Hands, Biceps, Bones and Weight

Last week, I asked you all for a set of hand and bicep measurements.  Thanks for playing!  Over 70 people contributed, which is enough for my questions.  The first question is fairly straight forward:

Does hand circumference increase with weight gain?

Biceps are an excellent indicator of weight, and when taken with a neck measurement are also a pretty good indicator of bust cup size.  The equations I use for that are based on ratios from my research and I’m not going into that here.

Picture 10

By tying the hand circumference to the bicep, I gauged the weight of the person being measured in a neutral way.  I don’t think as many of us have issues about our biceps as our waists/busts (?).  Neutrality is more likely to result in accurate measurements.    You can see from the scatter chart above that there’s no real correlation between hand and bicep circumference.  That is, the hand circumference is all over the map as the bicep circumference rises.

I’m not very surprised, to be honest.  Hand circumference is almost entirely a bone structure measurement, while biceps are primarily a tissue measurement.  Now I’m satisfied on that point- hands are mostly bones.

Why mess around with hand measurements, anyway?

here's one of my Hummingbird prototypes...

here’s one of my Hummingbird prototypes…

Right now I’m perfecting the final drafts of the Hummingbird Top for the next release.  I’ve been dropping clues and hints and glimpses all over the place, but I’ll continue being coy about it until the pre-sale & circus when I’ll reveal the new makes.

Basically, I’ve been using my hand circumference as a guide to peplum width.  It’s handy.  Ahem. I wondered how much hand circumference varies (not much).  Now I’ve sorted out the ratios I want to use.

I have another giveaway series and measurements survey coming up next month, thanks for playing!


  1. It’s great to finally see the chart and amazing that there is absolutely no link between both measurements. Though as you said, a hand is mainly consisting of bones. I’m not so sure about the neutrality regarding biceps, it used to bother me a lot when I was a teenager – which meant that I did not wear tank tops until my twenties at least!

    • Nope, no link…
      Hmmm.. Do you think there’s the same or more baggage tied to bicep measurements in general? I would say probably, generally, much less…

    • Well.. Necks give a good idea of back width, and the front varies depending on the amount of bust tissue, muscle tone, genetics, gravity, bra shape, etc…. That’s the basic idea that seems to bear out, and many old-fashioned patterns are based on neck/back measurements… It’s interesting.

  2. I love getting a peek into your process! And I am so excited for Hummingbird. :) In the meantime, though, I’ll be stitching up another Tiramisu. And waiting for Pavlova. Oh, so many good things from Cake patterns!!

    • Pavlova will be here so soon! Then we’ll have a nice sewalong, etc and next thing you know, the next pattern will be made. :)

  3. Really, really interesting I would never have thought of those corelations but it makes sense. Very much looking forward to the Pavlova I thought it had been.

    • It’s interesting, to be sure, and not as precise an art as I’d like… Oh well!

      Pavlova will be available soon. So soon ! We’re all waiting on the printer, but once they finish the job we’ll ship it right out, make everything available for regular retail (including pdfs) and have fun with some new tutorials and design goodies. :)

  4. I have a bit of a problem with my ham-hock upper arms (self perception only – other’s tell me I’m silly to think so). It mean’s I’m less comfortable in most tops that shop my upper biceps, although I’ve mostly learned to just forget about it, especially in warmer temps. But it also means that I generally do not wear cap sleeves, which in my mind emphasizes them. I’m much happier in tops where the sleeve goes about halfway down my biceps, or else I wear a cardigan on top.

    Very interesting graph, btw. It’s pretty much what I figured, since I know my hand hasn’t changed much since I’ve gained weight, but my arms sure have. :P Cool to see it graphed out though. Science geek, I most definitely am! I practically have an M.Sc. in Excel! lol

  5. When I was running a boutique clothing store, I was amazed at the number of women over a certain age (which seemed to be 35-and-older) who wouldn’t even consider wearing a sleeveless top due to their feelings about having fat upper arms. In fact, pretty much every woman who came into the store over that certain age refused to consider sleeveless tops/dresses for that reason, which utterly astounded me! So I think there is a certain amount of emotional baggage around upper arms, but it seems to be something that’s gained as one gets older, rather than a remnant from youth…..

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