How to Draft the Bodice Front (Superceded, Archived)

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 Instructions menu. The shape of yours may end up looking quite different.  See below for how my block differs in shape to this standard block. Final Bodice Front with 2-Darts, Size 14

Comparison: My Bodice Block Front

This is what my block, using my personal measurements, looks like.   This is to show you that if the shape of your block ends up looking quite different to the one I am making, it doesn’t matter (as long as you are using your correct measurements, of course!). This is the point of making your own block: it will reflect what your body looks like. Maria's Bodice Front 2-Dart Block, for comparison

Bodice Front Figure 1

Draw a rectangle:
  1. Height of rectangle: From A up to B = Full Length Front.
  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.
(For this example: Height = 17.5 inches, Width = 8.5 + 1.5 = 10 inches) *As I have explained in various places on my website, this is the Upper Bust Ease.  You will end up with about 5 inches ease at the armhole and approx 3 inches ease in the Bust. Plotting the Full Length Front and Upper Bust measurement points

Bodice Front Figure 2

  1. Draw a line to the left of the rectangle, parallel to the line C to D:
    • A-Bust-Cup:0.63 inches from the line D~C (between 0.63 & 0.87)
    • B-Bust-Cup: 1.25 inches from the line D~C
    • C-Bust-Cup: 1.88 inches from the line D~C
    • D-Bust-Cup: 2.5 inches from the line D~C
    • DD-Bust-Cup 3.14 inches from the line D~C
  2. Label this line E as shown.
Important: Make sure you use the Bust Cup Sizes as they relate to patternmaking, not your bra size. (For these instructions I will use the B-Cup line, so you will not see the other lines in the images from Step 3. However, YOU use the line relevant to your Bust Cup.  You will end up with a bigger or smaller dart.) Bust Cup Line drawn to the left of the rectangle

Bodice Front Figure 3

  1. Center Front Length: From A, on the A~B line, measure and mark the Center Front Length measurement.  At this point, draw a line (about 3 inches) inwards.  Label this line F.
  2. Across Shoulder:From B, on the B~C line, mark the Across Shoulder measurement.  At this point draw a line (about 4 inches) down.   Label this line G.
(For this example, the measurements are: Center Front Length = 14.52 inches, Across Shoulder = 7.63 inches). Plotting the Center Front and Across Shoulder points

Bodice Front Figure 4

  1. Shoulder Slope Measurement: Draw a line, measuring up from A to the line marked G. Label this point H.
  2. Shoulder Length: Draw a line, measuring up from point H to meet the line B~C.  Label this point I.
  3. Neckline Guide: Draw a line from point I to meet the line F.  Make sure the line is at right angles (squared) to the Shoulder Length Line.
  4. Write CF on the Center Front line.
(For this example, the measurements are: Shoulder Slope = 17.31 inches, Shoulder Length = 5.08 inches). Plotting the points for the Shoulder Slope and Shoulder Length measurements

Bodice Front Figure 5

  1. Front Armhole Depth Measurement: Measure down from C on the C~D line. Label this point J.
  2. Side Length Measurement: Draw a line, measuring from point J to meet the line E.  Label this point K.
  3. Armhole Guide: Draw a line at right angles to the J~K line at the J~K intersection – about 2 or 3 inches long.
(For this example, the measurements are: Front Armhole Depth = 8.33 inches, Side Length = 8.06 inches). Plotting the points for the Front Armhole depth and the Side Length

Bodice Front Figure 6

  1. Bust Depth Measurement: Measure down from H on the Shoulder Slope Line (H~A) and mark this point with a cross or a dot.
  2. Bust Span Measurement: Measure the Bust Span from the Center Front Line (A~B) at the level of the Bust Depth Point you just made.  It may pass beyond the H~A line.  This is the Bust Point; mark it with a circle.  (You will pierce a hole through the cardboard at this Bust Point circle).   You can also label it with BP if you wish.
(For this example, the measurements are: Bust Depth = 10.25 inches, Bust Span = 3.75 inches). Marking the Bust Depth and Bust Span measurements

Bodice Front Figure 7

  1. Across Chest Placement:Measure the distance from the line F down to the BP line and divide this measurement by 3.  Using this total, measure down from F and label the point L.
  2. Across Chest Measurement: Add 0.25 in to the Across Chest Measurement.  Measuring across from L, at right angles to the CF line, and label the end point M.
(For this example, the measurements are: Across Chest Placement Point: @ 2.38 inches down from F, Across Chest = 6.76 + 0.25 = 7.01 inches). Marking the Across Chest Placement and Across Chest measurement

Bodice Front 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.
  3. Side Seam Dart Placement: Measure down from J and label the placement point N.
  4. Draw a line from N to the Bust Point.
(For this example, the measurements is: Side Seam Placement = 2.36 inches.  See the Preliminary Information pages for details of where to place your side seam dart). Drawing the neckline and armhole curves, plus the side seam dart placement

Bodice Front Figure 9

We are going to open up the side seam dart now, and for that, you need either (a) some tracing paper, or (b) a small piece of cardboard that will fit under the triangle shown.  The image shows the tracing option and the tracing paper is yellow so it can be seen more easily.
  1. Tracing: Mark the points N, K & BP on the tracing paper, then (you can take the tracing paper off) use a ruler to draw the lines BP to N and N to K.  Once you have drawn the lines, put the tracing paper back on and double-check that is is correct.  On the tracing paper, label the point N as O and label the point K as P.
  2. Cardboard: Place a piece of cardboard underneath the block cardboard – so that is under the N ~ K ~ BP triangle.  Using an awl, pierce through these three points to the cardboard below.  Remove the cardboard and draw the triangle shown by the three puncture points.  Cut out the triangle (being very accurate), and use this cardboard triangle instead of the tracing paper in the next step.
Tracing part of the drafted block to insert the side seam dart

Bodice Front Figure 10

  1. Draw a line: underneath the D ~ A line,  3/16 inches underneath and parallel to it. This is indicated by a dashed blue line in the image. Label this line Q.
  2. Pivot the triangle: Using an awl or something sharp (so that it is held firmly), hold down the tracing paper at the Bust Point, and pivot the paper/triangle, until the bottom of the triangle – Point P – touches the line Q.
  3. Pierce Holes: Holding the paper firmly in place, move the awl and pierce holes through the tracing paper at points O & P.
Pivoting the triangle to insert the side seam dart

Bodice Front Figure 11

  1. Remove the tracing paper.
  2. Draw lines from the BP and the (hole punched by the awl) point O.  Label O on the cardboard (it was previously marked on the tracing paper, which has been taken off).
  3. Draw a line from Point N to the (hole punched by awl) point P.   Label P on the cardboard.
  4. Draw a line straight down from the BP to the line Q. This mid-waist dart line should be at right angles to the line Q.  Label the end of the mid-dart line R.
  5. Measure from CF on the line Q across to the point P.  We need this measurement to work out the different between what we need for the block (waist measurement + ease) and what is there at the moment.  The superfluous amount will be removed either in a waist dart, or, if you have a small waist, most in the waist dart and the rest of the side seam.
Finishing off the side seam line after side seam dart insertion

Bodice Front Figure 12

  1. Work out the waist measurement needed for the block:  (Waist Measurement + 1 inch ease) ÷ 4.   In our example: ( 28 + 1) ÷ 4 = 7.25 inches.
  2. Measure from Q to P on the Q line.  In our example: 9.93 inches ( 9 15/16 in).
  3. Calculate what is superfluous:  9.93 – 7.25 = 2.68 inches.  (2 11/16 in)
If the amount left over is 1.75 inches or less, it is taken out in the waist dart.  If it is more, then the waist dart should be 1.75 inches, and the rest is taken off the side seam. In our example, because the remainder is 2.6 inches, the waist dart is 1.75 inches and the remainder, .85 inch, is taken off the side seam. (For this example, the measurements are:  Waist = 28 inches, Waist Arc = 7.25 inches, Q to P = 9.85 inches, superfluous = 2.68 inches. ). Waist measurement calculation to finish off the waist

Bodice Front Figure 13

  1. Label the Waist Dart points S & T on the line Q.
  2. Draw lines from the BP to S and the Bust Point to T. (The lines need to end on the Q line, not the A~D line).
  3. If you need to take some off the side seam, measure across from P on the line Q and label the point U.  If you do not need to take any off the side seam, you can move to Figure 14.  You will not need to mark points U or V on your block, you will continue labeling from point W.
  4. Draw a line from the new side seam from point U to O.  This new line from U to O will be longer than the original P ~ O line. The original P ~O line is part of the side seam and it is the correct length, so we need to make an adjustment to the new time so that the side seam length stays true.
  5. Measure the original line P to O.  Using this measurement, measure up on the U ~ O line and mark.  It should fall a little short of O.  Label this new point V.
Finishing off the waist dart and side seam

Bodice Front Figure 14

  1. Redraw the line from the BP to V, making it the same length as BP to N.
  2. Measure the distance between the dart-width points N and O, and label the mid-point W.
  3. Draw a (dashed) line from BP through the point W and extend it out until it reaches the original side seam line (J to K).
  4. Draw the outline of the block:
    • the center front length A to the line F
    • the neckline curve from F to I
    • the shoulder length from I to H
    • the armhole curve H to J
    • the side seam from J to U through N and W and either O or V
    • the waist curve from U to A through T, R & S.
For details on the drawing the waist curve, see the page Waist Curve. Completing the outline of the block

Bodice Front Figure 15

The darts need to end some distance before the Bust Point.  Referring to the table Placement of Dart Point from Bust Point (see the menu to the right):
  1. Measure from the Bust Point along the side seam mid-dart line (BP to W), and mark the Dart Point X.  In this example, X is 0.88 inches from the BP.
  2. Draw the dart legs from X to N and X to V (or O if you did not need to take some off the side seam).
  3. Measure from the Bust Point, along the waist mid-dart line (BP to R), and label the Dart Point Y. In this example, Y is .75 inch from BP.
  4. Draw the dart legs from Y to S and from Y to T.  Note that these two dart legs need the be the same length.  If the line from the BP to the mid-dart point R is at right angles to the waistline, they should be identical.  Check that they are the same.
Drawing in the dart points, finishing before the Bust Point

Figure 16: Your Bodice Front is finished!

Your block is now 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 at the Bust Point and both Dart Points, using an awl or another sharp implement.
  4. Notch the dart legs at both the waist and side seam.
  5. Mark the grainline.
  6. Mark the CF.
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. Marking and labeling the final 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.


54 Responses

  1. Hi is there a formula to calculate the Bust-Cup?

    I am trying to figure out how much you would need to add to the line you draw parallel to A-B line for larger cups than those listed. I am actually a M cup… Yes M…yes bras go up that big..yes naturally no implants. I am assuming 8.18 inches. I worked this out by adding .63 inches to each bra cup size (DDD,G,H,I…M) until i got to M. Do you think this is accurate?

  2. Hi there,

    Don’t use your bra cup size. Bra cup sizes are determined by the difference between your under-bust and your bust measurements. For patternmaking it is the difference between your Upper Bust and your Bust. To give an example: My bra cup size is DD/E (or sometimes DDD/F) cup when buying bras (5-6 inches difference between my underbust and bust) , but for patternmaking it is D because the difference between my Upper Bust and Bust is only 4 inches. (When I put on weight and my bust increases, my upper bust increases minimally but not proportionally).

    So in answer to your question – you do add .63 inches per ‘cup size’, BUT…. this is patternmaking cup size, and is quite different to bra cup size.

    Could you tell me the difference between your Upper Bust and Bust measurements? Then I’ll confirm where you draw the line parallel to the A~B line.

  3. This is so interesting. I have a large bust (difference between upper and full bust at the moment around 10cm). I have tried so many sloper making instructions, but they all ended up with a huge armhole and far from fitting. In the end I had concluded that I probably should just make a sloper with using my upper bust measurements as a full bust and then do an FBA. But I never got around to it, I was so burned out with trying to make a pattern. Yours are the first instructions that do not assume one has a B cup bust and actually show drafting for various cups sizes right away. I will have to give this a try.

  4. Hi there. This may sound funny, but I am glad I am not the only one who had the same problem. I felt sure there must be others that had the same difficulty as I did. I tried instructions after instructions (Aldrich, Joseph-Armstrong, Gilewska, Knowles, Community College class….) and kept on getting that large armhole problem, or a variety of other issues. (The whole story, which is very long, is in the About Me section of my website). I so understand your comment about getting burned out. I got so frustrated and felt like giving up so many times. I also have very square shoulders and a bit of a rounded back which complicated things further.

    You say that you came to the conclusion that you should “make a sloper with [your] upper bust measurements as a full bust and then do a FBA”. I also came to that conclusion…. If you want to see that my method is exactly the same as doing this, except doing it in one step instead of two, see this article:

    I hope you do end up making a block that fits. I am so happy I persevered and can now make tops and dresses that fit well. I still get a thrill out of putting on a top/dress with a well fitting armhole and that fits properly across the bust and the shoulders.
    Please let me know how you go.

    PS: After drafting this email and I looked at the Large Bust Adjustment article, I see that the explanations are not clear and it needs rewriting. Maybe hang off reading it for a week or two until I I have time to redo the article.

  5. I am very interested in communicating further. I am working at the moment on adjusting a McCalls “sloper pattern” and I am not very far of, but still am not there. I can not buy most RTW (at least not so they fit nicely) because of the large bust and also I really do not have money to invest in more patterns, so I very much want to have a basic sloper that I could morph into fitting garments (at the moment I really just want to focus on a fit and flare summer dress – once I get the bodice to fit, I would love to have both darted and princess lined one – then I know I can make variations for skirts – that is the easier part). Thank you again for all this work.

  6. Hi! This is a WONDERFUL resource! I’m having trouble finding the side dart placement information. The guide says to refer to page iii but there’s no page iii in the book.

    Thanks in advance!

  7. Hi there,

    Yes, I see I have neglected to include that information in the booklet. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I will fix that when I can but it probably won’t get to it for another week or two. In the meantime, that information is on the website. If you look at the menu at the top of this page under ‘Preliminary Information’, see the link to ‘Side Seam Dart Placement’. Remember it is only a guide – a place to start.


  8. Hi there,
    I am glad you find it useful. I would appreciate it if you could share with others who might be interested.

  9. Hi!

    I was looking over the directions and noticed that there is a lot of ease added. How does this look on the finished product. I’m trying to make two bodices: one fitted and the other looser. I was planning to adjust the ease for the looser one but wasn’t sure how to go about it since there is so much ease already added.

    Thank you

  10. Hello there Nuha

    First I want to make sure you understand that although there is [b]1.5 inches[/b] added for ease when drafting the block, totalling 6 inches – this ease is in the [b]Upper Bust[/b] . In the Bust there will be about [b]4 inches ease[/b]. [i](Most Bodice Drafting Systems will end up with 2 inches more ease in the Upper Bust than in the Bust, it’s just not generally brought to your attention).[/i]

    Also, I want to make sure you understand that this 4 inches ease in the bust (and 6 inches in the Upper Bust) is for a block to draft Bodices With Sleeves. You do need a certain amount of ease to be able to move your arms forward and up comfortably. If you create a Sleeveless Block from this (Sleeved) Block, you will reduce the ease in the Upper Bust/Bust.

    Having said all that, if you want to reduce the ease, then you can do so. If you want (for example) only 2 inches ease in the bust, then reduce the Front Block by 1/2 inch and the Back by 1/2 inch, which will total 2 across the whole block. [i](Although this reduction is at the Upper Bust, it will be close enough to 2 inches).[/i]

    Scroll down to the final three images in this article to see how to reduce the ease in the block:
    [i](See Images 7, 8 & 9).

    [b]If you are confused about the 1.5 inches in the Upper Bust, see the following articles:[/b]

  11. Hello Susie,

    Yes there is. Have a look at the menu here in Principles/Manipulating Darts. There are instructions for making the 1-Dart from the 2-Dart, and making the 2-Dart from the 1-Dart.

    The actual pages:


  12. Hi Maria,
    Thank you for these clear and helpful instructions. The 3 questions I have are:

    Fig 4: The shoulder slope line starts at cf waist to meet line G, but at what angle should it meet line G? Or is there another measurement to mark a point on line G that it should intersect?

    Fig 5: How do I know where on line E the JK line should intersect?

    Fig 8: To place the side dart I need to measure down from J but I don’t know what length to use to measure down.

    Thanks for your help.

  13. Hi Maria, thanks for your painstakingly explicit instructions and very well done. I have a question. What if after pivoting the trangle, point P falls on line Q at a point shorter than line AD. I’ve gone over my measurements several times but it still falls at this point. My side length is 5 3/4 as my waist is rather high. Is there some adjustment I can make or did I go wrong somewhere.

    Many thanks.

  14. Hello Beth

    Figure 4 – The Shoulder Slope Line
    This follows on from Figure 3. In Figure 3 you mark your across shoulder measurement and draw a guideline down. If you then take your shoulder slope measurement (Figure 4) and start measuring from the CF Waist, there is only one point it can touch on that guideline from Figure 3. (See image attached. If my shoulder slope is 46.8cm, the ruler will touch one point and only one point on that guideline if I swivel the ruler so that measurement touches the guideline). I am using the metric system here, but if you follow the concept the measuring system doesn’t matter).

    Figure 5 – Your Side Seam Measurement.
    Same principle as above. If you take your side seam measurement and start measuring from J, there is only one point on the J-K line it can touch.

    Figure 8 – The Placement of the Dart
    Just before Figure 8 it says “(For this example, the measurements is: Side Seam Placement = 2.36 inches. See the Preliminary Information pages for details of where to place your side seam dart)”
    If you look at the Bodice Block menu, there is information on what measurements you can use as a guide.

  15. Hi there,

    Sorry, I’m not really sure I understand the question.

    Your waist does not have to end up being from A to D, if that is what you mean. See the image attached. (My Block after I open up the side seam dart).

    If that’s not what you mean, let me know.

  16. Hi Maria,

    Many thanks for your response. What I mean is, in pivoting the N-K-BP triangle to the Q line, the point P falls further inward than the point D, such that the QP line is shorter than the line AD, unlike in the Figure 11 where point P falls almost directly under D on the side seam. In other words the line falls short of my upper bust measurement and therefore short of the side seam. So, I’m asking if I should extrapolate this line till it falls at the seam which would be at a level lower than the line Q?

    I hope the question is clearer.

    Many thanks.


  17. Hi again,

    The QP line does not have to equal the AD line. You just want the triangle to touch the Q line. If the ‘why’ is difficult to understand, you may be better off drafting the 1-Dart Block:

    Then using the 1-Dart Block to draft the 2-Dart Block:

    It might make it clearer.


  18. Hi Maria,

    I have a question.
    In figure 10 here, while pivoting & meeting the line Q ( line below & parallel to AD line) as compared to the video ( ) the side seam point at waist is only pivoted till the AD line and later extended to the below parallel line.
    Doesn’t this cause the side seam dart width to vary? As in the former case, the dart is actually being opened up (eg: 2inches) and in the latter case the lines are just being extended, hence no further opening of the dart and would be lesser than the 2 inches as in the above case.
    I understand that the side seam dart will open up slightly more when the side seam length is adjusted due to the added side seam waist dart, but my question is on the initial dart opening width.
    Hope my question made some sense.
    There’s another difference between the 2 links talked about above with the waist curve.
    On this page the curve touches the AD line, whereas in the video the curve touches the R1R2 line ( line below & parallel to AD line). I read in one of your posts that there were some changes to be made to the video, but am not sure what exactly were you talking about then & now I can’t find it.
    Pls also help as to how much below the center of the dart line needs to be extended at the waist dart for the dart curves to meet.
    Out of the methods shared In both the above 2 links, which one should be followed?

    Also if the pivoted point while falling on the line Q falls towards the left of line CD, is that ok?

  19. Hi Madhubani,

    Yes, you are right, my written instructions and my video instructions are different in regards to extending the side seam line below the waist. My video instructions are correct. My written instructions need to be revised.

    Basically the bit that is added below the waist seam is for truing purposes. It’s just thinking ahead and doing part the truing as you are drafting,rather then leaving it until the end. So if you know that having straight waist lines means that when you put the front and back together at the side seams you get a sharp angle, you solve the problem as you are drafting and add a fraction to the side seam in order to get the curve you know you want. (You may need to fix this curve when you check it at the end, it may not be perfect!).

    So you could leave the waist line completely straight (see image 01) and add the fraction to the side seam afterwards. When you then put the front and back together at the sides seams (see image 02) you see that you get a sharp angle instead of smooth curve. Now you can draw in a curve and add the necessary amount to to the side seams (see image 03).

    When you draft patterns, you ALWAYS check the flow through before finalizing the pattern. Even when you have thought ahead and added a bit because you know that you need, you still often need to shave a bit off or add a bit to create a smooth curve when a smooth curve is desirable.

    So back to my instructions… we draft the block using the actual side seam measurement, and then we add a bit to the side seam for truing purposes, in addition to those original measurements.

    Does that make sense?

    In these written instructions of mine what happens is that the fraction that is added for truing purposes is added into the side seam dart, which is not strictly correct. BUT, BUT, BUT, if you are using a block that you drafted to your measurements, either way it’s not going to make a lot of difference. Really it’s not. Even if you add that 1/8 inch into your dart.

    It’s not really realistic to expect or aim for a perfect fit; most women put on a few pounds throughout the month. A lot of women find their breasts swell up at ‘that time of month’, some retain a bit of fluid, others retain a lot of fluid. Most women weigh less in the morning and more at night. The vast majority of women find their weight fluctuates and so a ‘perfect fit’ is just not achievable. 1/16 of an inch or 1/8 an inch added to the side seam dart or the side seam length is not going to make a difference between a well fitting and ill-fitting garment. Remembering that when you buy ready-to-wear clothing, it is drafted to fit a range of measurements (i.e. there are 2 inches difference between sizes) If you have made your block for your ‘exact’ measurements then your patterns, your side seam, yoru dart …. can be a fraction out here and there and you really won’t notice.

    Regarding how far darts lines need to go below the waist for waist curves; this is something you really should practice and test . Try something, close the dart and see if you get a good curve. Make the necessary adjustments. I learned I so much by just testing, trying, practicing, doing. You can always test with scraps of fabric if you find folding paper problematic.

    Not sure if I answered all your questions, let me know if I didn’t.


  20. Hi Maria,
    Looking forward to your response on the above post.
    Besides that in Bodice Front Figure 14
    When we redraw the line from the BP to V, making it the same length as BP to N, what do we do if it doesn’t meet at point V. its a very slight difference, pls see attachment.

  21. Hi you are doing great job. Really appreciate you for sharing this information. Best source for customized pattern making. I Love your YouTube channel as well. Thank you so much dear.

  22. Hello Madhubani

    It’s a been a while since you asked this question but I just haven’t had time to answer comments for the last few weeks…

    Hopefully you’ve worked it out by now, but if you haven’t:

    Using the value of the line length BP to N (lets call that value X), measure from BP towards point V, stopping when you reach the value of X, name the point V2. Redraw the side seam from point V2 to the waist.


  23. Hello Sanika

    You are welcome. Thanks for your positive feedback and thanks for taking the time out to post a comment.

    I haven’t been posting/writing anything at all for the last couple of months, but hope to be able to get back to it soon.

  24. Hi there, no matter how many times I re-measure myself, I am still having a problem with Bodice Front Figure 12. The measurement for “x” is always smaller than my actual waist measurement “y”. I cannot subtract y from x, as it is always a negative number. Meaning that on my pattern the waist is too small, there is no way I can add a waist dart. Do you know where I am going wrong? I cannot figure it out!

  25. Hi Kamilla,

    Sorry I haven’t had a chance to answer earlier.

    I need to clarify your question as it relates to Bodice Front Figure 12. You mention subtracting y from x.

    Do you mean your ((waist measurement plus 1 inch ease) divided by 4) is more than the measurement Q to P?

    If you could upload a photo of where you are up to on the block and include a list of the measurements you are using, I will be able to help further.


  26. Hey! Your website is just wonderful. I want to ask if one has no difference between upper bust and bust would they still have to add side seam dart? If yes then how?

  27. Hello Amina

    If there is no difference at all between your Upper Bust and Bust then there is really no need for a side seam dart, but make sure you are measuring correctly. (I know that’s easy to say… I really do want to make a real-life video on measuring but at the moment I just don’t have the time or a model).

    Out of curiosity – what, if any, issue do you have with ready-to-wear clothing in the bust area?

  28. Hi! I had a question: When I draw the rectangle from figure 1 it is really narrow and won’t work with the rest of the pattern. I also drew the example measurements and those were also too narrow.

    I followed the measuring for blocks steps to get a full length front of 19,7 inch and a upper bust of 20 inch. If I divide the upperbust by 4 and add 1,25 I only get a width of around 6 inch. Which is way too small, especially because the the across shoulder measurement in figure 3 are more than 6 inch.

    Do you know what I’ve done wrong?

  29. Hello Katie

    Standard practice for patternmaking is that Blocks do not contain seam allowance. You use the Block to draft patterns, and once you have finished all the drafting, you then add seam allowance to all the pattern pieces.

  30. Hi, thanks for this. Im going to use your instruction to draft my basic bodice and see how it would come out.
    I have been using Winifred Aldrich pattern book, and I’m always having problems with the armhole and sleeves meeting, it never meets, I don’t understand why she added extra 1inch to the armhole in the bodice block without adding it to the sleeve block, also, its a NO for personal measurement. I gave up on metric pattern ad the headache was too much just for the cloths to fit right. I also have problem with the shoulder slopes,where the front slope is deeper than the back, I don’t know the benefit of this as it only makes sewing complicated for me. I hope your instructions help me, I will surely try it now and post pictures of the final look. Thanks so much for your work, you are a p prayer answered for me

  31. Hello Rasheeda

    There are a number of assumptions built into Aldrich’s method; upper bust, bust cup and shoulder slope being the main ones.

    I’m unsure what you mean by the sleeve issue,as I don’t remember having a problem drafting the sleeve or attaching it to the bodice, only getting the sleeve to fit. (Though I think her method for drafting the sleeve is unnecessarily complicated, which might be what the problem is due to).

    Generally I find the standard instructions for drafting the sleeve problematic because I can’t get enough movement when I reach forward. But that is more about the ‘ideal fitted sleeve’ (minimum ease in the sleeve cap, minimum ease in the bicep) which doesn’t work for me. There’s a 3 part article under my Blog menu if you are interested:

    Regarding having a different slope for the shoulders front and back, there should be no problem with that from a sewing point of view. My slopes are different and I’ve never had a problem sewing. While you can theoretically even the difference (split the difference so that the slopes are the same), that doesn’t work for me. If you do end up with different slopes (which will depend entirely on your figure and where you decide your shoulder line is), you could try and split the difference to make the front and back the same if you want.

    The main problem in getting a good fit for your block is getting your measurements correct, and the key measurements are Upper Bust and Front Armhole Depth. The shoulder slope can also be tricky, but if you take it from waist to waist over the shoulder and check that against the individual ones, you should be able to get that right.

    I do plan on making a video on measurements, but I won’t have time for a while.

    If you have a really big problem, upload a photo of where you’re up to (the drafting of your block) and your measurements, I’ll give some help. However, I won’t do this this on an ongoing basis, time and time again, so wait until you really need it. If you do your best and you are really stuck, I will help the once. (I can’t give everyone one-on-one unlimited help).

    Good Luck.

  32. Also, I notice your comment is under the written instructions for the bodice. You are aware there are videos as well?

  33. Just finished my second toile and it is nearly perfect! And plenty good enough to move ahead in adjusting patterns which are not close fitting. Got my shoulders and back, my BP basically done! I love looking at it’s fit! Didn’t think I’d get it with just two toiles.

    Please do revise your directions to bring the ease amount closer into line with what others use (I read a comment of yours indicating you have started thinking of doing this – for anyone reading this comment and thinking it is a big negative — the extra ease is needed if you are adding sleeves). One last step I need to do before proceeding is removing 1 3/8 inch ease from the upper bodice (from BP to neckline, shoulders).

    HOWEVER, your directions were otherwise spot on! I attempted two other tutorials which just didn’t work for my particular body shape because, I think, they use one dart on the front. That absolutely won’t work for my shape. After drawing the sloper per their directions with my measurements, the outcome just didn’t make any sense. (both “tutors” modeled the product and their bodies are nothing like mine.) (Adding the second, side seam, dart later is unrealistic.)

    LOVE the pdf download, so I could have it next to my list of measurements and my tracing paper.

    Thank you for all your work. I have my eye on one of your patterns .

  34. Hi Lorraine,

    Am I right in understand when you made the toile you tried it on without sleeves and that is why there was too much ease?

    Have you watched my video on Wearing Ease? I show that the 5 inches ease in the Upper Bust is pretty standard for Bodice Block to be used with Sleeves (and most Blocks Making Instructions draft the Sleeved Block first).

    I understand though that many people may try on the toile without sewing in the Sleeves (which makes sense, in order to check the fit of the Bodice), but then think it has too much ease. I explain in the video that this can be a problem, and therefore it may make more sense to draft a Sleeveless Block first.

    I am in the process of redoing my instructions (with some changes), and in my new system people can choose to make either the Sleeveless or the Sleeves version first, as they will be drafted together.

    (My 6 Part Series on Bodice Block Essentials and my new instructions arose from needing to address this issue you raised, among a few other issues, such as my system not working so well for women with very small Bust Cups….. Alll those things should be sorted with my new system/instructions coming soon.)

    Thank you again for your support..


  35. Hi!

    Just finished making a toile and I have to say thank you so much for your guide. I have tried so many different patterns to make fitted bodices and nothing ever worked. This one was a miracle! I just have a question. In my toile, I notice there’s quite a bit of excess at the middle of the armhole curve of the front bodice. How do I alter it so it fits? Should I make the armhole curve wider? Or take it more at the side seam dart? Your advice would be much appreciated! Cannot start working on dresses!!! Thank you and hope to hear from you!

    Much love

  36. Hello Smitha

    Regarding the excess at the armhole… Is this without a sleeve? The bodice has ease for sleeve included. If you tried it on before you put a sleeve on, it will have excess ease in the armhole.

    Have you watched my Bodice Block Essential Videos? (There are 6 of them, so it would take some time to watch them all, but they include information on how much ease is in the block).

    Basically… Most Bodice Block instructions are for drafting a Bodice Block with Sleeves. This is problematic because a lot of people (quite reasonably) try it on before they put the sleeves on, and find that it has too much ease. I am refining my Bodice Block Instructions and in the process I am going to suggest people draft a Sleeveless Block first to get the fit, then add the extra ease for Sleeves.

    If this is not the case with you, could you upload a photo as an attachment so I can see?


  37. Hi Maria,

    I have followed your instructions up to Fig 10 – 12. My point P is 3″ from D. This is in turn is reducing the waistline measurement by 2.5″. How can I resolve this. I have seen from the other questions that Abimbola had a similar issue. What could be the issue here. Looking forward to your response as I really would line to draft this block especially because of it having a back shoulder dart.

  38. Hello Ncagu

    You say that Point P being 3 inches from point D is “reducing the waistline measurement.”….. I want to just check that you realise that from A-D is the Upper Bust Measurement, not the waist measurement? The shaping of the waist is done in Figures 12-14.

    I suggest you keep following the directions from Figure 13….

    If you don’t understand what I saying, my next suggestion to you would be the same as what I said to Abimbola: Instead of drafting the 2 Dart Block, draft the 1-Dart Block. That means following the instructions on this page up to Figure 7, then going to the 1-Dart Block page to finish complete the block with 1 Dart instead of 2 Darts:

    After you have finished drafting the 1-Dart Block, go to the page where it shows you how to make the 2-Dart Block from the 1-Dart Block:

  39. Thank you Maria,

    I will try again keeping in mind that AD is the upper bust measurement. I am sure that i will get it. i really appreciate your speedy response.

    Warm regards,


  40. Hi Maria
    Your instructions are invaluable and your new videos are super clear. I am eager to download the updated bodice block instructions PDF and wanted to ask if the 8-page document on this page is your final document? I see that it is labeled “condensed” and appears to be free, whereas I was expecting to pay a fee for the instructions.
    Thanks so much!

  41. Hello Lorna

    The instructions on this page and the condensed booklet are my original instructions – i.e. before I refined my instructions. These relate the original Bodice Videos I put up on YouTube more than a year ago.

    I am currently working on the [b]Pants[/b] EPUB Booklet and it has taken me a lot longer than I thought. The Bodice EPUB will be after the Pants. .

    I can’t promise (because it seems when I do a firm date I can’t always deliver), but hoping the Pants EPUB will be up by Sunday 23 May, and the Bodice booklet a week or two after that. The Bodice Booklet should be a bit quicker than the Pants because by then I’ll have sorted out all the EPUB relevant issues. (Though there is a significant amount of work involved in changing the Bodice Block graphics so they fit the dimensions of a book).

    In a nutshell… the written instructions for the Bodice is still about 3 weeks away.

  42. Hi Kat

    You take the darts legs down below the waistline so you get a smooth curve for the waistline, rather than angular lines. You also drop the side seam line below the (original straight) waistline for the same reason – when you true the front and back bodice, you want a smooth curve, not angular lines.

    [b]Dart Legs[/b]
    For an example of what I mean for the dart legs, go to the page linked below. Image 3 will show you what is would look like if you didn’t extend the dart legs below the straight waistline.

    [b]Side Seam[/b]
    Lowering the side seam line below the straight waistline is for the same reason; getting a curve when the front and back are put together. Go to this video page:

    and look at the Bodice Front Video. Fast forward to 34:49 minutes (it is right at the end, the video is 38:07), you will see the front and back placed together at the side seams for truing. If you didn’t go down at the side seam you’d end up with a very angular line from the front to the back.

    Hope this makes sense.

  43. Hi,
    how do I know the right angle to draw the side Length -line, Front? Figure 5, Step 2.

    Is there any point where to place K? Like 1inch above the waist?

    Please help.

  44. Hello Jana

    You use your side seam measurement, starting from point K.

    Where it touches the E line is point K.


  45. Hi Maria- where do I get graph paper like shown in the background of patter making to draw the pattern? Also this patter doesn’t have any mistakes that you mention even on you tube videos. Thanks

  46. Hi Alka

    As it is explained at the very top of this page, these are my original instructions which I have since refined. These instructions use the ‘Full’ Upper Bust and Bust measurements, rather than the Bust Arcs. No, these instructions don’t have mistakes in them, but there is a chance you may not get a good result – i.e. you may not get as good a fit with these instructions as you would with my newer instructions. My newer instructions (in my YouTube videos), will get a better result for more people.

    Regarding the graph paper – you will have to do your own internet search to find out where you can buy it. It is a long time since I have purchased this kind of paper which means I don’t have that information at hand.

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