Drafting the Bodice Block Set
General Information: Drafting the Bodice Block
Please note that I have since revised my Bodice Block instructions; my system has changed significantly. Please see my YouTube channel for my step-by-step videos using my revised system.
The reason I have left these older written instructions on my website as they still work pretty well for most people and they are the only FREE written instructions I have. The only way to access my new revised system in written form is through my Ko-Fi shop and they cost $10.00.
I would encourage people to use my new system available on my YouTube channel instead of using these written instructions on my website.
All the information below relate to the written instructions on my website, not the instructions on my YouTube channel.
This page contains 7 sections as shown below. Click on the links to go directly to the sections:
(1) MeasurementsWhen following along with the step-by-step instructions, you would usually use your own measurements to create your own block. Sometimes, however, in order to understand or check what I am doing, you may need to refer to the measurements that I am using. The measurements listed here are the Body Measurement that I use in those instructions to draft the block. Note that my instructions require the Upper Bust measurement rather than the Bust measurement. If you want a detailed explanation of why, please read: Why Upper Bust rather than Bust? The short explanation is that it allows us to create C-Cup, D-Cup or other larger bust cups within the instructions, rather than create the block for a B-bust-cup, then have to do a bust adjustment. If you have a large bust compared to your upper bust and you use your bust measurement, you will end up with too much ease in the Upper Bust/Armhole area, which will probably show as gaping in the armhole. This method allows all bust-cups (including B-bust cup, which is the ‘standard’) to create a block that fits in the armhole area as well as the bust. If you have a large bust compared to your upper bust and you use your bust measurement, you will end up with too much ease in the Upper Bust/Armhole area, which will probably show as gaping in the armhole. This method allows all bust-cups (including B-bust cup, which is the ‘standard’) to create a block that fits in the armhole area as well as the bust. A download file of these measurements can be found at the bottom of the page, below the table. You can print these measurements ou to make it easier to follow along with the instructions.
Bodice Front – Body Measurements
|Full Length Front||17.5|
|Bust – B Cup||36|
|Bust – C Cup||37|
|Bust – D Cup||38|
|Centre Front Length||14.52|
|Across Shoulder Front||7.63|
|Shoulder Slope Front||17.62|
|Bust Depth (B Cup)||10.25|
|Bust Span (B Cup)||3.75|
|Front Armhole Depth||8.33|
|Waist Arc Front||7|
Bodice Back – Body Measurements
|Full Length Back||17.37|
|Centre Back Length||16.63|
|Across Shoulder Back||7.75|
|Shoulder Slope Back||17.25|
|Waist Arc Back||7.0|
(2) Upper Bust EaseThis article was updated on 13 April 2020, changing the Upper Bust ease from 6-inches to 5-inches. On the introductory page I have noted that the amount of ease to add to the Upper Bust is 5 inches; this amount of ease will work pretty well for all Bust Cup Sizes, and will result in between 2 and 3 inches ease in the Bust. You can, however, use the amount of ease listed in the table below instead. Using the amounts specified in the table will more consistently result in 3 inches ease in the bust.
Upper Bust Ease that will result in 3 inches ease in the Bust
|Bust Cup||Amount of Ease|
|No difference between UB and B||3.50 inches | 11.50 cm|
|A-Cup||3.87 inches | 12.25 cm|
|B-Cup||4.25 inches | 13.25 cm|
|C-Cup||4.63 inches | 14.25 cm|
|D-Cup||5 inches | 15.25 cm|
|DD-Cup||5.38 inches | 16.25 cm|
(3) Bust Point to Dart PointThis information relates to to the instructions in Figure 15 of Bodice Front Instructions. This is the measurement from the Bust Point to the Dart Point for the waist and side-seam darts. This is a general guide and a starting point; after making a toile you will check if this works for your body, and make any relevant changes on your toile and your block. The sizes listed are consistent with Commercial Sewing Patterns.
|B-Cup (in inches)||0 .63||0 .63||0 .75||0 .75||0 .75||1||1||1||1|
|C-Cup (in inches)||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|D-Cup (in inches)||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25|
Side Seam Dart
|B-Cup (in inches)||0 .75||0 .75||0 .88||0 .88||0 .88||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25|
|C-Cup (in inches)||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.25|
|D-Cup (in inches)||1.25||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5|
(4) Side Seam Dart PlacementThis information relates to Figure 9 of Bodice Front (2-Dart) Instructions. This is a general guide for the placement of the side seam dart, measured down from the armhole.
|Measure down from Underarm Point||2||2.08||2.16||2.25||2.36||2.45||2.54||2.62||2.7|
(5) 1-Dart or 2-Dart Block?This website contains two sets of instructions to make the Bodice Front: the Bodice Front 1-Dart and the Bodice Front 2-Dart Blocks . So why are there two sets of instructions, and which should you use? Well, that depends… In terms of making patterns, if you are an experienced patternmaking, it doesn’t make any difference which one you use. Manipulating darts (i.e. moving darts or parts of darts) is part of the fundamentals of patternmaking. So there is no reason to use one block over rather than convention and preference. As a general rule, you would not often make a garment with one dart, as one large dart can create distortion in the garment (the larger your bust cup, the more this will apply). However, as said above, you can use the one-dart block regardless, because you can make the necessary changes when drafting the pattern. However, given that you would more often make garments with a dart in the side seam than not, it means there is a little bit less work if you use the two-dart block. So, I think it’s fairly safe to say that using the two-dart block will save a bit of time and work each time you make a pattern. It may also be useful to have and use both blocks. If you do decide to use both blocks, it is not necessary to make both from scratch: if you make one, you can use the principle of Manipulating Darts to create the other block. It will take far less time to create one block from the other than to create it again from scratch. So, again, why do I have instructions for both? Which one should you create from scratch? Well, it’s up to you. Here is some information to help you decide:
- The 2-Dart Block is usually the standard.
- Creating the 1-Dart Block will probably be easier in comprehend. Using this 1-Dart Block to create a 2-Dart Block will also make more sense than creating the 2-Dart Block directly.
- The 2-Dart Block will usually be the one I use in my instructions for making patterns, so if you want to follow along with those instructions, and you are new to patternmaking, having a 2-Dart Bodice Block makes sense.
- There is no harm in having both a 1-Dart Block and a 2-Dart Block; which you prefer will be a personal decision.
(6) Curving the WaistWhen creating the Bodice Block, both the one-dart and the two-dart Block, we created a curved waist line. This page shows
- how that curve was achieved
- why we have this curve, and
- how you can create/check the curve whenever you need to when creating your own patterns.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 1In the instructions for creating the 1-Dart Block, dart leg A is extended below the waistline, and dart leg B is drawn to be the same length as dart leg A. This is shown in Figure 1.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 1bThis is just a close-up of Figure 1, showing the final curve. What this final curve looks like may not be obvious, and how to draw the curve from dart leg B to the side seam might also not be obvious. This is why will will go back to the beginning and work through creating the curve, showing also how to create or check any waistline curve.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 2In Figure 02, I have taken dart leg A only to the waist, then made dart leg B the same length as dart leg A (as both dart legs must be the same length).
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 3Figure 3 shows the resulting angular line when the dart is closed. As this isn’t a reflection of what the body looks like, we need to amend that line.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 4Figure 4 shows a more practical waistline with a curve.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 5In Figure 5, I have cut the curve at the dart point, and moved the side panel back to the original position, together with the portion of the curve. You can see then how we can create the curve; by extending the dart legs down about 3/16-inch, and then blending back to the original line. This is what was shown in Figure 1, up the top of the page.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 6In Figure 6, I have just placed Figure 5 on top of the image in Figure 1. So now you can see why, when creating the block, we extended the dart leg below the waistline, and that when the dart is closed, the waistline has a curve rather than angles. Although you may now understand that, you may still have a few issues, which we will look at from Figure 7.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 7Looking at Figure 7, it might be obvious how to draw the curve from the CF to dart leg A point which is 3/16-inch below the waistline, but drawing the curve from dart leg B to the side seam line may not be so obvious. In Figure7 it is currently a straight line). In Figure7, the dart leg B to side-seam line is currently a straight line.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 8To determine the curve from dart leg B to the side seam, you can do what I did in Figure 3: trace a portion of the block, pivot it and work out the curve, then pivot it back and complete the line. This is shown step-by-step in the next few figures below. Figure 8: trace out the portion to pivot – shown in green.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 9
- Pivot the traced portion (pivot on the Bust Point), until the dart is closed.
- Draw the curve on the tracing paper
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 10
- Pivot it back to the original position, and draw the curve on the block/pattern.
Curving the Waist, Bodice Front – Figure 11
IMPORTANT!Make sure you don’t end up with this kind of angle on the side seam; the side seam curve needs to blend into a 90-degree angle at the corner – as is the case for the CF.
I love your website! beautiful and very informative.
could you show how to take those measurements?
some of them are not so clear (:
I have been wanting to make a video on taking measurements for some time. I have a couple of problems; one is limited time to spend on my website at the moment, the second is finding a model for the video. The problems related to the model include COVID issues (can’t keep 1.5 metres distance when measuring someone) and finding a model (who I can measure) at an affordable rate, as I don’t earn enough money to cover my costs on this website!.
Basically when I can, I will. That will still be a month or two from now.
Thank you for sharing all these awesome resources. Will the measurements be updated (adding Bust Depth @ Side Seam “J to K’, Upper Bust Arcs, Bust Arcs) to follow along with the new March 2022 Bodice Videos? I couldn’t find them but would find it so helpful to follow along as you draft. Thanks!
If you watch BOTH:
(1) The Measurements video, AND
(2) The beginning of the March 2022 Bodice Front Instructions Video, then you will have all the necessary information for taking measurements.
(I.e. The Measurements video had a few mistakes, but those mistakes are explained, together with the corrections at the beginning of the Bodice Front Instructions March 2022 video).
(I’m a little confused thought… you say “will the measurements be updated.. to include the Bust Arc”…. are you referring to the Measurements Video? (My confusion is that the Bust Arcs and Bust Depth at Side Seam are included in the Measurements video… I’ll include a link in case you haven’t seen it).
Anyway… the two videos I have mentioned will get you the information you need.
Here is a link to the Measurements video in case you haven’t seen it: