How to Draft the Bodice Front, 1-Dart Block (Superceded)

Final Bodice Front 1-Dart Block These instructions are for drafting a 1-Dart Bodice Front block. There is also an option to create a 2-Dart Bodice Front – see the menu. It is unnecessary to create both from scratch as you can create one from the other.  See the article: 1-Dart or 2-Dart Bodice Front? for more information.

Example – Finished Bodice Front

This first image is what the block looks like at the end of the step-by-step instructions below, using the measurements specified in the Example Measurements page – see the Bodice Block Menu. The shape of yours may end up looking quite different.  See below for how my block differs in shape to this standard block. Maria's Bodice Front 1-Dart Block for comparison

See the Two-Dart Block Instructions for Steps up to and including Figure 7

The instructions for the 1-Dart Block and the 2-Dart Block are the same up to and including Figure-7.   There will be a link where the instructions diverge that will bring you back to this page.  o the the Two-Dart Block Instructions for common steps – Figures 1 to 7. Once you have completed the common steps, continue below from Figure 8.

Bodice Front (1 Dart) Figure 8

  1. Draw the Neckline: Using a French Curve, draw a line from Point I to meet the line F at the CF line.  The curve should go inwards about 1/8 inch from the straight line.
  2. Draw the Armhole: Using a French Curve, draw a line from H to J, touching at point M.  You may need to move the French Curve and draw two lines, blending them together.
Draw the neckline and armhole curves using a French curve

Bodice Front (1-Dart) Figure 9

  1. Calculate Waist to Dart Measurement: Bust Span minus 0.5-inch = x
  2. Using the above measurement x, measure from A on the A~D line.  Mark this dart placement point N.
  3. Measure 3/16-inch down from N, at right angles to the A~D line, and mark this point O.
  4. Draw a guide-line from point O to point K.
  5. Calculate and note the Block Waist Measurement:  (Waist Measurement + 1 inch ease) ÷ 4 = y
  6. Calculate the Waist Remainder Measurement by deducting x from y to get z.  (Deduct the waist to dart measurement from the block waist measurement to get the waist remainder).
  7. Using the waist remainder,  z, measure from K on the K~O line, and mark the point P.
Marking the remainder waist dart value In this example: Waist to Dart = 3.75 – 0.5 = 3.25 inches. |  Block Waist Measurement = (28+1) ÷ 4 = 7.25 inches | Waist Remainder: 7.25 – 3.25 = 4 inches

Bodice Front (1-Dart) Figure 10

  1. Draw a line from the BP to point O.
  2. Draw a line from the BP towards or through P, to be the same length as BP to O.  Mark the end point Q.
Drawing the waist dart legs

Bodice Front (1-Dart) Figure 11

  1. Measure from point O to point Q (dart width), and mark the halfway point R.
  2. Draw a line from the BP through R and continue for some distance (approx 1.5 inches).  Mark the end point S.  This BP to S line is the mid-dart line.
Marking the mid dart point in preparation for drawing in the final waistline

Bodice Front (1-Dart) Figure 12

We will now finish the block off by drawing in the dart legs and shaping the waist. The dart needs to end some distance before the Bust Point.  Referring to the table Placement of Dart Point from Bust Point (see the Bodice Block Instructions menu near the top of the page):
  1. Measure from the Bust Point, along the waist mid-dart line (BP to S line), and label the Dart Point T. In this example, T is 0.75 inch from BP.
  2. Draw the dart legs from T to O and from T to Q.  Note that these two dart legs should be the same length.
Drawing the curved waistline

Bodice Front (1-Dart) Figure 13

Your Bodice Block is finished. You can now:
  1. Label the block (e.g. Bodice Front, Size, Name, etc).
  2. Cut out the block shape from the cardboard.
  3. Punch a hole through the cardboard a the Bust Point and the Dart Point, using an awl or another sharp implement.
  4. Notch the dart legs.
  5. Mark the grainline.
  6. Mark the CF.
Labeling and notching the block


  • Now create your Bodice Back.
  • 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.


6 Responses

  1. Lovely tutorial Maria!. Have a question, which I hope you would answer when you get time. The constants you mentioned for drawing line-E is same as choosing different dart width for different cups isn’t it? Do you have the dart width measures for different cups? Thanks a lot for this tutorial. I will share it with as many people I know.. Have a nice day

  2. Hi Diya

    Everyone with a B cup does not have the same side seam dart width; everyone with a C cup does not have the same side seam dart width…. etc. The are various other factors that come into it.

    One obvious factor is the size; the larger the size, the larger the dart width, so a standard size 18 will have a larger side seam width than a standard size 10. BUT… there are other things besides size which affect the size of the side seam dart.

    In order to get the correct side-seam dart width, you need to draft the block as shown, using that E-line, then open up the side seam dart. The width of the side seam dart will then be what it will be* [i](and may be different widths for different people even though they may have the same bust cup).[/i]

    The attached image should show you how it’s not possible to give set amount for dart-widths for different cups. The image compares 2 blocks [b]that have the same (or almost the same) Upper Bust Measurement[/b], and it shows the side seam darts for those blocks:

    In the image:
    (1) is a D-cup in a Size 14.
    (2) is my block drafted to a C-Cup.
    (3) is the standard block (changed to white) superimposed on my block

    Notice how much bigger my C-cup side seam dart compared to the D-cup for a block with (almost) the same Upper Bust Measurement.

    So…… there is no set measurement for the width of the side seam dart for a particular bust cup.

    The other factors at play (besides size) which affect width of the side seam dart are the side seam length and the shoulder slope.

    I understand if this is a bit confusing but I can’t explain it in a paragraph or two; it would take an article with quite a few images to walk you through the reasoning. At some point in the future I might have time to write that article.

    *This page where have left this comment contains instructions for the 1-Dart Block, click on either of the links below to go to a page that shows you how to open up the side seam dart




  3. Thanks Maria for your very instructive blogs. I now understand a lot more about dressmaking.
    I have noticed that most guideline fixed measurements like the distance of line E stops with cup DD size. I wear an 32H size bra because my underbust measures 32 inches compared to my bust which is 41 inches. Can I use the figures you gave for DD cup?

  4. Hi Tenny

    Pattermaking Bra Cup sizes are different to Bra Cup sizes. I am an E in a bra, but only somewhere between a C and D for patternmaking.

    Patternmaking Cup Sizes are calculated on the difference between your Upper Bust and Bust, not your Underbust and Bust. The circumference around the chest area is seldom (if ever?) as small as the underbust circumference.

    I have an article about it, but it basically says what I’ve summarised above:

    So first check the difference between your Upper Bust and Bust measurements. If you are more than a DD, get back to me.

  5. Hello Maria
    I am very slim, almost flat chested, barely 31” bust A cup

    I noticed there was no guide for A cup in the downloadable instructions.

    Please could you advise me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *