How to measure for a christmas tree

Selection Tips | National Christmas Tree Association

Selection Tips: What to look for when buying a tree

When purchasing from a retail lot

Measure your space

Be sure you know what size (height and width) you need before heading to the retail lot. Measure the ceiling height in the room where the tree will be displayed. The trees in the field look small when the sky is the ceiling. Don’t overbuy. Measure the width of the area of the room where the tree will be displayed. Most trees on tree farms are trimmed to an 80% taper. So a tree that’s 10′ tall will be 8′ wide at the bottom. A tree that will fit in the room vertically may be entirely too big horizontally.

Think about what type of decorations you will be using
Some species have more open foliage, stiffer branches or longer needles. Research the characteristics of the different species in our tree varieties section, then find a farm near you that has the species you are looking for.

Learn about the different species of trees
If you want the same species you know or have always used, great. If you want to try a different species, browse the tree varieties section of NCTA’s website to become familiar with the species popular in your area before heading to the retail lot.

Safety first
Go to a retail lot that is well-lit and stores trees in a shaded area.

Ask questions about the trees at the lot
Ask the retailer when he/she gets the trees: are they delivered once at the beginning of the season, or several shipments during the season? Often, a tree obtained soon after its arrival on the retail lot will be very fresh because it was cut recently. Also ask the retailer which tree type performs best in your climate. Some species last longer and remain fresh longer than others in different climates.

Do a branch/needle test for freshness
Run a branch through your enclosed hand – the needles should not come off easily. Bend the outer branches – they should be pliable. If they are brittle and snap easily, the tree is too dry.

Look for other indicators of dryness or deterioration
Indicators might include: excessive needle loss, discolored foliage, musty odor, needle pliability, and wrinkled bark. A good rule-of-thumb is, when in doubt about the freshness of a tree, select another one. If none of the trees on the lot look fresh, go to another lot.

Recycling your tree
Ask the retailer about recycling Christmas Trees in your community.

What to Expect at a Choose & Cut Farm

Be aware of possible farm hazards
Most tree farms keep their fields very well groomed, but there are some things that are beyond the farmer’s control. Be careful of fire-ant mounds, tree stumps, an occasional blackberry vine, uneven ground and sharp saws.

Go to the farm prepared for a day in the country
Wear comfortable shoes and old clothes. Bring rain gear if the weather is threatening. The “cutter downers” and the “loader uppers” should also have gloves. Don’t forget the camera. It’s best to leave the family dog at home (many farms will prohibit pets). But, if a pet is allowed and must come along; keep him on a leash at all times. Please don’t let him “mark” other people’s trees.

Equipment to bring
Saws are usually provided by the farm operator. Check ahead of time to double check if you need to bring any supplies.

Some farms measure and price trees individually, others sell them by the foot. Ask about the pricing policy before heading out in the field.

Tree size
Head out to the field and select the tree that fits your predetermined needs. Check the trunk to be sure that it is sufficiently straight. Keep in mind that pines will usually have, at least, some crook in their trunks. Also check that the tree has a sufficiently long handle to accommodate your stand.

In the fall of the year ALL conifers drop or shed a certain portion of their oldest needles. This is a normal part of the life cycle of the tree and occurs because the tree is preparing itself for winter. Most farms provide shaking or blowing services so that you will depart with a perfectly clean tree.

Cutting your tree down
Cutting the tree is easiest as a two person project. The “cutter downer” usually lies on the ground. While the helper holds the bottom limbs up. While the cut is being made, the helper should tug on the tree lightly to ensure that the saw kerf remains open and the saw does not bind. The tugging force should be applied to the side of the tree opposite the cut. In the case of the Leylands, the cut is best made by an attendant at the farm using a chain saw. A back cut should be made first with the final cut coming from the opposite side.

Bring the tree to the processing area where it will be cleaned and netted. Netting makes transporting and handling the tree substantially easier.

Now you’re ready to load up and head home to decorate your Real Christmas Tree.

Follow NCTA’s tips for caring for a Real Christmas Tree, and keep in mind that the freshness of a tree you just cut is greater than that of one from a retail lot. Trees from a Choose-and-Cut farm won’t absorb as much water initially as other trees because it has not had time to dry out, unless you don’t put it into a water holding stand right away.

For more information call or email: (800) 975-5920; [email protected]

How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Tree: 10 Species and Care Tips

Christmas comes but once a year, and picking out the perfect tree to jolly up the living room is a family ritual full of fun and promise. But with all the different types of trees out there, it's hard to know which one is right for your holiday display.

Here are a few tips from our experts on how to pick one, the different types of real Christmas trees, how to measure for it, and make sure it lasts through December 25 and maybe into the New Year.

How to Pick a Christmas Tree

For the freshest and healthiest tree, you should patronize an established tree farm or a lot that brings in trees from local farms. The ones that the farms sell are grown specifically to retain their needles.

Most Christmas trees are cut about 3 to 4 weeks before they arrive on the lot—usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, according to Clarke Gernon, chairman of the National Christmas Tree Association.

Once you’re perusing the lot, picking the right tree is like picking ripe mango: you should smell and touch.

  1. Test the branches. Grab any branch on the tree between your thumb and forefinger, gently clamp down and pull towards yourself. If you end up with a handful of needles, the tree is already past its prime.
  2. Crush the needles in your hand and then check the scent. “If the tree doesn’t smell enough, don’t buy it,” says Roger.
  3. Bounce the tree by holding it a few inches above the ground and dropping it. If the exterior needles fall off, it’s sure sign of a bad apple. Needles that fall off from the interior of the tree are normal.
  4. Make absolutely sure the tree’s trunk fits your stand. Trimming the diameter of the tree by cutting away the bark will strip the tree of its cambium layer, which absorbs water. If this happens your tree is a goner.

10 Different Types of Christmas Trees

1. Balsam Fir


The variety and popularity of Christmas trees varies geographically. There are about 16 species of Christmas trees around the United States.

The classic tree (and the least expensive) in the Northeast is a balsam fir. It has a deep green color, excellent needle retention, and is one of the most aromatic of all the Christmas trees.

The balsam fir has dark green needles, needles that stay put, and is very fragrant.

Why Pick a Balsam Fir Christmas Tree:
  • Shape: A thin, spire-like top (perfect for a star or an angel) sets this pyramid-shaped tree apart.
  • Needles: Short, long-lasting dark green needles are ¾ inch to 1½ inches long and tend to be flat or blunt at the tip.
  • Scent: Its strong evergreen scent can easily fill a room.
  • Trimmings: Dense limbs can hold weighty ornaments and larger globe or C-bulb lights.

2. Fraser Fir


But the up and comer all along the east coast is the Fraser fir. “It’s sort of a cousin to the balsam fir—very, very attractive needles,” says Roger, referring to the bluish silver underside found on the branches of this species. Frasers also have good needle retention.

A Fraser’s needles are typically 3/4 of an inch long with a shiny dark green top and silvery bottom.

Why Pick a Fraser Fir Christmas Tree:
  • Shape: The branches turn slightly upward, giving it a full, compact appearance.
  • Needles: Short dark green needles have a silvery underside and are ½ to 1 inch long; resists shedding.
  • Scent: Its fresh, mild fragrance is subtler than the balsam’s.
  • Trimmings: Thick branches will hold most decorations; it’s easy to reach interior branches, so cords are less visible.

3. Douglas Fir


The more expensive choice for the Northeast—but the popular and budget/local choice in the Northwest—is the Douglas fir. It’s more portly in shape, with a paler green color, and soft needles—which make it child friendly. However, the limbs are a bit dainty and will bend under heavy ornamentation.

Needle color is either dark green or blue green and emit a sweet scent when crushed.

4. Arizona Cypress


From North Carolina to Texas, the Arizona cypress is a hit. It has a steel blue color with soft needles and a lemony mint aroma.

This cypress has plenty of smaller needles and its color ranges from pale green to gray green.

5. Virginia Pine


But the biggest seller—and low-budget choice—in the South is pine, particularly Virginia pine, with its straight trunk and a classic pine scent. However, Virginia pine, has a lot of pitch, the natural resin that makes the branches and trunk sticky.

The classic pine scent of the Virginia makes it a popular choice inside the house, and they respond well to trimming making them a good choice for landscape.

