirt.

Also Read: How to Tie a Tie

Final Words

With that said, you now know how to measure the sleeve length of both your body and any unlabeled shirt with simple steps.

While choosing a suitable shirt size for your measurements, remember that your shirt sleeves need to be long enough that only half-inch of the sleeves show up once you put a jacket on.

As for the collar part, make sure that it’s not too tight on your neck. A good rule of thumb here is to be able to slip one or two fingers between your skin and the collar.