In this tutorial you’ll make a basic bodice pattern.  From this pattern you will be able to create stunning designs by just manipulating the darts.
You will need:
  • A roll of brown paper, ruler, tracing wheel, tape measure, a yard stick. scissors, french rule, eraser, pencil.


  • (For the purpose of this tutorial I used white paper, for writing visibility)

(For the purpose of this tutorial I’ll use the bust measurement 38″ and 40″ hip)

  • 1:  Measure the paper half of the bust or hip measurement plus 2″ for ease whichever is larger with an extra 2″ for margin.

2:  Divide the paper in two which will be a 1/4 of the body measurement.  (See diagram below)

3:  Draw a line parallel to the left edge of the paper at a distance of 1″.  this is your center back line (cb)

4:  Draw a another line parallel to this line also 1″ inside of the right edge of the paper.  This is the center front line (cf).

5:  Draw a line at top of the paper  1″ from the top of paper this is the top line.

6:  From the top line measure 26″ down this will be the approximate hip line where your bodice draft will end.

7:  Divide the paper in half and draw a line down the center. (see diagram).

The Back
  • 1:  On the CB line mark point “0” 1″ below the top line.   (for bust 38″ and larger , point “0” will be 1 1/2″ down.
  • 2:  From point “0” down CB line, mark the following points, using your measurements.
  • 3:  Shoulder Line 1″ down from point “0” (fixed for all sizes)
  • 4:  Waist length (This is your neck to waist measurements)
  • 5:  Bust Line 8 1/4″ (For bust 36 – 38″ it is 8/ 1/2″ down, then 1/4″ more for every size bigger.  (ie: For bust 32″ it will be 8″ for bust 34 it will be 8 1/4″)


  • 6:  Back Line 4 1/8″ (This is always half way between points “0” and the bust line)


  •  7:  Hip Line 25 3/4″ or 9″ from the waist line.
The Front

You have already drawn a line across the waist and bust line.

Point “0” on the CF is at the intersection of the top line.  This is 1″ higher than the CB point “0”.

1:  From CF point “0” measure in 2 1/2″ draw a line down, then measure down 3″ draw  a line across (use french curve to connect and shape neck line. (see diagram)

2:  Chest line:  From the bust line measure up 1 1/2″ to determine chest line.  Draw line using measurement 1/4 of your chest measurement

3:  True bust line:  1″ below the bust line.

Shoulder Line and Shoulder dart:

a)  Measure the width of your shoulder plus 2 1/2″ for dart (ie if shoulder measure 5″+2 1/2″ for dart = 7 1/2″)  to determine shoulder point (SP) measure 2 3/4″ from top line.

b)  From your neck point measure down to the tip of your bust (nipples) this is the length of the dart.  (This dart will be modified and moved around for different designs)

c)  Take half of 7 1/2″ measurement, for center of dart and draw line to tip of bust.

d)  Next measure 1 1/4″ both sides of center and draw line meeting at tip of bust (see diagram)

e)  Fold shoulder dart to face neckline, use tracing wheel to draw line from neck to shoulder point (SP). Open and trace perforated line.  It will form a dart mouth (see diagram)

f)  To shape the armhole:  Use the french curve shaping from SP to bust line.

(Finished armhole = Top arm measurement + 4 1/2″.)

Waist Line:

1/4 of waist (ie if waist line is 30″=7 1/2″+ 2″ for ease + 2″ for dart.

a)  To determine center of dart mark directly under tip of bust on waistline then measure and mark 1″ on either side.  At CF measure down 1/4″ and reshape waistline.

b)  To shape draw line from underarm to waist.
To shape the hips use french curve to slightly curve hips.

c)  For the back bodice.  The shoulder dart is 1 1/2″, and is shaped using the same method as the front shoulder

d)  The back waist dart is 1 3/4″, follow the same as the front dart, but without the 1/4″ waist shaping.

When the draft is completed use tracing wheel and trace on to bristol board, indicating darts, bust line and waist line and seen in above diagram.

We will use this block/sloper in subsequent tutorial to create amazing designs.