6. Leyland Cypress


If you’re allergic to pitch you might consider the Leyland cypress; which has very little scent or pitch and a deep green color.

Not a naturally occurring tree, this hybrid of Monterey cypress and Alaskan cedar is propagated by rooted cutting only.

7. White Pine


In the Mid-Atlantic states, the eastern white pine shows up in most tree lots. It’s a basic, inexpensive pine that grows well at low altitudes.

One of the most popular Christmas trees, and with soft needles could be safer around small children.

Why Pick a White Pine Christmas Tree:
  • Shape: Elegantly conical; needles are grouped in clusters, so you’ll see more trunk.
  • Needles: Long, flexible needles (2½ to 5 inches long) are gentle enough for delicate skin.
  • Scent: Minimal fragrance makes it a good choice for sensitive noses.
  • Trimmings: More of a tinsel-and-lights tree; soft needles can cause ornaments to slip.

8. Scotch Pine


In the colder parts of the Midwest, the hardy Scotch pine, which grows well near the Canadian border, gets glowing recommendations for its soft, hairlike, striped needles and its ability to stand up well to transportation.

Also called Scotch, this pine had a dark green color and stiff branches that won’t buckle under heavy lighting and ornamentation

Why Pick a Scotch Pine Christmas Tree:
  • Shape: The most popular tree in the U.S., this pine is symmetrical and dense-looking, thanks to full branches.
  • Needles: Bright green needles grow up to 3 inches long; resists shedding, even if you forget to water it.
  • Scent: It has a lasting, pleasant piney aroma.
  • Trimmings: The branches are sturdy, so bring on the heavy decorations.

9. Monterey Pine


Tree lovers in the Southwest usually go for the Monterey pine, which is deep green in color and has medium length needles and a bushy overall appearance.

Is a fast-growing tree that’s adaptable to a broad range of soil types and climates, in a good situation it can reach its full height in 40 years.

10. Blue Spruce


In the West, especially around the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado blue spruce is a local favorite. It has a rounded pyramid shape, which gives it a very full appearance. It has fragrant but sharp needles, and a silvery or bluish color.

Blue spruces reach heights of 65 to 115 feet outdoors, but the narrow, pyramidal shape makes it a Christmas tree favorite.

Why Pick a Blue Spruce Christmas Tree:
  • Shape: Perfectly symmetrical, this tree looks full with few gaps.
  • Needles: Short blue needles are 1 inch to 1½ inches long with an extremely sharp point at the end.
  • Scent: Mild aroma, but if you crush the needles, they produce a resiny smell.
  • Trimmings: Holds most ornaments; prickly needles make inner-limb decorating a challenge.

Perfect Christmas Tree Care

Once you’ve picked your Christmas tree, knowing how to keep it green and fragrant once you deck it out is a talent that eludes many a yuletide reveler. "When a tree goes south," says This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook, "ninety-nine percent of the time it's human error."

1. Measure Your Space Before You Head to the Lot

Before you head out to the farm or tree lot, make sure you know just what size tree you can fit in your house. Measure the height of your ceiling, but remember to subtract the height of your stand and the tree topper you want to use to get the maximum tree height you can fit. Also clear the space where you'll put the tree and see how deep it is.

Different species are different girths, so you want to be sure you won't be squishing the branches against the wall. And keep an eye on the size of your stand. You want to be sure the trunk of your tree will fit in it, and that it's big enough to keep your tree upright. If you're upgrading to a larger tree this year, you may need to invest in a bigger stand.

Failure to measure accurately and you could have a tell-tail sign of the mistake: "If you go to someone's house and there is a big, brown streak across the ceiling," says Roger. "That's usually where they stood up a Christmas tree that was too tall."

2. Get a Fresh Cut Christmas Tree


Cutting the end off the trunk is critical to opening up the veins that will deliver water to the branches. Use a pruning saw, and take at least an inch off. You can have the lot do it before you leave if you're headed for home, but you should wait if you're going to be out more than four hours. Otherwise, the end will glaze over with new pitch, and the tree won't take up water.

3. Wrap Up Your Christmas Tree Properly


Before you tie up the tree, have the lot attendant put it through a shaker (if they have one—some farms use a blower, though a vigorous bounce will do as well). This will shake off any dead, interior needles.

