How To Draft A Basic Bodice Block (without darts)

Here is a simple step by step guide to drafting your basic bodice block without darts.


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A. Introduction

Today, you will learn how to draft a dartless basic bodice block (without darts). This is an easy method of drafting a bodice block as you do not have to worry about adding darts. I will cover how to draft the back and the front bodice blocks.

The basic bodice block without darts is generally used to make loose fitting garments. This type of block is a foundation block that can be adapted and developed in flat patternmaking to create endless designs for both woven and stretch fabrics.

So many drafting methods require you to take so many measurements when drafting a bodice block and this can make the drafting process become more complicated. Moreover, some of those measurements recommended are usually easier to achieve on a mannequin or body form but a lot more difficult to achieve accurately on the human body.

Hence, here at Pattern Academy, we try to simplify the drafting process by using minimum number of measurements which will be strategically applied to calculate and obtain other necessary measurements needed to achieve a good personal fit

My drafted pattern and top I made from it.

Here I show you images of the basic bodice block without darts, I drafted using the method I will be teaching you today and photos of the top I made with it. I used a Nylon/Spandex All-way Stretch Fabric for making this top. However you can also make it using any woven fabric e.g cotton, linen, cotton blend, sateen etc. The drafting method includes adjustments made to prevent the garment riding up at the front.

Basic bodice block dartless
Basic bodice block dartless

B. The 6 Basic Measurements Needed For Drafting The Basic Bodice Block (without darts)

1.Neck circumference is around the base of the neck.

2.Bust circumference is the fullest part of the bust.

3.Hip circumference is the fullest part of the hip.

4.Shoulder width is from one shoulder bone to the next and is measured at the back.

5.Back Shoulder to waist length is measured at back, from base of neck to waist.

6.Back shoulder to hip length is measured at back, from base of neck to waist.

Note: All the circumference measurements should be taken exact without any ease.

C. Example Measurements

1.Neck circumference: 15 inches.

2.Bust circumference: 37 inches.

3.Hip circumference: 43 inches.

4.Shoulder width: 15 inches.

5.Back – shoulder to waist length: 16.25 inches.

6.Back – shoulder to hip length: 25 inches.

D. Calculations To Obtain Other Necessary Measurements Needed

Armhole depth line: Bust circumference divided by 4.  E.g., For bust 37 / 4 = 9.25.

Neck width: Neck circumference divided by 5. E.g., 15/5=3.

Shoulder slope: Shoulder width divided by 10. E.g., 15/10=1.5

Essential Tools and items for Patternmaking

Here are the tools that are essential for patternmaking.

Note: fractions and decimals will be used in this tutorial interchangeably hence, ‘fractions into decimals conversion table’ have been provided and you can download it below.

Fractions Into Decimals Conversion Table

E. The Drafting Process

Part 1 – The Back

We will be drafting half the back.

a. The main body
Step 1:

Start by ruling a top line on your pattern paper (this will be your basic shoulder line) mark A1 in the right hand corner.

Step 2:

Centre back line – square down from your basic shoulder line at point A1 to B the full length of back shoulder to hip length e.g., 25 inches.

Step 3:

Armhole depth line – mark the mark the armhole depth line from A1 to C (1/4 of bust measurement) e.g., 9.25inches (9 ¼ inches).

Step 4:

Back bust – square across from point C to D for the back bust that is ¼ of the bust + 3/8 inch ease, e.g. 9 ¼ + 3/8 = 9 5/8 inches.

Step 5:

Waist depth – mark waist depth A1 to E using the back shoulder to waist length eg. 16 ¼ inches.

Step 6:

Waistline – square across from point E to F a measurement of back bust (C to D) – ¾ inches e.g., 9 5/8 – ¾ inches = 8 7/8 inches.

Step 7:

Hip line – square across from B to G1 a distance of ¼ hip + 3/8 inches e.g., 10 3/4 + 3/8 inches = 11 1/8 inches.

Step 8:

Draw the side seam by connecting D to F and F to G1.

Step 9:

Measure up from G1, ¾ inches to mark point G.

Step 10:

From point G connect with a smooth curve to mid-point of B to G1 e.g. at 5 9/16 inches.

Step 11:

Mark midpoint of D to F and measure in ¼ inch. Reshape from the ¼ inch mark to point D and to point F.

b. The back neck curve
Step 12:

Mark shoulder width A1 to H1 – half shoulder width e.g. 7 1/2 inches.

Step 13:

Mark A1 to A with neck width e.g., 3 inches.

Step 14:

Mark back neck depth A1 to L – ¾ inches standard measurement. You can increase up to 1 inch for a much fuller or extra-large figure. But for most average sizes ¾ inches is ok.

Step 15:

Complete rectangle A1 to L to K1 to A where;

L to K1 = 3 inches, K1 to A = ¾ inches.

Now draw the back neck curve guidelines:

Note: Drawing these guidelines and points help ensure a uniform neck curve always for every draft.

Step 16:

Connect A to L and mark midpoint as L1.

Step 17:

Connect L1 to K1 and mark midpoint as K.

Step 18

Draw back neck curve connecting point A, K and L in a smooth curve ensuring right angle is maintained at least 1 inch to point L.

The back armhole
Step 19

Mark same distance of half shoulder width from C to I1 on the CD line.

Step 20

Connect H1 to I1.

Step 21

Mark back shoulder slope – 1/10 of shoulder width = 1.5 inches.

Step 22

Measure midpoint of H to I1 and mark as point J1.

Step 23

From J1 go in 3/8 inch and mark as point J.

Step 24

Connect H to A for shoulder seam. Note: Measure and record the distance of the shoulder seam (you will need this when drafting the front block).

Now draw the back armhole curve guidelines:
Note: Drawing these guidelines and points help ensure a uniform armhole curve always for every draft.
Step 25

Connect from J1 to D and mark the midpoint as D1.

Step 26

From D1 connect to I1 and mark midpoint as I

Step 27

Create back armhole with a smooth curve connecting point H, J, I and D

The back block is now completed. Next we draft the front bodice block.




The Front

The main body

We will be drafting half the front

Step 1

•Start by Ruling a top line on your pattern paper. This will be your basic shoulder line.

•From the edge of the paper measure and mark in at 3 inches, (this is 1 inch for button placket and 2 inches folding for the button placket). These measurements can be more or less as desired. Mark A1 to A2 – 1 inch this is the button placket and A2 to A3 – 2 inches, this is the folding for the button placket.

Step 2

•Centre front line – square down from your basic shoulder line at point A1 to B the full length which will be same as back shoulder to hip length + 3/8 inch e.g 25 inches + 3/8 inch = 25-3/8 inches.

•Draw lines of the same distance from A2 and A3 as shown.

Step 3

•Armhole depth line – mark the armhole depth line from A1 to C (1/4 of bust measurement) e.g., 9.25 inches (9 ¼ inches).

Step 4
Step 5

•Waist depth – mark A1 to E using the same as back – back shoulder to waist length eg. 16 ¼ inches.

Step 6

•Waistline – square across from point E to F a measurement of front bust (C to D) – ¾ inches e.g., 10 inches – ¾ inches = 9 ¼ inches.

Step 7

•Hip line – square across from B to G1 a distance of ¼ hip + 3/4 inches e.g., 10 5/8 + 3/4 inches = 11 3/8 inches.

Step 8

•Draw the side seam by connecting D to F and F to G1.

Step 9

•Measure up from G1 firstly 3/8 inch and then ¾ inch to mark point G. So in total, measure up 3/8 + ¾ = 1.125 and mark point G.

Step 9
Step 10

•From point G connect with a smooth curve to mid-point of B to G1 e.g. at 5 3/4 inches.

Step 11

•Mark midpoint of D to F and measure in ¼ inch. Reshape from the ¼ inch mark to point D and to point F.

The Front Neck Curve
Step 12

•Mark shoulder width A1 to H1 – half shoulder width – ¼ (we reduce by ¼ inch to account for shoulder being narrower at front) e.g. 7 ¾ inches – ¼ inch = 7 ½ inches

Step 13

• Mark A1 to A with front neck width= Back neck width – ¼ inch e.g., 3 inches – ¼ = 2 ¾ inches.

Step 14

•Mark front neck depth A1 to L – which will be front neck width neck width + ¼ inch e.g., 2 3/4inches + ¼ inch = 3inches

Step 15

•Complete rectangle A1 to L to K1 to A where; •L to K1 = 2 3/4 inches, K1 to A = 3 inches.

Now draw the front neck curve guidelines
Step 16

1.Connect A to L and mark midpoint as L1.

Step 17

•Connect L1 to K1 and mark 1/3 from L1 as K.

Step 18

Draw front neck curve connecting point A, K and L in a smooth curve ensuring right angle is maintained at least 3/8 inch to point L.

The front armhole
Step 19

•Mark distance of half shoulder width from C to I1 on the CD line. E.g 7 ½  inches

Step 20

•Connect H1 to I1

Step 21

1.Mark front shoulder slope that is 1/10 of shoulder width + 3/8 inch and mark point H eg, 1 1/2 + 3/8 = 1 7/8

Step 22

•Measure midpoint of H2 to I1 and mark as point J1.

Step 23

•From J1 go in 5/8 inch and mark as point J.

Step 24

•Measure the distance of the back shoulder seam as recorded from back block and mark point H.

Now to draw the front armhole curve guidelines.
Step 25

•Connect from J1 to D and mark the midpoint as D1.

Step 26

•From D1 connect to I1 and mark 1/3 point from I1 as I.

Step 27

Create front armhole with a smooth curve connecting point H, J, I and D.

Basic Bodice Block (without darts)

F. Conclusion

In conclusion, fold in the ‘Folding for the button placket’ and trace the neck curve.

Having completed the block go ahead and trace out on a fresh piece of paper and apply seam allowances throughout.

Suggested seam allowances:

½ inch for the side seam, armhole, and shoulder seam.

3/8 inch for the neck.

¾ inch for the hem line.

You can now use this pattern to cut out on muslin for a trial version.


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