How To Draft A Front Bodice Sloper: Update

slopermain-image

I cannot express the importance of a sloper. A sloper, or block, is a basic bodice, sleeve, skirt, pant, or dress pattern that is made to fit a particular individual, size, or mannequin exactly and perfectly. It has minimal darts and is usually sewn with muslin or some other light-weight cotton fabric. From this pattern, other patterns can be drafted by slashing and opening, slashing and spreading, slashing and overlapping, or other pattern manipulation techniques (unless the design requires draping, in which case the pattern is made by draping and then trueing). A sloper is also a good tool to use throughout the design process because when patterns are manipulated, shapes can become distorted  and it’s a good habit to compare the shapes of the manipulated pattern to the shapes of the sloper pattern so that the original pattern shapes are maintained as much as possible. Throughout the design process, I’m constantly going back to see that the armhole depth/length/shape is as close to my sloper as I can get it. A sloper is also a good tool to use when dealing with commercial patterns – you can compare specs and pattern shapes and adjust the commercial pattern as needed so that it is as close to your sloper as possible.

Below I show you my method, which I have used personally, to draft a sloper. My method differs from a textbook  in the amount of ease that is built into the pattern. If a sloper is supposed to be the closest approximation of your body in fabric form, why add 2” of ease at the bust?  This is what every textbook I have read suggests. A sloper should be form fitting but also moveable. The amount of ease I build into the sloper pattern gives just enough wiggle room to allow easy movement while still being fitted.

Before I move on to measuring and drafting, I have a foreword. I believe that everyone is capable of drafting a perfect sloper, no matter their size. It’s all about getting the correct measurements from the get-go and meticulous fitting (this method will give you a very good fitting bodice but fine tuning the fit may be necessary to get it to fit perfectly). This stuff is simple for me because I worked with blocks, drafting, and measurements for 2 and 1/2 years when I worked in technical design for this company (I now blog for the brand) but I was in your shoes not too long ago. You can do it. I promise!

measurements

Okay, now let’s get started.

First, we need to measure. Just like I cannot express the importance of a sloper, I cannot express the importance of accurate measuring. Ninety-nine percent of the time, reader’s questions are answered by correcting their measurements. It’s not the drafting method that is incorrect – it is their measurements.

The first steps to measuring are determining who will take the measurements and time. I highly recommend that someone measures you but measuring solo is not impossible. If measuring solo, be sure to stand in front of a full length mirror while measuring (so that you ensure the measuring tape is level while measuring). I also highly recommend setting an hour aside to take all of your measurements. Spend one hour to get accurate measurements or spend six hours remeasuring yourself and redrafting your sloper because accurate measuring was not done on the first go.

The second step to measuring is wearing the correct clothing. Wearing only undergarments will yield the most accurate measurements but if someone will be taking your measurements, it is okay to wear workout/exercise clothes such as leggings and a tight tank top. Also, make sure that you wear the same bra while measuring and throughout the sloper fitting process.

Whether you wear undergarments or exercise clothes while measuring, I also highly recommend that you mark your shoulder line, shoulder tip, neckline, bust point, armhole depth, side seam, and waist line with a marker, pen, chalk, or pins. You can eyeball all of these measurements except for shoulder tip, bust point, armhole depth, and waist line, which I will show you how to find below. This will keep measuring points consistent throughout the measuring process.

Stance and breath is also important while measuring. Be sure to stand upright, on a flat surface, with feet slightly apart, and with weight distributed evenly. Also, breath normally while measuring as any large inhales or exhales can distort measurements.

Before taking any measurements, a waistline must be defined. To find the waist line, tie a string, shoelace, tie, or whatever string around your waist – don’t tie it too tight or too loose; tie it just right – and wiggle around to let the string fall to your natural waist.

{FULL LENGTH} shoulder at neck to waist line

{CF (CENTER FRONT) LENGTH} hollow at center front neck to waist line

{SHOULDER TIP} ¼” from the end of shoulder (if you start to raise your arm, a hollow will form at the shoulder joint. This is shoulder tip – approximately)

{SHOULDER LENGTH} shoulder at neck to shoulder tip

{ACROSS SHOULDER} shoulder tip to shoulder tip – MEASURED on back – and DIVIDED by 2 (across shoulders for both front and back bodice sloper is taken on back)

{ARMHOLE DEPTH} shoulder tip to armpit (usually ½” to 1” below actual armpit). Using two l-square  rulers, arrange rulers as shown in diagram and measure. This measurement is the most often incorrectly measured measurement. Three quarters of the questions I receive are solved by correcting this measurement. Because of this, I suggest to cross check this measurement two ways. One way is to measure the armhole from shoulder tip to bottom of armhole on a very good fitting sleeveless blouse (measure straight and not measure along the curve). Another way to cross check this measurement is to compare it to ‘standard’ measurements. If the ‘standard’ armhole depth for a size 6 is 7 ¼” and armhole grades ¼” per size, use math to find the ‘standard’ armhole depth for your size. Are both of these measurements close to the armhole depth measurement taken on body?)

{BUST DEPTH} shoulder tip to bust point (bust point is the nipple. To find, poke a needle from INSIDE of bra/tank top to OUTSIDE and mark

{BUST SPAN} bust point to bust point, divided by 2

{BUST ARC} CF to bust point to armhole depth/side seam. I do not advise to measure from CF to bust point and then pivot measuring tape up to armhole/side seam because the hollow in between breasts cause the measurement to be larger/bigger, especially if your breasts are very large. In theory, this measurement should be taken from the ‘bridge’ between bust points at CF but this is very hard. So I suggest to measure from bust point to armhole/side seam and then add this measurement to bust span measurement (make sure that bust span measurement is ½ of bust point to bust point)

{SHOULDER SLOPE} CF waist line to shoulder tip. Be sure that to keep measuring tape taut and extend it straight from waist, over bust point, and to shoulder tip

{SIDE SEAM LENGTH} armhole depth to waist line

{WAIST ARC} CF to SS along waist line

{DART PLACEMENT}: bust span less ¾”

Now, let’s start drafting…

sloper1

Step 1:
A-B: Full length
A-C: Square a line out from point A equal to across shoulder
Square a line down from C equal to 10” (this will be a guideline for drawing armhole and side seam)
B-D: CF length minus 3/8”
Square a line out from D equal to 4” (this will be guideline for drawing neck)

sloper2

Step 2:
B-E: Shoulder slope with E falling somewhere on C guideline
F-E: Shoulder length with F falling somewhere on A-C line
Square a line down from F with line falling somewhere on D guideline and label G (make sure that F-G line is perpendicular to F-E line)
G-H: ½” diagonal line that is at a 45 degree angle between F-G and G-D lines
Using a curved ruler, draw neckline with line passing through points F, H, and D. It is okay if line does not follow F-G exactly near the intersection of the shoulder seam at neck. Front neckline will connect with back neckline and it’s more important that the neckline is a smooth curve from CB to CF or vice versa. But it is important that necklines intersects CF at a 90 degree angle.
E-I: Armhole depth
I-J: 2”
Square a line out 5” from I and J (this will be another guideline for drawing armhole and side seam)
E-K: ½ of E-I
Square a line out from K to A-B line and label L
K-M: ½”
E-N: Bust depth (on E-B line)
O-P: Bust span, squared from CF and passing through point N

step-3

Step 3:
O-Q: Bust arc. Draw a line from point O to point P, then pivot line upwards to J guideline and mark Q
(this is where most people run into problems. O-Q line should pivot upwards and if it doesn’t, two reasons are the cause. The first is the armhole depth. If the armhole depth was measured incorrectly – most overestimate measurement – this will cause line to pivot downwards. If this is the case, carefully remeasure armhole depth and be sure to cross check measurement as described in measuring section. The second has to do with petite vs. normal height. If your torso is petite, then the guidelines need to be reduced to accommodate for a shorter bodice. This drafting method was designed for a person of ‘normal’ height.’ If this is the case, shorten I-J line to be 1”)
P-R: P-Q plus ½” with R falling somewhere on I guideline
R-S: Side seam length with line passing through point Q
R-T: ½”

