Making the Bodice Block Set

This article was originally published in January 2018.

It was then updated on 13 April 2020, changing the ease in the Upper Bust from 6-inches to 5-inches.

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 the instructions below:

YouTube Videos with Revised System

Imperial Version:

Bodice Front:

Bodice Back:

Metric Version:

Bodice Front :

Bodice Back:

Written Instructions - Ko-Fi Shop & Google Play

You can also buy booklets from my Ko-Fi shop or Google Play - these booklets contain my my revised system instructions that are in my latest YouTube videos.

This page and the pages in the sub-menu contains preliminary information; the step-by-step instructions can be found on the menu.  You will need to refer to this preliminary information when following along with the instructions.

The Bodice Blocks are created based on the Upper Bust rather than the Bust measurement.  It will, of course, still fit in the bust.  If you want a run-down of why I use the Upper Bust for the width of the block - please read the article Why Upper Bust rather than Bust?


Block Ease

There is a total of 5 inches* wearing ease in the Upper Bust (armhole level) and approx 2.5 inches* of wearing ease in the bust.  The ease is distributed evenly between the back and the front, therefore (as the block are based on half the body), there is 1.25 inches added to both Front and Back in the Upper Bust, and 0.75 inches in both Front and Back in the Bust.

There is a total of 1 inch of wearing ease in the waist.  This is distributed evenly,  therefore (as the blocks are based on half the body), 0.25 inches are added to the Front and Back.

For those of you who may have used some other block making methods, and are interested why there is 5 inches ease in the Upper Bust and 3 inches in the Bust, please read the three articles below, plus the Upper Bust article previously mentioned.

Note the following:

  • Although other block-making instructions may seem to add a lot less ease than this (e.g. the instructions may suggest that they add only 2 inches ease to the block), those block making instructions are based on the Bust measurement.  I have written a number of articles explaining the theory, and also deconstrucing other block making instructions by industry experts (Aldrich & Joseph-Armstrong) that show the the amount of ease added in their instructions end up in the vicinity of 5.25/5 inches in the Upper Bust and 3.25/2.75 in the bust), even through the instructions may suggest that only 2 inches ease is included.
  • This block is for garments with sleeves; you need some ease in the block at the underarm area if you want to be able to get a full range of movement.  If you are creating a Sleeveless Garment you will remove some of this ease.

Bodice Front

The Bodice Front is created with two darts.  With this block making method, it is more usual to create a one-dart block, then use that block to create a two-dart block by pivoting or cutting and spreading,  but we will be distributing the dart excess (by cutting and spreading) within the instructions. (If you don't know what this means, don't worry about it, you'll find out as you make your block).

The block created will have the waist parallel to the floor.  You can redistribute the darts as you please when making patterns.

As I have said in many places on my website, when you are drafting a Bodice Block, your Bra Cup Size is irrelevant. The cup size for patternmaking is a completely different thing to cup size for bras.  You may have an F, G or H cup in bras, but be only a C or D for patternmaking purposes.

Bodice Back

The Bodice Back has one waist dart and a shoulder dart.  

Bodice with Sleeves

This bodice block is for use when you want a garment with sleeves.  Once you start cutting the shoulder line in and the neckline down, you need to use a Sleeveless Block, which you can make from this block. (You could alternatively mark those lines on this block and make the necessary adjustments when making the pattern.)

To stress this point:  If you make this block, then make a fitting toile, and it fits well, you cannot then create patterns with low necklines and cutaway arms using this block and expect it to fit.  The garment will gape in the armhole and the neckline.  When making the Sleeveless Block, you determine how much gaping there will be through a toile fitting, and make the necessary markings on the block so that when you want to create cutaway arms and low necklines, you have the necessary information marked on your block to make the adjustments.

Written Instructions

At the very bottom of each of the instructions pages (i.e. at the bottom of the Instructions Pages) for a small fee you can download the step-by-step instructions that appear on the website, but in a more print-friendly booklet (PDF).  The graphics will have better resolution and it will print on fewer pages.  There are also some additional downloads: a condensed version of the step-by-step instructions, and a one-page outline.  The content of these two files (the condensed and outline) are not found on the website. 

While you can just copy and paste the information on the website and print it for free, if you have found the information I supply on this website useful, please consider paying the fee to help support the running costs of this website and the time I spend creating content.

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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