(Drafting) Top Pattern #1A: Step-by-Step Instructions

There are only 2 pattern pieces that will be drafted below:

  1. Bodice Front
  2. Bodice Back

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 1

Bodice Front – Draw the Neckline & Armhole

  • Mark the depth of the neckline. The  is 2.95 inches | 7.5 cm.  This depth does not require a gape dart for me.
  • Mark in from the neck-point out on the shoulder line for 1.58 inches | 5 cm.
  • Measure the width of the shoulder strap: 2 inches | 5 cm.
  • Draw the neckline and the armhole, using a French curve. You may need to move the french curve and draw a couple of lines then blend them together.
  • When drawing the neckline, make sure you consider the flow-through for the whole-block (shown by the line on the transparent block)


  • The lines I am drawing on my blocks are thick and red for the purposes of illustration.  You should draw your lines in pencil; you can then erase them, or leave them there for reference.
  • If you prefer to keep your blocks clean, you could just trace the blocks onto paper and then draw the neckline on the paper.  Remember that you somehow need to check the flow through at the shoulders (see Image 2).

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 2

Bodice Back – Draw the Neckline & Armhole

Using the Bodice Front (lining it up against the shoulder of the Bodice Back)

  • Using the front block as a guide, mark the placement of the shoulders on the back block.
  • Draw the neckline and shoulder line, making sure there is a smooth flow-through from front to back.
  • Make sure the Back neckline will flow through the whole-block. (No dips or valleys at the CB; unless that’s the style you are aiming for!).

Again, you will need to use a French Curve to get a nice curve, and you may have to draw a couple of lines and blend them together.

Note that you may have to adjust your front neckline curve at this stage.

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 3

Trace the Blocks and the Markings

  • Trace around the Bodice Front and Back onto paper, making sure you have/leave enough room to add seam allowance.
  • Mark the side seam dart and dart points (you should have holes in the block at the Bust, Dart points, etc, so you can put a pencil in to mark the paper  underneath).
  • You will of course have to draw the curves of the armholes and necklines after you remove the blocks.

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 4

Fill in the details

  • Draw the side seam dart legs
  • Draw the necklines and armholes with a French curve, using the same section as you did when you drew them on the block (you can check it against the design lines on the block).  Note that you could also have used a tracing wheel to trace the design line before moving the block; using a tracing wheel will weaken the block.
  • Mark the grainlines parallel to CF & CB

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 5

Adding the ease ease to the hem/hip-line.

  • Mark out 1 inch | 2.5 cm from the hip-line at both front and back side seams.
  • Redraw the side seam line by using your block (shown in the image as semi-transparent).  I am redrawing the side seam from the side seam dart down (front and back! – the back block has the notch point).  This does create some more ease not only in the hip, but in the waist and up to the bust.  G

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 6

Draw the elastic guidelines on the pattern.

  • Measure up from both the front waist and back waist for 2.36 inches | 6cm. Mark that point.
  • Measure up a further 1 inch | 2.5cm and mark a second point.
  • For the back, draw a horizontal line from those points to the CB seam.
  • For the front, angle the lines up; I wanted the gathering to finish up a bit higher in the CF, just under my bust.  Since I know my bust mound (for a tight fit) is 7.5cm, I measured down from the bust point for 7.5 cm and draw a line from the side seam marks to touch that point (the top elastic line) and continue to CF.

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 7

Add seam allowance

  • Add 0.58 inch | 1.5cm seam allowance to the shoulder, the side seam and the hem.
  • DO NOT add any seam allowance to the neckline or armholes; they will be finished off with bias binding.
  • You can mark where the seam-line is for the neckline and armholes by drawing the stitching line 1cm in from the edge (shown by the red dashed line).

The yellow shaded area is the original pattern, before adding seam allowance; you can see no seam allowance has been added to the neckline and armhole.   If this is confusing, see underneath Figure 7 for an photo of a garment finished off with bias binding, where the bias shows on the outside of the garment.  The width at the shoulder is 2 inches | 5cm, but that 2 inches INCLUDES the bias binding.

Instructions Top 001a – Figure 8

The pattern is now finished; only 2 pieces.

  • Make sure you mark the grainline.
  • Extend the dart legs and elastic guidelines to the edges of the garment.
  • Mark cutting instructions: Cut on Fold for both pieces.
  • Label and notch.
  • Cut out the pattern pieces.
  • After cutting out, make sure you walk the pieces at the side seams and the shoulders; make any adjustments necessary. (e.g. if one side seam is slightly longer than the other, split the difference, etc).

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