Successfully taking measurements is not very difficult if you keep a few things in mind while you're doing it:
The tape should be snug, not tight
In the best of all possible worlds, you should take the measurements over whatever garments are going to be worn under whatever you're making. What this means is that if the only thing to be worn under the future garment is a bra, that's how the measurements should be taken. If modesty or circumstance don't allow this, wear a T-shirt. Never, ever take measurements over bulky clothing, unless they'll be worn under whatever it is that you're making.
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