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Sample Block & Instructions

The Sample Block is a 4-page PDF file that contains a part of a Bodice Block Set in Size 6.  It contains the Bodice Back only. It is an example of what you would get when purchasing Blocks,  it’s for you to see what is involved in making a workable Block from the download file before you purchase anything. There is a choice of two download files, depending on the standard paper size for the country you live in: A4 paper size or LETTER paper size.  It is necessary to choose the correct paper size or your printer will scale the file (shrink or enlarge) to fit the paper, and the measurements will therefore not be true. If you are Purchasing the Bodice Block Set,  the PDF file you download will have a lot more than four pages as it contains:  Bodice Back, Bodice Front B-Cup Bodice Front C-Cup, Bodice Front D-Cup & Sleeve.  The sample block contains only four pages as it is exactly that: a Sample, so that you can test out the process of sticking the pages together and creating your own block from cardboard.  You need to be aware that the larger the size, the more pages there will be in each block.

General Information

This first section has information relating to the Sample Block, including the download links.  Scroll further down for step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the Sample Block, and an example of what the end block will look like.

Why are the blocks printed on a Grid?

The Grid is to:
  • assist you to align the pages perfectly when you are sticking them together.
  • help you verify that your printer has not scaled the page when printing. If the inch squares do not measure exactly one inch, then your printer has done some Page Scaling.
  • allow you to verify that measurements of the block are the ones listed for the size.
The red lines on the grid are inches, and the grey lines are 1/8 inch. As the final Block is made from cardboard that you supply (see the Instructions below for an example), the paper with the grid do not form part of your working block. After cutting out the shape and making the necessary drill holes and notches, you can either throw the paper cut out away, or keep it to make the block again.

Why is the Grid in Inches (rather than cm?)

Given I am Australian, why am I using inches? This website is aimed at home sewers who probably have experience with Commercial Patterns. As the blocks made to the same Bust/Waist/Hip Measurements as Commercial Patterns, which are in inches, it was easier to make the blocks using inch measurements on an inch scale. The image, and therefore the grid, does not form part of your final cardboard block.

Creating a Cardboard Block from the Download

The download is printed on standard paper, and needs to be cut up and assembled.  You will need some cardboard to create the final block.  There are instructions with images further down the page on how to match the block pages together and create your block out of cardboard.

Materials Needed

Materials needed to make a (Cardboard) Block:
  • standard printer
  • paper – A4 or Letter size – to print the Sample Block or the full set if you are purchasing them. Make sure you choose the correct PDF Download option.  How many pages you will need will depend on the Block you purchase.  Detailed information about what exactly is included in the purchase, including number of pages, can be found on the individual Purchase Block page.
  • sticky tape
  • scissors
  • Patternmaking cardboard – to create a sturdy Block that you can use to make patterns (e.g. trace around and mark design lines, etc)
  • awl and notcher to mark the block (or you can just improvise with other objects)


Step-by-Step Instructions

These instructions are to explain how to put together the Sample downloads (see the blue links in the section above: Downloads.

Choosing the right Download: Paper Size (Letter|A4)

  • Choose the correct download for the paper that is in your printer. (In Australia that would be A4, in the USA it would be Letter Size).
  • Choosing the incorrect Paper Size Download (A4 if you’re in the USA or Letter Size if you’re in Australia) then scaling to make it fit through through your Printer Dialog Box will result in the measurements of the block being incorrect.
  • Choosing the incorrect paper size and not scaling may mean that parts of the block are not printed out.

Print the PDF to your chosen paper with NO SCALING.

  • The Sample Block PDF contains 4 pages: the Back Bodice Block.
  • You need to print the file on the same size paper you selected in Step 1.
  • Sometimes the PDF Print default is to Page Scaling: Fit to Printable Area, so make sure you change this and choose Page Scaling: None from the drop-down list.

3  Cut out and stick the pages together as marked.

  • There are two types of (blue) dashed lines on the Blocks: dashed lines with a scissors icon for cutting, and plain dashed lines for matching up with cut pages. Cut only along the dashed lines with scissors that indicate cutting is required.
  • Cutting both sides and trying to align two cut edges is difficult; cut only as directed as this will make aligning and assembly easier.
  • Assemble the block as per the cutting instructions:
Here is a photo of the Bodice Back stuck together:

Cut out the bodice shape

  • Cut as close to the outline as possible.

5  Stick the paper bodice outline to patternmaking cardboard

  • Make sure the paper is flat on the cardboard.
  • Apply sticky tape to the outline of the block, sticking the paper to the cardboard.  Make sure the paper remains flat.

Cut out and notch the block

  • Cut the shape out of the cardboard.
  • When you cut out the shape and cut right on the line, the paper and cardboard will separate.  If you cut all the way around, the paper and cardboard will fall apart immediately – so make sure you mark notches and drill holes before the paper and cardboard are separated. (See the two images below. It may be a good idea to make the two dart point drill holes BEFORE you start cutting, and do the notching as you go along, rather than after the whole thing is cut out).
  • Use an awl to mark the inside of the block – ie the two dart points. (If you don’t have an awl.. improvise!)
  • Use a notcher or scissors to mark the armhole and the bust leg points.

Separate the paper & cardboard

  • Separate the paper and the final cardboard Block.
  • Label the block with a texta.  Use pencil and ruler to draw the dart lines.

2 Responses

  1. I’ve just purchased the size 10 block which were exactly my measurements (even though I am a standard size 6 in Australia). The toile is huge so it seems I am a size 6 in your blocks as well. Could you please send me the size 6 front, sleeve and skirt (though the skirt looked to be very similar to my existing block so may not be needed).

    I did email and ask you if it was correct that I buy a size 10 given my measurements but didn’t get a response. If you are able to email me the size 6 block (A4) it would be much appreciated. Thanks

  2. Hi Sarah

    Sorry about that. I’ve been unwell and only answering comments occasionally. I answered a lot the other day but missed yours.

    I will send you an email in an hour or so,

    There is 5 inches ease in the Upper Bust and 3 inches in the bust, which is about par with Fitting Shells in Commercial patterns. This may be too much for smaller sizes….

    I’ll send you an email in about an hour or so.


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