Drafting the Torso Bodice

How to Draft the Torso Front

As noted in the introductory (preliminary) page, the Torso Block is just a shorter version of the Extended Line Dress block with a couple of modifications to the waist darts.  (The Extended Line Dress Block was created using  the Bodice and Skirt Blocks).

Torso Block Front – Instructions Figure 1

  1. Trace your EL Dress Block from the hip the hip-line at CF around to the hip line on the side seam.
  2. Transfer the markings of the three darts; use an awl to push holes through all the dart points and the dart-width points.  These are indicated by red dots on the image.
  3. Remove the block and draw the hip-line/hemline.
  4. Redraw the side seam dart and the small waist dart, using the marks transferred from the ELD Block. Don’t draw the larger dart; this will be changed.

Torso Block Front – Instructions Figure 2

  1. Measure in at the side seam waist for 0.75-inch, and mark.
  2. Measure in at the side seam at the hip line for 0.75-inch and mark.
  3. Redraw the side seam: a straight line from the bottom leg of the side seam dart to the waist, and a curved side seam from the waist to the hip.  The new curve should be the same as the old; you can use your ELD Block and trace that curve by placing it on top of the traced Torso outline.
  4. Reduce the large dart by 0.75-inch, making sure the center point remains the same.
  5. Redraw the waist dart with the reduced width, with the dart ending 5.7-inches below the waist.
  6. Cut the block shape out from the cardboard.
  7. Label and notch the block, draw the grainline and mark the CF.


  • After you have made both Front & Back, you will need to check the side seam lengths.
  • This Torso Block is for garments with sleeves.  Note that when making sleeveless garments, garments with cutaway armholes or low necklines, you will need to make adjustments. See the section on Contouring; if you have already marked the Bodice Block with contour markings, you can just transfer them to this block.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Maria,

    Thank you so much for these instructions. I have previously made comments but it all leads to how I can make a torso block (thank you for that I did not know what it was called 🙂 ) and a dress block that I have just discovered on your website which by the way is a treasure of information. Thank you for that. Just had a question with the block instructions. When you’re constructing the front torso block, why do we need to come in 0.75″ at the waist and hips? I’m the type of person when learning something I need to understand the why which is why I love your videos on YouTube because you always give us the whys.


  2. Hello Betty

    The Torso Block is made from the Extended Line Dress Block (in this case, on my website). If you look at the Extended Line dress Block instructions here…


    ….and go to Figure 4, you will see that 0.75 inches is added to width the skirt block.

    Why is this added? If you scroll down to Figure 8, you will see that the large dart doesn’t end in a point, there are two parallel lines that are 0.75 inches apart running down from the end of the dart to the hem.

    The 0.75 inches is added to the side seam to counteract that amount added to the dart.

    Not all Dress Blocks do this – and you could choose not to add the 0.75 to the width of the skirt block, and have the dart end in a point.

    So why do it? It’s just an option (and it’s the Extended Line Dress Block option that was used in my studies at TAFE), and an option that works well if you are going to use Princess Seams in the dress. This works better for those with a large difference in measurement between the hips and waist (i.e. pear shape). If you have a very large dart in a dress block it can end up with some distortion or it not looking very nice. The same way that Princess Seams are preferable for large busts (rather than darts) so putting in Princess Seams down to the hem works better for those with a large difference between the hips and waist.

    I removed it in the Torso Block to give the other option. i.e. You could have them both like the Extended Dress Block, or both like the Torso Block).

    When I was creating this written content I found I could not go into the detail I do in the videos; I felt I would lose people’s attention. It really is easier to add more detail in the videos than it is with written instructions.

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