Don’t worry—it’s perfectly natural for an evergreen to have some dead needles on it from fall. Then have the tree sent through the baling machine to wrap it in netting for easy transport.


How to Transport a Live Christmas Tree Home

4. Put Up Your Christmas Tree in a Stand

Now you'll have to fit the tree into the stand. Most stands have small prongs in the bottom to hold the center of the tree.

After the trunk has been cut you may have to remove a few bottom limbs so that you can make contact with those prongs and the bottom of the trunk rests on the bottom of the tree stand—if not, the tree could swing side to side.

While the tree is still wrapped in mesh, place it on its side and use a rubber mallet to drive the stand's prongs securely onto the trunk before tightening up the thumbscrews that hold the tree in the stand.

Before tilting the tree vertical, set down some newspaper or an old rug under where the stand will be to catch any spilled water.

5. Add A Lot of Clean Water

Once the tree is upright, add clean water—a lot of it—as soon as possible. "People have to understand the first couple of days the tree is going to suck up at least a gallon of water," Roger says.

The actual amount a tree can consume varies, so be vigilant the first two days, refilling when the stand gets low until the levels stay steady.

Never let the water level drop beyond the cut end or you run the risk of pitch forming, which will seal off the tree's ability to absorb water. Roger also doesn't see the need for any additives, like aspirin or plant food, as long as the water is clean and fresh.


All About Christmas Tree Maintenance

6. Decorate Your Christmas Tree Safely


With the tree upright and hydrated, cut off the mesh and spread out the branches. Most trees will settle and open up over a couple of hours, so you should wait to start hanging lights and ornaments.

Then check all your lights for shorts and trouble spots before you string the tree, and never ever put the tree near the fireplace or lighted candles. A Christmas tree is just one flame away from a forest fire.

Also, keep glass ornaments higher on the tree, especially in households with small children, who might knock them over an break them. Then enjoy your decorations for the duration, until it's time to take everything down.

7. Dispose of Your Tree Responsibly

There are a few ways to recycle your Christmas tree when the holidays are over. Chop it into smaller pieces and put it directly right into your compost pile, or put it through the chipper to make mulch.

If you need to throw it away, check with your town—most schedule set days for tree pickup, when they come around with a chipper to turn the trees into landscaping materials or haul them off to a landfill.

However, beware: Most towns won't take trees that are wrapped in any un-organic material, like the plastic disposal bags. So if you want to be neat about disposal, wrap the tree in craft paper before hauling it out to the curb.

How to take measurements, master class | Sewing Advisor

How to take measurements? To sew some clothes, in most cases you will need a pattern. And in order to build it or correctly determine the size of the finished pattern in the magazine, you need to take measurements correctly.

We will guide you in detail on how to take measurements for women's clothing and help you choose the right fit.

First of all, we want to draw your attention to the fact that not all measurements can be taken alone. An assistant is needed to measure the back and sleeves. Here are a few more rules to follow in order to take accurate measurements:

  • Wear the exact underwear (or the same type of underwear) that you will wear with the finished garment. A volume-adding bra or slimming tights makes a big difference!
  • Tie a ribbon or ribbon around the waist.
  • Assume a natural posture. Lower your arms down, do not bend your legs.
  • For greater accuracy, take each measurement several times and compare the results.
  • The centimeter should be tight but not tight. Try to position it horizontally.
  • To find the seventh cervical vertebra, tilt your head down and feel for the first tubercle where the neck meets the body. Put a mark on your clothing or body.
  • Also mark the point of the shoulder - the junction of the arm with the torso, on clothing or on the body.

Now let's learn how to correctly take each measurement in order to build a women's clothing pattern. In most magazines or books, the following abbreviations are used to designate measurements taken: the first capital letter for the type of measurement, small letters for the place where this measurement was made. So, the letter "H" denotes the height, "D" - the length, "O" - the girth, "W" - the width.

Let's start with measurements of length and height, and the very first of them is The total length of the product or "Di" . In order to measure it correctly, you first need to decide how long your model should be. Then attach the edge of the tape measure to a point on the back at the base of the neck (the 7th cervical vertebra, further in the text "point 7") and lower it along the spine to the waist, and then down to the intended length of the model.

