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(Drafting) Dress Pattern #4: 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.


  • Empire Line dress with square-ish neckline and neckline band.
  • Contrasting neckline band and waistband.
  • High square waistband.
  • Skirt falls from above the waist.
  • Front pockets.
  • Square skirt with gathers in waist.
  • Fully lined.

To see what this dress looked like in real life, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Flat & Details

  • The Bodice Front has darts in the side seam and waist.
  • The Bodice Back has waist darts.
  • Contrasting neckline band and waistband.
  • Waistband is square.
  • Skirt falls from 4cm above waist.
  • Skirt front has pouch pockets.
  • Very slightly A-line (almost square) skirt with gathers in the waist.*
  • Total hem area is 58 inches (148 cm).*
  • Fully lined.

* The reason that the skirt of this dress is only slightly A-line with a hem area of 58 inches (15 inches more than the block) is that the same amount of fullness that has been added to the hem has been added to the waistline.

Block/s Used

This dress has a waistline (or high waist) seam, and I will use the Two Dart Bodice Blocks to create the bodice pattern pieces.  I will be creating the skirt pattern pieces without a block.  My blocks have the following information already marked on them: Contouring & the Empire Line.  You will need an understanding of what these are and have them marked on your block in order to follow along.

I am showing my personalized blocks rather than the standard size 14 that I use for general instructions, as this is the actual block I used to create my pattern.  Because they are m personalized blocks they may look a little odd if you are accustomed to using or seeing standard blocks.

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 basics of patternmaking, the principles under the Principles menu, and have the Empire Line and contour markings on your block.

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.


I initially wanted this dress to have gathers in the waist (which is what my concept design shows), but in the end I changed the waist gathers to darts which end up looking like dart pleats.  I decided to try lining my dress differently to the way I usually do it and the result was a disaster. (As in the dress looks OK on the outside, but the inside and zip finish is dreadful).

However,  I really, really like this dress. It’s currently my favorite.  If I were to remake it, I would use a soft denim (that didn’t need lining) with the contrasting waistband and neckline made from a different patterned fabric.

In the image the waistband looks strange because the weight of my hands in the pockets is pulling it down at the sides.

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

Andersonrise from 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright of original (photo) image: andersonrise / 123RF Stock Photo

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