The basic bodice block (or basic bodice sloper) along with the basic skirt block, sleeve and dress block is one of the fundamental basic patterns in fashion design. Once you manage to draft your basic bodice sloper, you will use it as a base for any design you like and it’s going to fit. By applying basic pattern modification principles like pivoting darts or adding darts, yokes, design lines, gathers, etc. you will be able to create new designs.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to draft a fitted basic block pattern. The instructions for drafting the FRONT and BACK pattern piece are described separately. The reason for this is simple: I find it easier to understand the pattern construction steps if the two parts are described individually :).

This page also contains a basic bodice block calculator that will make drafting easier for you. Based on your body measurements, it computes parts of the bodice pattern that need to be calculated. These will be shown in individual parts of the step-by-step drafting guide on this page.

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You can download drafting instructions with personal body measurements as a single PDF document.

**This page contains the following:**

**Tools and tips before taking body measurements****Taking body measurements****Basic bodice block pattern calculator****Tools you need to draw the pattern****How to draft a basic bodice pattern**

## Tools and tips before taking body measurements

If you are a beginner in creating your own patterns from scratch, I recommend marking some parts of your body before you measure yourself (or someone else). These markings will help you take the measurements more exactly. If you measure yourself, you might ask a friend to help you take measurements at your back. You will need the following:

**An elastic band*** *to mark your natural waist (the most narrow part of your waist). Marking the waist is very helpful while taking various length measurements (*see the image above*).

**Small stickers or a marker** to mark your shoulder. The beginning of the shoulder next to the base of the neck is a very important point from which multiple measurements are taken. If you use a tailor’s dummy as I do, you may also use pins (*see the image above*).

## Taking body measurements

Take body measurements according to the illustrations below. While doing so, make sure your tape measure is neither too tight nor too loose.

Do not forget to use the elastic band around your natural waist. As you measure, you can enter the measured values into the calculator below. If you do so, the taken measurements and calculated measurements for the pattern pieces will be included in the step-by-step tutorial.

### Basic bodice block pattern calculator

As you are going to draft a fitted bodice pattern a 4 cm (1 1/2”) ease for the waist and bust is entered in the pattern calculator below. A lower amount of ease would prevent you from moving in the bodice comfortably.

##### Natural waist circumference

##### Bust circumference

##### Bust divergence

##### Bust to waist length at the front

##### Neck circumference

##### Neck to waist length at the front

##### Shoulder to waist length at the front

##### Shoulder length

##### Shoulder slope

##### Armscye centre width at front

##### Neck to waist length at the back

##### Shoulder to waist length at the back

##### Armscye centre width at the back

##### Seam allowance

The amount of seam allowance is used to calculate approximate fabric consumption for the basic bodice block pattern.

We do not store, nor share any data you put into the form above.

## Approximate fabric consumption

In the image below you can see the approximate fabric consumption for the basic bodice sloper. Scroll down to follow the individual pattern drafting steps.

Downloading the document with all the images and information may take a while. **Please, be patient.**

## How to draft the basic bodice block step-by-step

First, prepare these tools:

- pencil
- sharpie
- large paper or tissue paper
- long ruler
- French curve ruler (useful, but optional)

In the instructions below, some of the lines are grey and some are black. I recommend drawing the grey lines with a pencil. These lines are mainly guidelines that will help you position individual points and parts of the pattern. The black lines are the ones of the pattern itself. Use a sharpie to draw them.

If necessary, iron the tissue paper before drawing the pattern. Never use creased or crumpled paper for drawing patterns.

### Basic bodice block BACK

On a large sheet of paper, draw two perpendicular lines. The vertical one will be the centre BACK and the horizontal one will be the waistline.

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

The vertical line drawn downwards from the dart point is the centre fold line of the future dart at the waist. It will cross the centre of the dart base you will draw in one of the following steps.

Draw according to the following formula:

——

dart width = 2.5 cm (1”)

The waist circumference with added ease has to be divided by 4 (again, because of drafting 1/4 of the whole bodice pattern). However, the dart width has to be added to this calculation, so that you can create a dart at the waist.

Draw according to the following formula:

——

j = (bust divergence – dart width) / 2

Draw the dart base under the dart point. Make sure the vertical line crosses its centre. The measurement between the centre back and the dart base marking on the left should match the formula *(bust divergence – dart width) / 2*.

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

The first part of the formula *(neck circumference / 6)* computes the approximate radius of the neck. This means the centre of the pattern to the edge of the neck. However, the shoulder beginning is located a little further from the neck, therefore extra 2 cm (6/8”) need to be added.

Start at the shoulder beginning. First, draw a curved line and then draw along the horizontal neck line.

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw the armscye: start at the shoulder beginning, pass through the “armscye” marking and finish at the “bust width marking”.

**The pattern is almost ready. Now, cut the BACK pattern piece from the fabric. Make sure there are no draglines along the back of the neckline or at the armscye. Moreover, that the centre BACK and the side seam hang nice and straight.**

Fold a narrow dart at the armscye that points towards the centre BACK of the pattern. Pin this dart.

Outline the dart legs with a pencil or marker.

Transfer the dart to the BACK pattern piece. At the BACK the dart is quite narrow and the dart legs the same length.

**Your basic bodice block BACK pattern piece is ready.**

### Basic bodice block FRONT

The steps and formulas for the FRONT part of the bodice will be similar to the ones you have followed to draw the BACK pattern piece.

On a large sheet of paper, draw two perpendicular lines. The vertical one will be the centre FRONT and the horizontal one the waistline.

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

——

dart width = 2.5 cm (1”)

The waist width of the FRONT pattern piece is the same as the waist width of the BACK pattern piece.

Draw according to the following formula:

——

j = (bust divergence – dart width) / 2

Draw the dart base under the bust apex. Make sure the vertical line crosses its centre. The measurement between the centre back and the dart base marking on the left should match the formula

*(bust divergence – dart width) / 2*.

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw according to the following formula:

Draw according to the following formula:

Start at the shoulder baginning. First, draw along the vertical line and then move towards the neckline marking.

Draw according to the following measurement:

Draw the armscye: start at the shoulder begining, pass through the “armscye” marking and finish at the “bust width marking”.

**The pattern is almost ready. Now, cut the FRONT pattern piece from the fabric. Make sure there are no draglines on the bust. Further, the dart points towards the bust apex (but ends below the apex). And, that the centre FRONT and the side seam hang straight.**

Fold and in a dart at the arsmcye. The legs of the dart should direct towards the bust apex. Pin this dart.

Mark the dart legs with a pencil or a marker so that you can visibly see them after you unfold the dart.

Transfer the dart from the bodice to your pattern.

Now, you need to true the dart legs. That means making both dart legs equally long. Prolong the shorter (bottom) leg of the dart. Make sure it is as long as the upper one and redraw the lower part of the armscye. The black dotted line on the left shows the original shape of the armscye.

**Your basic bodice block pattern is ready.**

## Working with the basic sloper

If you are just beginning with making your own sewing patterns, you might find the following publication by Adele P. Margolis useful. It will teach you how to alternate basic blocks to make your own designs (click here to read my review). This way you can turn your very simple looking basic bodice into an interesting fashion piece.

## Conclusion: drafting a basic bodice block

Drafting a basic bodice sloper might look a little complicated and overwhelming at first sight. Especially if you have to take so many different body measurements. However, if you take them correctly, drafting the pattern slowly, in a step-by-step manner, will lead you to the desired result: a nice fitted bodice.