If you are sewing a skirt, start measuring from the waist to the length of the model, also along the back.

If you are sewing trousers, you will need to take several measurements:

Front length (ChP) - start measuring from the point at the waist, then lower the centimeter along the protruding part of the abdomen and continue to the floor.

Side length (Dsb) - start measuring from the point at the waist, then lower the centimeter along the protruding part of the thigh and continue to the floor.

Back length (Dsz) - start measuring from the point at the waist, then lower the centimeter along the protruding part of the buttocks and continue to the floor.

Knee length (Dtk) - start measuring from the point at the waist, then lower the centimeter to the middle of the knee, to save time, this measurement is recorded in parallel with the Dsb measurement.

Step length (Lw) – measure from the inside of the leg, from the groin and continue to the floor level.

The following measurements are required for shoulder patterns.

Length of the back to the waist (Dst or Ds) - start measuring from point 7 and end at the waistline. Make sure that the centimeter lies exactly along the line of the spine and touches the back.

Front length to the waist (Dp or Dp) - start measuring from the point located at the base of the neck on the shoulder line (then point 1), then lower the centimeter to the protruding point of the chest and continue to the waist line.

Shoulder length (Dp) - start measuring from point 1 and end at the point of the beginning of the arm (further point 2).

Sleeve length (L) - start measuring from point 2, move the centimeter along the outside of the arm (towards the little finger) and end at the wrist line. The arm should be slightly bent at the elbow. For ¾ sleeves, finish measurement at elbow level (DRL) . If the arm is extended and lowered, end the measurement at the level of the beginning of the thumb.

Chest height (Bg) - start measuring from point 1 and end at the most protruding point of the chest.

Front Shoulder Height (Vp or Vpp) - Start measuring from point 2 and end at the most protruding point of the chest.

Oblique back shoulder height (Vpk) - start measuring from point 2 and end in the middle of the back along the waist line (junction of the lines of the spine and waist).

Armhole Height (Depth) - You will need a long piece of paper about 3cm wide. Hold it under your arms. Start measuring from point 7 and end at the level of the top edge of the tape.

Hip height (Wb) - measure from the side, starting from the waist line and ending at the hip line.

Seat Height (Sun) – Sit on a firm and level surface. Take the measurement from behind, starting from the waistline, and ending at the level of the seat.

Now let's deal with the Width measurements.

Back width (Ws) - measure at the level of the shoulder blades (in the center). Hold the tape measure horizontally and don't wind it under your armpits!

Shoulder width (W) - measure between the extreme shoulder points (2 points on each side). Keep the centimeter horizontal!

Chest Width (W) or Center of Chest (Cg) - measure between the protruding points of the chest. Keep the centimeter horizontal!

Moving on to Circumference or Girth measurements. They are often written and used in half size: Half Girth and Half Circle. In abbreviated records, then use the combination “Po”

Chest circumference (Og or Og2) - measure along the protruding points of the chest, the centimeter should tightly wrap around the body.

Circumference above and below the bust (Og1 and Og3) - Measure above and below the bust, the tape measure should fit snugly around the body.

Waist circumference (From) - measure along the intended waist line, the centimeter should tightly wrap around the body.

Hip circumference (rpm) – measure at the most protruding points of the buttocks. If it is necessary to take into account the protruding belly, attach a ruler to it vertically and take measurements taking into account this protrusion.

Thigh circumference (Lunch) - measure at the widest point of the leg, just below the infragluteal crease.

Leg circumference (He) - measure 10-15 cm above the knee.

Knee circumference (OK) - measure around the knee. For medium-width trousers, the leg should be bent, and for narrow ones, straightened.

Calf circumference (Oi) - measure in the widest part of the gastrocnemius muscle

Neck circumference (Osh) - measure around the base of the neck, in front - above the jugular cavity.

Wrist circumference (Oz) - measure around the base of the brush.

Shoulder circumference (Op) - measure around the widest part of the arm (above, lowering the arm down).

Allowance for loose fit

If you are making the pattern yourself, you will need to allow for allowance for loose fit. These are not constant values, each type of clothing has its own increase, which also depends on what silhouette you want to get: adjacent , loose or semi-adjacent .

