Here's an example of how an average woman (me) measures up in comparison to the Craft Yarn Councils Standard measurements. These are the measurements which North American publications prefer designers to use. I'm not saying they have done any thing wrong here. We do need a starting point. These are body measurements not garment measurements. Read on and you will begin to understand why I learned to modify all the patterns I used when I first started knitting.
Most of us start with the Bust measurement. I'm a Medium.
The next measurement is Centre Back Neck-to-Cuff, I'm not on the chart, I'm less than a X-Small.
Back Waist Length, same problem, I'm not on the chart.
Cross Back (Shoulder to Shoulder), I make it, I'm an X-Small.
Sleeve Length to Underarm, I'm not on the chart again.
Upper Arm humm, I'm a Large?
Armhole Depth, I'm not on the chart...again.
Waist, I'm a Large.
Hips, I'm in between a Small and a Medium.
How to do you compare? More importantly, do you take the time to compare?