Princess Line – Shoulder 

This page gives instructions for creating the pattern pieces for the Shoulder Princess Line style-line.  The instructions given are limited to the style-line, as that is the theory being covered –  I do not give the instruction to create the whole pattern; e.g. pattern pieces are not created for the lining or facing, and the final pattern pieces don’t have seam allowances added, or cutting instructions noted, etc. The first image on the page is the Flat that gives information on this pattern; e.g. straight skirt. If not already appearing in the Pattern Menu,  eventually there will be a dress pattern that gives step-by-step instructions for creating a pattern that has a Princess Shoulder Line seam.

Block Used

I will be using the Extended Line Dress Block for these instructions.

Example Outcome

The Image Below shows the block being used on the (Extended Line Dress Block), and the four pattern pieces (Princess Line Shoulder) that will be created on the right.

Note: The actual pattern would need seam allowance and cutting instructions added, etc.  A complete pattern would also need facing, lining or other finishing details.  This has not been done here we are just covering the theory, not creating a pattern from A~Z.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder)- Figure 1

We will start with the Dress Front and mark the design lines on the actual block before we start tracing. Firstly, a note:  I have scribbled out the second smaller dart to show that we will not be using this dart. (You don’t have to scribble it out on your block!).  The ELD Block has only 1-inch ease in the waist, which is quite a tight fit; this dress style does not look that fitting according to the flat – there seems to be a reasonable amount of ease in the waist.   If we use the value of the smaller darts for ease (both front and back) instead of sewing in the dart, we will gain an additional 2.75-inches, meaning a total of 3.75-inches ease in the waist.
  • Draw a line from the mid-shoulder point to the Bust Point
  • Continue that line to the waist point of Dart Leg A, and then to the the hem point of Dart Leg A.
  • Draw another line from the Bust Point to the waist point of Dart Leg B, and then to the hem point of Dart Leg B.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 2

We will now mark a number of points on the block; the points are indicated by a cross (X).  These marks are made on the hip line (shown in blue), the Bust Radius circle (shown in purple), and the waist (shown in green).
  • Draw a line across the block at the hip-line (you should have a notch there), at right angles to the CF line.
  • Where the hip-line crosses the new dart legs, make a mark on both dart legs; this will be a balance point when sewing the pattern pieces together.
  • Draw your bust radius circle using a compass.  (Click on this link go to this page on  contouring, which explains the Bust Mound Radius if you are unsure of what this is).
  • Mark each place the Bust Mound circle and the stylelines intersect.
  • Mark the dart width points on the waistline.
  • Push an awl through the cardboard at each of the 7 points marked in the image.  This creates small holes which will allow you to make marks on the paper underneath. In this image these key points are shown as crosses, from the next image they will be shown as blue dots.  Note that your Bust Point should also have a hole – this should have been done when you created the block.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 3

The key points that were indicated by crosses (X) in the previous image are now indicated by small blue circles.  A reminder that these should be holes in your block.

We will now create pattern piece #1 – the CF piece.
  • Trace from the shoulder design line around in a clockwise direction until you get to dart leg A at the hem.
  • Put your pencil through the 5 key internal points that relate to pattern piece # 1:  hip-line, waistline, dart leg under the Bust Point, the Bust Point itself, and where the Bust Circle crosses the style-line around the armhole level  (blue dots labeled 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 in the image) to make marks on the paper underneath.
Put your block aside to finish off PP#1.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 4

  • Draw a straight line from the shoulder to the Bust Point (point #4).  If your princess line was drawn as a curve, this straight line will not pass through #5 – don’t worry about this, #5 is a guide for the ease notch.
  • Draw a straight line from the Bust Point (point #4) to the waist line (point # 2).  This line should pass through point #3.
  • Draw a line from the waist (point #2) to the hem. This line should pass through the hip balance notch, point #1.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 5

We will be creating pattern piece #2 in two steps; first creating a pattern piece, which is then cut and spread. Instead of doing this in two steps, it can be done in one step, which is shown in the Armhole Princess Line instructions.  The end result is easier may be easier to understand with the two-step process, the one-step process saves time when you know what you are doing.

Put the block back on the paper to create pattern piece # 2 – the side seam piece.   Leave enough room between the pattern pieces to add seam allowance.
  • Trace the block from the hemline at dart leg B around to the first dart leg of the side seam.
  • Mark the bottom side seam dart leg (indicated by a red arrow).
  • Put your pencil through the following holes to mark the paper underneath: #4 (Bust Point), #6 (hip-line), #7 (waistline) and #8 ( bottom ease notch point).  (Don’t mark #9).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 6

  • Put your pencil on the Bust Point and pivot the block counter-clockwise until the side seam dart is closed.
  • Finish tracing the block from the the side seam dart to the shoulder design line.
  • Put your pencil through hole #9 (top ease notch point) to mark the paper underneath.
You can put your block aside.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 7

  • Draw a straight line from the shoulder to the Bust Point (point #4).  It won’t pass through ease point #9 as we have pivoted the block.  Remark point # 9 on the line just drawn – shown on my image by the short red line. (You could redraw your bust mound circle if you want to be precise).
  • Draw a straight line from the Bust Point (point #4) to the waist line (point # 7).  This line should pass through point #8.
  • Draw a line from the waist (point #8) to the hem. This line should pass through the hip balance notch, point #6.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 8

  • On pattern piece #2 (Front Side), draw a line from the Bust Point to where the side seam dart was; back in Figure 5 you marked this on the paper by extending the dart leg.
  • Now you can cut out the pattern pieces.  (When making an actual pattern, you would add seam allowance, which I’m not doing in these examples).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 9

  • Cut along the line made in PP#2.
  • Pivoting the top piece on the side seam, open up the pattern at the Bust Point.  Open up for 0.25-inch for a B-cup, and up to 05-inch for a DD cup.
  • You will need to put paper underneath and tape the cut pieces to secure them.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 10

We have finished using pivoting to close the darts in the waist and add volume to the hem.  You would need to follow the same steps for the Skirt Back. If this was a pattern, you would need to add seam allowance, mark the grainline, mark the cutting instructions and etc. (Not all shown here).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 11

These are the two front pattern pieces without seam allowance. Now we have to create the two back pattern pieces.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 12

We are now going to create the pattern pieces for the Dress Back.  As we want the style-line to continue from the front of the dress to the back of the dress, we need to put them together at the shoulder, and continue the line from the front through to the back. Figure 12 shows how you match up the front and back blocks at the shoulder to make sure the style-line passes through the shoulder at the same point.  It is essential that the front block style-line needs to meet at the back dart, because the back dart needs be incorporated into the style-line. Now in this case (the image), the style-line almost, but not quite, meets the dart leg. With your block, depending on where you drew the style-line in the front,  you might find that the front style-line meets the back part way through or in the middle of the dart.  In this case the back dart needs to be moved so that the style-line flows correctly through the shoulder. Now the sensible thing might have been to draw the style-line on the back first, then draw the front style-line to match, however, when you first begin to make patterns you may not think of this and have already made the two front pattern pieces. Rather than starting again we will move the back dart. In the following steps we will first trace the ELD completely and reposition the dart first, then create the pattern pieces.  This is more work than tracing each pattern piece individually from the block, allowing space for seam allowance in between the pattern pieces.  This means we will have a little more work; we will need to cut out the pieces, then stick them onto another pieces of paper to add the seam allowance.  (If you don’t understand this, see the article: Why Draw Design Lines on the Block? for clarification).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 13

As with the Dress Front block, we are going to leave out the side seam dart; we don’t want it very close fitting in the waist, and leaving this dart out means we get a bit of extra ease.
  •  Trace around the block except for the shoulder line (shown in blue).
  • Mark the Dart points in the main dart (shown with red dots); you should have holes drilled in these places on your block, for putting your pencil through and marking the paper underneath.
  • Mark your hip-line (shown in blue).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 14

Remove the block and place it aside.
  • Draw in the waist dart legs.
  • Draw a line from the neck point to the shoulder point (shown as a dashed red line).
  • Draw another line parallel to the first one, 1/8-inch above it (shown as a dashed blue line).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 15

  • Take your Front block and line it up at the shoulder:
    • at the neck point, the front block should touch the red line, and
    • the style-line drawn on the front block should touch the blue line.
  • Where the steeliness on the front block touches the blue line, make a mark. (Shown by a black cross).
You can put the front block aside.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 16

  • Draw a line from the neck  to the cross you made on the upper line; the line drawn is shown as a black arrow, and where the line ends is marked by point A.
  • On the upper line Mark a dart 0.5-inch wide from from point A.  Where the dart finishes is point B.  Mark the half-way point of the dart – half way between A and B. (The dart width is shown half red and half blue so the half-way point can be clearly seen).
  • Draw a line from the mid-dart-point to the waist dart point. (black dashed line).

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 17

  • Measure down on the mid-dart guide line that leads from the shoulder mid dart point to the waist dart.  Measure 3-inches from the bottom line (light red in the image), and mark the dart point.
  • From the dart point draw a line up to point A – the left dart leg.  Measure that line.
  • Draw a line the same measurement as (dart point to A), drawing up from the dart point up to the other side of the dart.  It will pass point B; label the end point C.
  • Draw a line from point C to point D at the shoulder.  (Point D is on the bottom line, marked in red).
See the next two images (Figure 17b and Figure 17c) to see how the front shoulder style-line now matches up.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 17b

From the neckline to the front style-line – meets the back dart.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 17c

Moving the front block; matching from the style-line to the armhole.  The shoulder lengths are correct.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 18

We will now finish off the back two pattern pieces.
  • Draw the style-line for Pattern Piece #1 from shoulder dart leg A, through the waist dart points E, F and G.
  • From G draw a line straight down to the hemline; this line is parallel to the CB line and at right angles to the hemline.
  • Finish off the style-line line for Pattern Piece #2; from shoulder dart leg C down to the shoulder dart point, and from waist dart E to I, and from I to G.

Instructions (Princess Line – Shoulder) – Figure 19

  • Mark the notch points (shown in red).
As mentioned before, tracing the whole block then creating the pattern pieces means that when you cut down the styleline, you end up with no seam allowance on that side of the block. (In this case, I have not added seam allowance to the pieces in the image.  However, I could have added seam allowance on all sides except where the styleline needs to be cut.  You will need to add some paper underneath both pattern pieces at that seam line to add the necessary seam allowance).
  • If this was a pattern then all cutting instructions, grainline etc., needs to be written on each pattern piece.

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