We offer you a table of allowances for loose fit for all three silhouettes.

How to measure correctly

To choose a suitable pattern in our online store, you need to know your size.

To do this, you need to measure yourself and take the basic measurements correctly:

1. Bust - Measure your full bust. The tape should run horizontally around the body, through the protruding points of the mammary glands.

2. Waist - Measure around your full waist. The tape should run horizontally around the torso, at the level of the waistline.

3. Hips - measure the full circumference of the hips, taking into account the protrusion of the abdomen. The tape should run horizontally around the body, behind - along the most protruding points of the buttocks. For a more accurate measurement of the protrusion of the abdomen, use a ruler.

*In order to take measurements correctly at the natural waistline, a fitting belt should be tied.

Bust , Waist , Waist , Hips

Now compare your measurements with the typical ones.

** Dimensional signs in the tables are indicated for the growth range 164-170

Compare your measurements with standard measurements. The difference between your measurement and the typical one is up to 2 cm, both minus and plus.

For shoulder products (dress, blouse, coat), the main choice of size is made by measuring the circumference of the chest. For example, your chest circumference is 84 cm. Divide 84 cm in half and get a typical size: 42.

For waist products (skirt, trousers), the defining measurement is the circumference of the hips.

These are the basic measurements you need to determine your size.

We also suggest that you familiarize yourself with an additional list of typical measurements on the basis of which our patterns are built. You will need them for a more accurate sizing:

Neck girth – Tape with its lower edge passes from behind through the 7th vertebra, from the side along the base of the neck, in front closes above the jugular cavity.

Chest width - measured horizontally above the base of the mammary glands between verticals mentally drawn upwards from the anterior corners of the armpits.

Back width - measured horizontally along the shoulder blades between the back corners of the armpits.

Shoulder width - measured from the highest shoulder point to its end point.

Shoulder girth - measured with the arm freely lowered. The tape should pass at the level of the armpits.

Wrist circumference - measure the circumference of the wrist at the thinnest point.

Neck circumference . . . . . . . Bust width . . .


Many GRASSER women's patterns are available in three, four or five height ranges:

You can focus on your overall height. But, in order to most accurately select the growth range you need, you need to know the measurements of Dts, Dtp. Since in choosing the height of the pattern, the first thing to do is to rely on the length of the body from the level of the base of the shoulder to the waist.

Take measurements and compare your measurements with GOST:

DTS - Measured from the highest point of the shoulder seam to the waist line at the back. The measurement is made parallel to the spine, taking into account the convexity of the shoulder blades.
DTP - Measured from the highest point of the shoulder seam at the base of the neck through the protruding point of the mammary gland (in men through the nipple point) and then parallel to the midline of the figure to the waist line.

VPK - measured by the shortest distance from the point of intersection of the waist line with the spine to the end point of the designed shoulder seam.


We shot a video that will help you decide on the choice of sizes and growth of the pattern:

Choosing the size for pregnant women

The girth of the chest and waist in pregnant women increases, and the rest of the dimensional signs remain very often in the "pre-pregnant" range. To correctly choose the size of the GRASSER pattern for pregnant women, you must first take all measurements, and then, based on all measurement parameters, determine your size in the table below.

We talked about choosing the size for pregnant women in more detail in this article - "How to choose the right size for a Grasser pattern for pregnant women"

The main measurements for choosing the size of a male pattern:

In choosing a pattern for height, the first thing to do is to rely on the length of the body from the level of the base of the shoulder to the waist.

Dts - measure the distance from the point of the base of the neck to the waist line from behind, parallel to the spine.
Dtp - measure the distance from the base of the neck through the nipple point to the waist line in front.
Vpk - measure the shortest distance from the intersection of the waist line with the spine to the shoulder point.

Take measurements and compare your measurements with the typical measurements:

Basic measurements for choosing the size of a children's pattern:

Basic measurements for choosing the size of the children's pattern:

How to take a measurement to select a hat size.

The size is equal to the circumference of the head.
Take a tape measure and wrap it around your head. Place the centimeter above the eyebrows one and a half or two centimeters, slightly above the auricles so that it passes through the most protruding point on the back of the head.

Learn more