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

There are 4 pattern pieces in this pattern:
  1. Bodice Front
  2. Bodice Back
  3. Bodice Yoke Front (and Yoke Front Lining)
  4. Bodice Yoke Back (and Yoke Back Lining)

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 1

Holding the blocks firmly in place:
  • Trace the Torso Front and Torso Back blocks onto paper
  • Leave enough room around the edges to add seam allowance
  • Mark all internal dart points (indicated with red dots) and any all external points such as waist, dart legs, etc (shown with green arrows)
  • Note that I have my preferred length for tops marked on the block and will transfer those as well (approx 6 inches | 17cm below waist)
Note that 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.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 2

  • Remove blocks
  • Draw in darts, waist lines, etc.  Now it may seem strange to draw the darts in and then cross them out, but that’s what I will do.  It’s generally better to do this when starting out; you can see you have considered them, but they are going to be left out and the value then used for fullness.
  • Draw in the grainlines; these could either be transferred from the block, or just draw them in parallel to the CF and CB lines.
Note:  It is a good idea transfer all markings even if you don’t think you need them, because for some reason you may want to refer to them.  While you can just place your block back down and make those markings at this stage, if/when you later do some dart manipulation, etc, it may get trickier to line things up.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 3

Draw in the front neckline:
  • My neckline depth at the CF is 4.95 inches | 12.5cm.  I will mark that point (shown by the green line).
  • My shoulder width is 2 inches | 5 cm wide, measuring inwards from the shoulder edge
  • I will draw a line down from the shoulder so that it is parallel to the armhole (shown by the blue dashed line), and stop at  5.68 inches | 14.5cm (the black cross)
  • I will finish off the neckline by drawing a line from that point (the black cross) to the CF neckline depth.

Note: I am not showing the Bodice Back for the next few images while working on the Bodice Front.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 4


  • I will smooth the corner of the neckline into a curve.
  • I know that this neckline depth requires a 0.78 inch | 2cm gape dart FOR ME.  Everyone needs to work out their unique contouring requirements.  (See Contouring in the Principles Menu).
  • Cut through the leg of the gape dart furthest away from CF, and through the bottom leg of the side seam dart; cut to but not through, the Bust Point.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 5

Close the neckline gape dart

  • Pivot the paper to close the neckline gape dart.
  • The side seam dart will increase in size.
  • Use sticky tape to tape everything in place.
  • Normally you would put some paper underneath the side seam dart and secure it with sticky tape – as per Figure 5.  However, I know I don’t need that paper there in this case as I have to move that side seam dart after the Yoke is separated from the Bodice; therefore from the next image this paper will not appear.
  • The neckline curve will need smoothing (shown by the green dashed line).

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 6

Draw the yoke design line

  • The yoke is 1.18 in | 3cm down from the neckline and marked a point
  • The yoke line starts at the upper side seam dart line
  • I have drawn a straight line from the upper dart leg to the point previously marked
  • I will now cut to separate the Yoke from the Bodice
For the purposes of illustration I am showing the yoke shaded yellow. I would not cut out the whole yoke at this stage as I still need to add seam allowance. First I will need to separate the Yoke from the Bodice and add paper at the cut line so I can add seam allowance there also.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 7

Front Yoke

  • Cut and separate the Yoke from the Bodice
  • Stick paper under the Front Yoke as shown, so seam allowance can be added where the pattern pieces were separated, OR
  • You could choose to trace out the shape onto clean paper before adding seam allowance; choose whatever work flow suits you.
  • The Front Yoke is finished except for adding seam allowance and writing instructions.   I would add .58 inch | 1.5cm seam allowance to the side seam and the shoulder, and .38 inch | 1cm to the armhole and neckline.  The pattern piece will be cut on the fold at the CF.

Front Bodice

  • Draw a line from the Bust Point through the top dart leg(shown by the dashed red line)
  • Cut out the dart entirely and discard that piece (shown shaded in green)
  • Draw a line up from the Bust Point to the yoke line. (2)

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 8

  • Cut through the line drawn up to to Bust Point, leaving a little piece attached
  • Pivot and close the side seam dart
  • Measure out 1 inch | 2.5cm at the side seam of the hemline 6.68 inch | 17 cm down from the waist
  • Redraw the side seam: I use the block and pivot it from the side seam dart  (see  Top 001B, Figure 5a).  This does add some extra ease to the waist, but it is an A-line top and that is part of the design.
  • The yellow shaded area is the finished Front Bodice Piece; the dart is not marked as it is used for gathers.
  • Measure 1 inch | 2.5 cm each side of the dart value that has been opened up (shown in bright yellow) to show the area where the gathers are limited to. (It could be spread out over a wider area).
  • Now only seam allowance and cutting instructions need to be added
  • As per the Yoke pattern piece; you can put some paper underneath the seam line where the pieces were separated and add seam allowance all around.  Alternatively you could copy out the pattern onto clean paper and add the seam allowance.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 9

Now we’re moving on to the Back pattern pieces.
  • The CB depth is 1.58 inch | 4 cm.  Measure down and mark.
  • The length of the Back Shoulder seam of course needs to be the same as the Front. Measure from the shoulder point inwards for 2 inches | 5cm.
  • Using the Front Yoke Pattern piece (fold the paper along the shoulder edge) make sure the flow-through curve is correct; no weird angles.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 10

  • Using the Front Yoke pattern piece again, mark the placement of the Yoke line for the back (it will follow through from the front).
  • Draw a horizontal line from the side seam to the CB.
  • Draw the hemline: Measure out from the side seam for 1 inch | 2.5 cm, at the hemline for this top (6.68 inches | 17 cm down from the waist).
  • Draw the side seam curve using the block, pivoting the block from the side seam notch point until it touches the mark made.  (As you did for the front)

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 11

  • Cut along the design line to separate the Back Yoke and the Back Bodice.
  • The Back Yoke is finished except for adding seam allowance and labeling, etc.
  • The Back Bodice still needs an extension added to the CB to add more ease for gathering.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 12

  • Measure out 0.78 inch | 2 cm from the CB
  • Draw a line at right angle up to the yoke design line.
  • Note section to be gathered
  • The final Bodice Back pattern piece is shown in pink
  • The Bodice Back needs seam allowance added, it needs to be labelled and notched.
See Figure 13 for all the final pattern pieces with seam allowance and markings.

Instructions Top 001d – Figure 13

  • Here are the final four pattern pieces with seam allowance
  • The seam allowance added was 0.58 inch | 1.5cm for all seams except the neckline and the armholes, which were .38 inch | 1 cm.
  • Label the pattern pieces (The Yokes and both self fabric and lining)
  • Write cutting instructions
  • Mark the grainline

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