Drafting the Sleeveless Bodice

How to Draft the Sleeveless Block Back

We will use the Bodice Back block to create the Sleeveless Bodice Back Block.  We will make the same changes as we did to the Bodice Front (reduce the ease and raise the armhole), and then mark the Empire Line style-line. Your block should have holes pierced through the waist and shoulder dart points so that these can be marked on the block beneath.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 1

  1. Measure along the shoulder line, up from shoulder tip A, for 0.38-inch. This is the new shoulder tip, mark it B.
  2. Draw a horizontal line from the underarm point C across the block; this line should be at right angle to the CB line.  I have labeled where it meets the BC line as point D.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 2

When tracing the block, you may need a patternmaking weight or something else suitable.
  1. Trace around the block from point B to the neckline and continuing around the block until you reach the side seam point E.
  2. Mark the dart legs for both the waist dart and the shoulder dart.
  3. Put the pencil-tip through the holes of the two dart points to mark these on the cardboard underneath.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 3

  • Measure in from C on the C~D line for 0.38-inch.  Mark this point F.  This is a guide point for re-drawing the side seam line.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 4

Take your block off, and put it aside, we don’t need it anymore.  What you should have on the cardboard underneath should look like the image below.  You may not have the letters, but you should have point F and the dart points marked.  In the image the darts points are indicated with red circles. For the next step you will need the new side seam length. See the note under Figure 4 of the Front instructions.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 5

  1. Side Seam:  Draw the side seam, using the new sides seam length of the Sleeveless Front block, up from E and passing through point F.
  2. Find the Across Back line: Divide the CB line by 4, and mark the Across Back line 1/4 of this measurement, down from the CB neck point.
  3. Across Back Measurement: Measure from the CB on the Across Back line.  You will need to get this measurement from your measurement chart.  Note that when creating the standard Bodice (Sleeve) Block, ease was added. Do not add ease in this case.
  4. Draw the back armhole to touch points B, the Across Back line and the new underarm point X.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 6

Finish off your block.  You can cut it out before or after placing the Contouring Guides that are shown in the following images. (Finishing off your block means labeling, piercing holes in the dart points, marking the grainline, cutting out and notching).

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 7, Contouring

Contour marks for the Bodice Back are:
  1. reshaping the shoulder line,  and
  2. increasing the waist dart length
Note that these markings are made and left on the block as guides for contouring; i.e. you do not cut out the reshaped shoulder line.

Sleeveless Block Back: Figure 8, Contouring

The Empire Line contouring marks are also placed on the block as shown.  You need to mark the Bodice Front first, as the Empire Line markings for the back are based on the Front measurements.


  • Make sure to check the side seam lengths when both Front & Back are finished.
  • As the armhole shape has changed, you will need to check the flow-through with the Front/Back.
  • Pierce holes in the relevant places so that these markings can be transferred when making patterns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *