Instructions: Bodice Back

These are the step-by-step instructions for drafting the Bodice Back Block.  This back block can be used with either the 2-Dart Bodice Front or the 1-Dart Bodice Front.

Example - Finished Bodice Back

This first image is what the block looks like at the end of the step-by-step instructions below, using the measurements specified on the Preliminary Tab.  The shape of yours may end up looking quite different.


Comparison: My Bodice Block Back

This is what my block, using my personal measurements, looks like.   Your block may end up being slightly or significantly different to the example block.  My Bodice Block Front looks very different to the example, but my Bodice Back looks very similar. The main difference is the shoulder slope, as I have squarer shoulders than the norm.


Bodice Back Figure 1

Draw a rectangle:

  1. Height of rectangle: From A up to B = Full Length Back.
  2. Width of rectangle: From B across to C = (Upper Bust ÷ 4) + 1.25 inches ease
  3. Complete the rectangle - making sure all angles are squared.
  4. Label the points A, B, C & D as shown.

See article: Why Upper Bust rather than Bust?

(For this example: Height = 17.37 inches, Width = 8.5 + 1.5 = 10 inches)


Bodice Back Figure 2

  1. Centre Back Length: Measure up from A, on the A~B line.  Draw a line a few inches long inwards.  Label this line E.
  2. Across Shoulder Length: Measure across from B, on the B~C line.  Draw a line downwards about 4 inches long.  Label this line F.

(For this example: Centre Back Length = 16.63, Across Shoulder = 7.75 inches)


Bodice Back Figure 3

  1. Back Neck: Measure across from B, on the B~C line.  Label this point G.  From G square a line downwards a few inches long.
  2. Shoulder Slope Back: Measure from A towards the line F so that it touches the line.  Label this point H.

(For this example: the measurements are: Back Neck = 3.06 inches, Shoulder Slope Back = 17.25 inches)


Bodice Back Figure 4

  1. Shoulder Length + 0.5" (for dart): Measure from G to touch and pass point H.  Label the end point I.
  2. Place a mark at the halfway point of the Shoulder Length.  This will be the centre of the dart (in Step 10).  Mark this mid-shoulder point J.
  3. Work out the Centre Front to Side Seam measurement: Add the Waist Arc + (1.5 inches for the dart) + (0.25 inches for ease). Use the total measurement in the next step.
  4. Centre Front to Side Seam: Measure from A, on the A~B line.  At this point measure down 3/16" at right angles from A~D. Label this point K.

(For this example: Shoulder Length = 5.08 inches + 0.5 dart = 5.58 inches, halfway = 2.79 inches, Waist Arc = 7 inches, therefore Centre Back to Side Seam = 7 + 1.5 + 0.25 = 8.75 inches)


Bodice Back Figure 5

  1. Side Seam Length: Measure from K to meet the D~C line.  Mark this point L.  Draw a line at right angles to the K~L line; this will assist in drawing the armhole.
  2. Work out the Placement of the Across Back line: 1/4 of the Centre Back measurement (from A to the line E). Measure down from the line E and label this point M.
  3. Across Back + 0.25" ease:  Measure from point M, and mark the end point N.

(For this example the measurements are:  Side Length = 8.06 inches, Across Back Placement = 16.63 ÷ 4 = 4.15 inches down from line E.  Across Back = 7.25 + 0.25 ease = 7.5 in)


Bodice Back Figure 6

Draw the neckline and the armhole

  1. Neckline Curve: Using a French Ruler, draw the neckline to touch point G and the CB Neckline (where the line E begins on the A~B line).
  2. Armhole Curve: Using a French ruler, draw the armhole curve to touch points I, N & L.  Do not be below the line at right angles to the K~L line.

(With some curves, you may need to draw part of it, move the French Curve and draw another, then blend the two lines together)


Bodice Back Figure 7

  1. Dart Placement: Measure from A, on the A~D line, label with an O where the Waist Dart begins.
  2. Dart Width:  From O, measure a 1.5-inch dart and label the end point P.
  3. Mark the centre of the dart (midway between O & P).
  4. Dart: Draw a (dashed) line upwards from the dart centre.  The length of the line = Side Seam Length + 0.5 inch. Label the Dart Point Q.

(For this example: Dart Placement = 2.88 inches, Dart Length = 8.56 inches)


Bodice Back Figure 8

Draw the dart legs:

  1. Draw lines from Q to O and from Q to P.  Extend both these lines down 1/8 inch below the waistline.  We will refer to the end points of these lines (at 1/8" below the waist line) as O & P from now on.
  2. Extend the mid-dart line down below the waist level about .75 inch.


Bodice Back Figure 9

Draw the Waist Curve:

  1. Draw a curved line from A to O and continue that curve until it meets the mid-dart line.
  2. Draw the same but reflected curve (from the mid-dart line) to meet point P.
  3. Draw a curve from P to K to complete the waist curve.

(Note: When the dart is closed, you should have a smooth curve.  See the article Curving the Waist..)


Bodice Back Figure 10

  1. Draw a (dashed) line from J to Q.  This is a guide-line only.
  2. Shoulder Dart: Measure a dart 3 inches in length from J on the J~Q guideline.  Label this shoulder dart point R.


Bodice Back Figure 11

  1. Shoulder Dart:  On the G~I line, create a dart with J as the center.  The width of the dart will be 0.5 inches for smaller sizes, and 0.63 inch for bust sizes larger than 38 inches.
  2. Label the dart edges with S and T as shown.

(For this example: Dart Width = 0.5 inches. )


Bodice Back Figure 12

Complete the shoulder dart and the shoulder line:

  1. Draw a dart leg from the dart point R through S and 1/8 past the G~I line.  Mark this point U.
  2. Measure the length of the dart leg R~U and draw the dart leg from R through T to be the same length.  Label the end point V.
  3. Extend the mid-dart line up by 1/2" or so above the G~HI line and mark it W.
  4. Draw a line from the shoulder tip point I to V and continue until it touches the W line.
  5. Draw a line from W to U.
  6. Complete the shoulder line by drawing a line from U to G.


Your Bodice Back is finished!

You can now:

  1. Label the block.
  2. Cut the shape out of the cardboard.
  3. Mark the Dart Points, using an awl or another sharp implement to punch a hole through the cardboard.
  4. Notch the dart legs.

Note that the armhole notch will be marked after the sleeve is made: the notch point is made when creating the sleeve and is transferred to the bodice.



  • After you have made both Front & Back, check that the side seam and shoulder lengths match.
  • You will also need to true the armhole and necklines curves: this is checking the flow through curves are smooth.  See Terminology > Truing for an example.
  • This Bodice 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.


Note Regarding Comments & Emails

With the exception of emails regarding purchased Blocks or Books, please be aware that I only answer comments or emails every two or three weeks.

I can only answer questions that take 5 minutes of my time.

The content I provide on this website is free but that does not mean I also provide unlimited one-on-one free assistance.

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