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(Drafting) Dress Pattern #1: Information

Instructions for Drafting This Pattern

The information covering how to draft this sewing pattern is contained on a number of pages – see the menu – these pages these follow on from in each in the menu order. The page you are currently on contains just the description of the garment.

Note on Drafting Patterns

You can follow along and practice patternmaking using free Third Scale Blocks, or you can draft the pattern full size for yourself.

If you do not have a custom block, you can find instructions for how to draft them here: Drafting Blocks.   How to take measurements are covered on these pages: Measuring for Blocks.

If you would prefer to buy a set of Standard Blocks or Slopers, you can buy them on the Purchasing Blocks pages.  Bodice Blocks are $12, Skirt Blocks are $5, Pants Blocks $8 and a Complete Set costs $20.00.  These blocks come in sizes 6 – 22, and you can find a comprehensive list of the measurements for each size in the Measurements for Downloadable Blocks page.


  • Sleeveless dress with sweetheart neckline.
  • Empire line* with 8cm waistband under bust.
  • Flared skirt.
  • Fully lined.

To see what this dress looked like in real life, see Outcome & Notes further down the page

* This dress is a Empire Line as it has a cut just under the bust, but it is not the Classic Empire Line; the waistband is not fitting and it does not have a slope from front to back.

Flat & Details

  • The full dart value on the Bodice Front is in the waist, converted to gathers.
  • The Bodice Back waist dart value is also converted to gathers.
  • Front neckline depth is  5-in (13cm).
  • The back has a boat neckline with a depth of 3-in (8cm).
  • Wide waistband –  3 in (8 cm).
  • Waistband is square (same width at bodice edge and skirt edge), making the dress loose in the waist.
  • Invisible zip in CB; 20 inches (50cm) long.
  • Flared skirt; the hem width = 110 inches (280 cm).
  • Fully lined.
  • Interfacing on the lining of the waistband, front and back bodice.

Blocks Used

I am using the Sleeveless Bodice Blocks (1-Dart Block Front), instead of the standard Bodice Blocks because they have the width of the block reduced, the armhole raised a little, and the back shoulder dart removed.  I am using the 2-Dart Skirt Block to make the flared skirt.

My Sleeveless Bodice Blocks also already have the Empire Line markings noted.  Instructions on how to do this are found under the Elements Menu > Stylelines pages, click on this link to go to the Empire Line page.

I am showing my personalized blocks rather than the standard size 14 that I use for general instructions; this is the actual block I used to create my pattern, as I am creating the dress for myself (as with all my patterns).

For instructions on how to create personalized blocks to fit your individual figures, see the relevant pages under the Making Block Menu –  Making the Bodice Block Set and Making the Skirt Block Set.

Third Scale Blocks are available for download, so you can follow along and practice patternmaking theory without making the pattern full-size. Click on the link provided to be taken to the Third Scale Blocks page.  Before trying to make these patterns, even third scale, you should have a good understanding of the theory in the Principles Pages on this website.

Plan of Action

If you are just starting out making your own patterns, it helps to first outline a Plan of Action rather than just diving in.  The plan of action consists of looking at the Flat and any specification and making notes about what needs to be done, such as:

  • determining many pattern pieces the design requires
  • listing the pattern pieces
  • making notes on what needs to be done for each pattern piece, or groups of pattern pieces (where relevant)
  • doing any necessary calculations (e.g. how much needs to be added onto each pattern piece at the hem area)

Basically, you want to make sure you study the design and have everything you need to do laid out so that you don’t overlook or forget anything.

You then refer to these notes when creating the pattern pieces.

My plan of action may be helpful if you are following along; you can see an overview of what I am planning to do.

How many pattern pieces?

The Flat gives the necessary information for the external pieces, but you also need to think about the  internal pieces such as lining,  facing, interfacing etc.

There are 10 Pattern Pieces for Dress 001.  As it is fully lined, some pieces are the same for the fabric and the lining, and in the case of the waistband, the same for the fabric, lining and interfacing.   The skirts lining is the same as the fabric with one difference; the lining is about 3 inches shorter than the fabric.  For this reason I’m making separate pattern pieces for that lining.

  1. Bodice Front
  2. Waistband Front (also for lining & interfacing)
  3. Skirt Front
  4. Bodice Back
  5. Waistband Back (also for lining and interfacing)
  6. Skirt Back
  7. Skirt Lining Front
  8. Skirt Lining Back
  9. Bodice Front Interfacing
  10. Bodice Back Interfacing

Notes/Plan of Action for creating Pattern Pieces

Now in this section keep in mind that I’m walking through my thinking process.  Although I am showing you images; these actions generally haven’t happened – they are just in my head at the moment. I’m showing you  the images so that the points make sense.


Although the is an Empire Line on this dress, it is not the standard Empire for which I have markings on the block; I will have to make some changes.

In the image for the POA Bodice I have removed the contour markings that aren’t relevant so that it is easier to see the essential information.

First I will make my notes of what I need to change, then below I will go through how I’ve indicated this on the image.

  • Make changes to the Empire Line markings to attach square waistband (rather than shaped midriff).
  • The low front neck requires contouring.
  • Sleeveless: if using basic Bodice Block, need to make adjustments. (Not relevant for me but if you were using your basic Bodice Block you would need to make these adjustments also).

Refer to the image:

  • The green lines in the blocks at the top of the image show the standard empire line marks.
  • The red lines in the blocks at the bottom show the changed EL markings, to attach a square waistband rather than the sloping and close fitting Empire Line midriff.
  • The blue shaded portions on the bottom blocks shows the gape darts that needs to be moved into the waist dart.

Now you may be wondering why I have two different circles indicating my bust mound on my block.  The larger circle is my actual bust mound and I use this for a loose fitting garment.  The smaller one results in a higher tighter EL style.  I decided to go for a closer fit with this dress, and my using the smaller circle.


The waistband is square, i.e. the same width at the waist level as it is at the under-bust level.  It  is 3 inches (8cm) wide.

  • Need to measure the block at the under-bust/Empire Line level and add some ease to get the width of the waistband.
  • Will need to make an adjustment to my skirt to increase the waist measurement so that it is the same measurement as the waistband.


  • Need to increase the waist measurement to match the waistband measurement.
  • Need to create a flared skirt from my skirt block, with a hem area of 110 inches (280 cm).
  • The lining is the same as the skirt but shorter – as shown by the orange shading in the Pattern Pieces image at the top of the page.


I do not want (or need) interfacing on the whole Bodice Front and Bodice Back lining pieces – I will create the interfacing pattern pieces as I would facing, as shown by the orange shading in the Pattern Pieces image at the top of the page.

Outcome & Notes

This shows the original concept drawing, plus the final garment.  If you scroll down further, there are also some notes on how I would make this dress differently if I were to remake it.

Credit for the Stock Photo I used to create the Vector Croquis on this page:

Andersonrise from 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright: andersonrise / 123RF Stock Photo

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