sloper-4

Step 4:
B-U: Dart placement squared from B
U-V: 3/16” squared down from U
Draw a temporarily line (you may change line later) from S to V
To find point W, subtract B-U from waist arc measurement. With this measurement, measure from point S on S-V line and mark W
Draw a line from point P to point V
P-X: P-V (it is okay if line extends past point W because left and right dart legs must equal. This is where you may have to change S-V line)
T-Y: 1/8” squared out from T (the diagram does not show this step because drawing 1/8” is very hard to see/draw). This is the ease added to bust. It may not seem like a lot but 1/8” ease on front and back will give ½” in the round
Using a curved ruler, draw armhole. First, draw the top of the armhole with curved ruler touching points E and M and then draw the bottom of the armhole with curved ruler touching points M and Y. After, eyeball and true the shape. The armhole should curve slightly inward from shoulder seam to mid-armhole and then scoop to meet the side seam. The armhole should intersect side seam at a 90 degree angle. This will ensure that front armhole transitions well to back armhole and that the base of the armhole is flat. But it is okay if armhole does not intersect shoulder seam at a 90 degree angle. Just like neckline, front armhole will connect with back armhole at the shoulder seam and it is important that it transitions well. 

Lastly, true the waistline by folding the dart closed (making sure dart intake is pressed towards CF) and redrawing waistline so that it is a smooth line from side seam to CF. The waistline should intersect side seam and CF at a 90 degree angle.

tags: Pattern Making Comments: 191

191 Comments
  1. hannah

    I’m going to make a point to make one of these as soon as I get through a few of the sewing projects I have piled up (and since I have free time now, I should be able to finish them fairly quickly). I’ve bought several books on drafting, I’ve tried the sloper method in all of them, and none of them have worked because invariably they make some arbitrary design assumption and don’t explain how they got there. This might be the first time I’ve seen a method that makes sense, so I’m pretty excited about it.

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Thanks Hannah. I really hope that the revisions/updates cause clarity and not more confusion. I guess I’ll have to see!

      Reply
  2. Louise Gilbert

    This has been my Holy Grail for a while, in fact it was the reason I found your blog in the first place. 2013 will definitely be the year I complete this, I find I repeatedly make similar changes to similar commercial patterns and I want a definitive sloper to make my own patterns from. I made one and designed a Tudor dress for my daughter and now feel more confident to do it for myself, as you say its the measurement stage that needs the most care so I’ll have to talk nicely to my hubby! http://hereswhatididtoday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/tudor-lady-in-waiting.html

    Reply
  3. sallieforrer

    Wow, Maddie. Just WOW!!! You’ve really outdone yourself this time! I have to tell you that I just came back from the holidays and my blog readers are out of control, so I told myself I’d just skim through and wouldn’t leave long comments – but this has literally stopped me in my tracks!
    The thorough explanation of the measurements is really priceless. Every time I’ve drafted a sloper in the past couple of years the armhole was always screwy – I’ve never tried your squared version and it makes so much sense!! Thank you!! For all your hard work and dedication! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Sally, first of all, how was your road trip to Pennsylvania? Did you enjoy my neck of the woods?

      I’m glad you appreciate this post. The measurements are KEY. Ninety nine percent of the time, IT’S THE MEASUREMENTS that are off, NOT THE METHOD!

      Reply
  4. Bailee

    I’ve made a sloper before but times have changed and I need to make another. One thing that I’ve never understood is when using the sloper to create a pattern with design features how do you factor in wearing/design ease? Or is the sloper really just used to compare to patterns to make sure things like the arm scye still fit you how you want?

    PS-this is amazing! Thank you thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Depending on the design you’re creating will determining how much wearing ease you will add. If you’re making a fitted wiggle dress, then very little ease is added, but if your making a shift dress, more ease is added. Make sense?

      Armsyce is definitely an important part of the sloper. If you can draft an armsyce that fits YOU beautifully, it is a GREAT template to have to compare manipulated and commercial patterns to.

      Reply
  5. Ginger

    I was JUST about to pin your older tutorial for my 2013 plans board– perfect timing! I’m so excited to give this a whirl!

    Reply
  6. Natasha Estrada

    “If a sloper is supposed to be the closest approximation of your body in fabric form, why add 2” of ease at the bust?”

    So true ease needs to be proportional not absolute. Less for a smaller size more for a larger so even if 2″ was true it would only be true for one size over. I did used to get in trouble for overfitting my bodice block though

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Natasha – are you saying that larger sizes need more ease, even if it is for a block? Is 2″ of ease ever warranted in a sloper?

      Reply
      • Natasha Estrada

        2″ is an awful lot. Maybe you might need that for a plus block I am not sure but definitely ease is not a set amount. My brain is fuzzy right now but I’d pretty such the relationship between bust size and ease required is probably similar to the relationship between the radius of a circle and the circumference. They don’t increase/decrease in a 1:1 ratio.

