Pattern Cutting

Sewing Patterns

Drafting the Bodice Block

Pattern Cutting - How to cut your own sewing patterns. Although it is much easier to download sewing patterns drafted to your own measurements, many sewers like to learn how to do it from scratch. Here are my In-Depth Pattern Cutting Videos to get you started

The Pattern Cutting eBook Series is available to Members or can be purchased separately. I am including the Transcript for the Pattern Cutting Series.

Part 4 - Draft the Armhole & Finish


Pattern Cutting - The Variables

The Back Bodice

Find O: Measuring down from Top Line to mark O - 1", for over 38" bust 1½".

Find Bust Line: Measuring down from O for Bust Line: 8½" for Bust 36/38". Add or subtract ¼" for every 2" larger or smaller.

Find Neck Width: 2½" + ⅛" for Bust 36. Add or subtract ⅛" for each size larger or smaller.

Back Bust Line - Add 2" to Half Back Width for average sizes. A little less for smaller sizes. For larger sizes add up to 2¾".

Back Hip Point - For larger sizes make HP ½" or so less than ¼ hip measurement for CB.

The Front Bodice

Find the Shoulder Line: Measure down from O 1¾", for Bust 42" and over 1½".

Find the Base of Neckline: Measure down from O 3". This can be increased to 3¼" - 3½" for larger sizes.

Find the Shoulder Dart Width: For Bust 36" the dart width along the Shoulder is 3". Add or subtract ¼" for sizes larger or smaller.

Front Hip Line - For larger sizes make HP more than ¼ hip + 1½" to 2" from CF. Look for balance in the side seam between the back and front at Hip Level.

Find the True Waist: For larger sizes drop the Centre Front Waist Point up to 1" an up to ½" at the side seam.

Pattern Cutting - The Transcript

We now need the Bust Width

Our back bust width was the across back measurement of 13.5, halved 6¾ and with 2" added to give us 8¾. Then calculate half bust measurement and plus 2". So in this case, half the bust measurement, 33.5" + 2" is 18¾. Take away the 8¾" from 18¾" which leaves us with 10" for the front bust width. So 10" for the front bust width to the Underarm Point.

At the chest line, we want to find the Chest point. Measure along from CF 1/2 chest width adding on the dart width at this point. My half chest width is 6.5 and the dart width at this level measures ¾" of an inch, so Chest Point CP is 7¼" from CF. Draw a line from SP to CP, then drop a vertical line to the bust line. This is a guide for the armhole shape. Find the mid point along the SP/CP line and measure ½" inside it. Then find the point ½" from the angle on the 45 degree line.

So we can now draw the armhole line dipping below the bust line here and passing through all these points to the shoulder. This curve will match up with the shallower curve of the back armhole. You could use a French Curve template but I prefer to do it by eye and get exactly what I want. This diagram shows what we have just done.

Find HP on the Front Bodice. Measure a quarter hip measurement + 1½". Join UP and HP for the hip seam guide. Mark WP about ½" from this line and a ¼" below the waistline. Draw in the side seam.

Draw the True Bust line 2" below bust line guide. Where this line crosses the line down from the bust dart point, mark with an X as the highest point of the bust. For a true waist, we already have the side WP a little lower than the waistline guide (¼"). Mark the front WP ½" lower at CF. Larger sizes, drop the CF/WP up to an 1" and up to ½" at the side seam.





You will find all these diagrams in the PDF.

To properly cut the shoulder dart, find the centre of the dart and fold. Pin the dart with the fold towards the neckline and redraw the shoulder line from NP to SP. Unpin and draw in the extended dart lines. You'll notice this line is redrawn a fraction higher now.

Check the armhole measurement. It should be 4½" - 5" larger than the top arm measurement of 11½", so 16" - 16½". A ¼" difference is ok.

Finally, make sure you label your block with these details and any other notes to remind you of variations you may want to finalise when you try your block for size.

This block is the basis for dresses without a waist seam jackets and coats There is no allowance for wearing ease. Wearing ease is added at design stage.

From this draft we can work on the short bodice block adding dart shaping at the waist. And we will also be using it to draft a Sleeve Block.

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