There are a number of measurements that are critical for a good design and a sound installation of window panels.
1. Tight Size: This is the full size of the glass opening with no allowances for expansion and contraction. In a wood or metal rebate frame one would measure from steel to opposing steel or wood to wood; in a stone groove installation, from the bottom of one groove to the bottom of the opposing groove. Depending on the size of the opening, this measurement should be checked in multiple areas; at a minimum at the top, bottom and middle horizontally and at the left and right jamb.
2. Sight Size is the daylight opening or the largest opening that allows light to pass through.
3. Rebate or groove details. With a rebate frame, the depth and the width of the rebate must be measured, as well as the interior return if round bars will be used (this dictates what size bar will fit and how long the bar should be). These dimensions are also necessary to determine the dimensions of the retaining molding if one is to be used. If it is a groove, the depth of the groove and the width of the groove (measured from interior to exterior) are important.
4. Panel Size. This is the ideal size of a panel that will be installed into the opening in question. Typically, this will be a function of the tight size less 3mm in both width and height for a leaded glass panel, to allow for expansion and contraction. One must also recognize if the size varies throughout the frame and make allowance for this as well. With dalle de verre, you need a deep rebate or groove and allow at least 5mm in both directions for expansion.
5. The depth of the rebate or the width of the groove are critical measurements. To allow for a proper installation, allow a minimum of 13mm to be added to the thickness of the panel to provide room for a proper putty fillet.
Based on comments from Art Femenella
6. When measuring older openings and especially doors, measure the diagonals in addition to all the other measurements. This provides a check of all your other measurements and also tells you whether the opening is a true rectangle or parallelogram.