It’s back! How to draft a basic bodice block is back! Last week, I posted a how-to on how to draft a front bodice block (click here to see) and I was surprised to see how many people were interested in such a topic. I was sure I was the only geek who would be interested in such a thing (I have memorized the formula. How sad!). My post was even featured on Stitching Spotlights on the blog A Fashionable Stitch (click here to see).
I planned this feature to be monthly but since there was so much interest, I will keep going with it. With that said, today I will show you how to draft the back bodice block so that you have your front and back block patterns. But don’t you dare cut your muslin yet! When the sleeve pattern is drafted, adjustments to the front and back armholes may be needed. Also, the pattern needs to be trued and shapes need to be evaluated (i.e. neck, armhole, waist). These will all be the subject so follow up posts so stay tuned!. Plus, taking a week to ruminate over each step will help you understand why each mark was made and what each step means. This, in turn, will make you a better pattern maker as well as a better evaluator of fit.
First, we must measure and record a couple of measurements. I apologize and admit that I glossed over how to measure a human figure or a live model (as oppose to a form) in my last post. Since accurately measuring is crucial to achieving a good block, I took more time (and sketches and words) to explain how to properly measure.
What is worn while measuring is very important. Take your measurements while wearing a pair of leggings, workout pants, or any tight fitting and thin pair of pants and a bra that you most commonly wear. Draw or mark all critical points such as shoulder line, shoulder tip, armpit, side seam line, CF line, etc. with a permanent marker or other pen (I will show you how to find these points below). The points are needed for several steps and you don’t want to be guessing where each point is for each step.
Stance and breath is also important while measuring. Be sure to stand upright and on a flat surface, with feet slightly apart and weight distributed evenly. Also, breath normally while measuring as any large inhales or exhales can distort measurements.
How do you draw or establish CF or CB? Use the hollow at the front of the neck and the prominent bone at the nape of the back of the neck to draw a line plum to these points.
Circumference measurements – neck width, waist arc, bust arc, back arc – are tricky to measure. All can be measured in two ways. The first way, the textbook way, is to take the circumference measurement and divide it by four. My problem with this is that front and back widths can vary from person to person and front and back widths are not the same. Some people have a larger tummy than others, making the front waist measurement disproportionally larger than the back waist measurement. My solution to this problem is to establish a side seam and a shoulder seam (with a permanent marker) and then measure arc and width measurements. When taking waist, bust, and back arc measurements, add 1/8″ ease to each for ease. Like I have said before, 1/8″ doesn’t seam like a lot but it equates to 1/2″ in the round.
Waist, back, and bust measurements are easy to measure but you may be wondering how to measure front and back neck width. To measure these points, tie a chain/tie/elastic loosely around the neck, allowing it to rest at the neck base. Then measure from CF neck (hollow at front of neck) to shoulder seam and along curve for front neck width and from CB neck (prominent bone at nape of back neck) to shoulder seam and along curve for back neck width.
Lastly, dart placement is a standard measurement – ¾ less bust span. Easy enough!
With that said, measure and record the following measurements. I included a diagram for even easier reference.
1. Full length
2. Center back length
3. Shoulder slope
4. Across shoulder
5. Back neck
6. Waist arc
7. Side seam length
8. Back arc
9. Across back
10. Shoulder length
A-B: Full length
A-C: Across shoulders, squared from A
Square a line down 7” from C. This will be a guideline for drawing armhole
B-D: Center back length
Square a line out 4” from D. This will be a guideline for drawing neckline
B-E: Square a line out from B equal to waist arc plus 1 ½” (for dart)
E-F: 3/16” squared down from E (on B-E line)
B-G: dart placement, measured out from B
G-H: 1 ½”
G-I: ½” G-H
B-J: Side seam length (on B-D line)
J-K: Square a line out from J equal to back arc plus 1/8” for ease. It may not seem like a lot but 1/8” on front and back pattern at this point with be ½” in the round.
L-M: ¾” squared down from L. This will become dart point
Draw dart legs by connecting point M with points G and H and extending line down 1/8” at each point (see sketch). After, draw a curved line from point G to B and point H to F using a curved ruler
B-N: Shoulder slope with N falling on C guideline
A-O: Back Neck
Draw a line from N to O. If this measurement does not equal shoulder length plus ½” for dart, it is okay to extend or shorten the line accordingly
Square a line down from O to D guideline and label P
P-Q: ½” with line at a 45 degree angle from P
Using a curved ruler, draw neckline with line touching points D, Q, and O
O-R: ½ O-N
With a ruler touching points R and M, draw a line 3” down from R and label S. This will be shoulder dart point
Mark T by measuring ¼” out from R (on O-N line towards neck – see diagram) and square up 1/8”
Connect T with points O and S
Mark U by measuring ¼” out from R (on O-N line towards AH – see diagram) and square up ¼”
Making sure T-S and U-S are of equal lengths (adjust as needed), connect U with points S and N
Draw a line from K to F
K-V: ½” down from K on K-F line (this will become bottom of armhole. It is somewhat standard that armhole should be ½” – 1” below armpit)
D-W: ½ of D-J plus ¾”
W-X: Across back plus 3/16” for ease (plenty of room to raise arm up and in front of you)
Using a curved ruling, draw armhole with line touching points N, X, and V. Armhole should be somewhat straight from shoulder tip to mid-armhole and then scoop under to meet SS. Make sure that line is at a 90 degree angle when it meets SS.