        So yeah basically the 2″ fits all is BS. At FIDM they promoted draping the block vs drafting it so the ease added was subjective/intuitive. I DO need a new set of blocks for my bipedal dress form so what I could do is drape half then draft half according to the tutorial to see how the differ.

        Reply
        • Natasha Estrada

          Afterthought: I think the theory behind adding wearing ease to the block from the get-go is to avoid having to add more when you convert your basic bodice to say a jacket block. However the books tell you to add more ease at every step so eventually you end up with an unwieldy amount.

          Since too much ease is a major problem for home economists then it makes sense your sloper should have less since it’s suppose to be solving your problems not creating them.

          Reply
  7. Houseofpinheiro

    you are a star, I love your drafting posts!

    Reply
  8. Louisa

    Beautifully done, Maddie! However, I will still need to do some fitting adjustments such as my forward narrow sloping shoulders, right?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Louisa – yes, but I would first draft a sloper and then fit it to accommodate your sloping shoulders. Does that make sense?

      Reply
  9. Amy

    great post, Maddie. I’m sure this will help so many! I have a set of basic slopers I use to compare (mostly height) measurements against other patterns. Even if I never use it to draft anything it really helps as a “map”–especially with my shoulders and bustline.

    Reply
  10. Angela

    What a great tutorial. I prefer draping a sloper, but this method is probably closer to matching your exact measurements. Thanks for these tips!

    Reply
  11. Leslie

    Hi Maddie, thanks for this! Any plans to post a skirt block tutorial?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I’m posting updates to the back and the sleeve sloper drafting posts in the next coming weeks and I will consider continuing to the skirt. The only reason I hesitate is because the skirt sloper draft is VERY simple. Have you ever tried it? If not, I suggest you take a stab at it. I think you’d be able to accomplish it, assuming your measurements are correct.

      Reply
      • Leslie

        I haven’t tried it but I have read instructions and yes, it does look very simple. I’m really just curious how much ease you would suggest since you recommend less than others. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Maddie Flanigan

          For the skirt draft, I would suggest adding the same amount of ease as for the bodice – 1/8″ on front and back. This doesn’t seem like a lot but 1/8″ multiplied by 4 is 1/2.” This gives just enough wiggle room. Remember, the skirt sloper isn’t for wear but is a basis/foundation to create other skirt patterns

          Reply
  12. Sky Turtle

    Lovely! Great idea to use the photos to show what measurements to take. Better measurements, better slopers, less time wasted!

    Reply
  13. Thewallinna

    Happy New Year, Maddie! Huge thanks for posting this! During last couple of months I’ve been mostly putting my efforts on drafting using different books and methods: only some were successful. Now I am so eager to draft a bodice using your method. I’ll keep you updated 😉

    Reply
  14. Bimbo

    Hi Maddie

    Still on the Armhole,my line o-q does not pivot upwards.

    All your suggestions on how to measure the armhole depth were taken into account. I got 18cm / 7inches from all methods, shortened line I-J to 1 inch But wondering why it’s still not pivoting upward. I went ahead to shorten I-J to 1/2 inch, getting funny lines, any other suggestion for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Yes, I do have another suggestions for you :)

      What is your bust depth? Also, what is your approximate size? I will use this as a gauge for your measurements.

      Reply
      • Guest

        my bust depth is 24cm and approxiametly am a size 6

        Reply
        • Maddie Flanigan

          Try INCREASING your bust depth to 26 cm / 10 1/8 inches and KEEP your armhole depth at 18 cm / 7 inches

          Reply
          • Bimbo

            Thanks Maddie,it worked out.will let you know how it fits when i transfer it to a muslin.

          • Maddie Flanigan

            IT WORKED!!! IT WORKED!!! IT WORKED!!! Please send me photos when you sew your muslin!

          • Bimbo

            Will definately do that and your remarks will be so appreciated. For Clarification is the space formed by lines p-q and p-r meant to be a dart?

          • Maddie

            I am excited to see how it turns out!

            No, lines P-R and P-Q will not be a dart. They are used to create the side seam line (and correct angle). Does this make sense?

          • Bimbo

            yes thanks

  15. Bimbo

    my burst depth is 24 cm and i am a size 6 approx.

    Reply
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  18. Danielle

    Hi Maddie,

    I shortened I-J and I was able to pivot the line upwards, but I’m having trouble with R-S. P-R extends further than P-Q, and as a result, R-S is slanting from left to right, instead of right to left.
    Any advice?

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Danielle, this is a great question. I haven’t had anyone run into this problem so I am glad that you asked.

      Because you shortened the distance between lines I and J, this may throw of the relationship between lines PR and PQ. How much did you reduce the distance between lines I and J. Did you halve it and reduce it to 1″? If so, reduce PQ to equal PR plus 1/4″ (instead of 1/2″). Would that work?

      Reply
      • Danielle

        I did reduce it to 1″. When I use 1/4″, PR is still extended beyond PQ by 1/8″ or so..

        Reply
      • Jessenia

        Hi Maddie I am experiencing the same problem. I decreased I-J to 1″ but now P-R is much longer than P-Q causing the line R-S to go inwards instead of outwards. My bust arc is 9″ and bust dept is 8″. If you could please give me some advice on how to fix my sloper, I would greatly appreciate it.

        Reply
        • Jessenia

          I ended up adding 1/4 instead of 1/2 to P-R. I feel like this doesn’t make R-S as tilted to the left as it could be. Does this matter ? The adjustment has in fact made P-R slightly larger by 1/4. Sorry for the bother :)

          Reply
          • Maddie Flanigan

            Jessenia, it’s hard for me to give you direction with only knowing a few measurements. Armhole depth in particular plays a huge role in how the lines P-Q and P-R slant. If you want to email me with a list of your measurements, I’m more than willing to help you. Once we figure out what’s going wrong, we can update your comment with the solution that we can up with.

          • Jessenia

            Maddie, I want to thank you again for helping me draft my flat pattern. It literally fits perfectly! For anyone having the same issues as I explained in my earlier posts I would suggest double or even triple checking their measurements as step one. Maddie explained to me that I should continue with my pattern although the R-S line did not slant outwards as shown in the picture above. It all depends on ones measurements and overall body shape. I am not at all busty therefore my R-S line is going to be more inwards or straight down, which gives a smaller bust dart. Lastly I only added the 1/4 to the P-R line instead of 1/2 only because I feel this helped me get the ideal fit. Again before I re-drafted the pattern I had my boyfriend help measure me this time, and honestly speaking most of the key measurements that affect the R-S line were off, I then I continued based on Maddie’s advice. I hope this helps!

          • Maddie Flanigan

            Adding to Jessenia’s comment – I want to explain why it’s okay if line R-S doesn’t slant outwards like the diagram. When I made the tutorial, I overemphasized the shapes to get the point across (in hindsight, I realize that this was not a good idea). The only thing the slant of line R-S affects is how large or small the bust dart intake. In order to understand this, let’s look at the steps after drawing R-S. After you draw the side seam, or line R-S, you will draw the waist curve.If your side seam slants outward, then what will result is a larger bust dart than if the side seam was straight or slanted in. If you are small chested, then a smaller bust dart would be better for you and if you were large chested, then a bigger bust dart intake would be better for you.

  19. Mo

    Hello Maddie,

    Thank you for sharing the sloper instructions. I am currently working through the front bodice. I plotted O-P but it does not pass through N. Should I extend the line 3/8″ until it does? Or have I made a bad measurement somewhere? Hope you can help!

    Thanks
    Mo

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Yes, I think bad measurements are the reason for this but it’s not something that can’t be fixed :)

      Shoulder slope is not the measurement that is causing your problem – it is either across shoulders or bust span. First, let’s consider across shoulders. When you marked line E-B from CF waist, it had to fall on the C guideline. How close or far the guideline is to CF will determine where N is. If your across shoulders was reduced, line E-B would be closer to CF at point N and O-P might be able to reach it (point N). So, what is your across shoulders and what size are you approximately? If you reduced across shoulders by 3/8″ would line O-P reach point N?

      The other measurement that may be causing your problem is bust span. Are you sure you’re measuring from bust point to bust point (nipple to nipple)?

      Reply
  20. Mo

    I’m thinking out loud right now :) So my shoulder slope measurement must be off for O-P to not pass through N?

    Reply
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  22. Kathryn

    Hi Maddie,

    I just have a general question, I was always taught in school to lower the bust dart 1/2″ from the bust point. However, when I do this I tend to get an awkward fullness right at the nipple, as though the dart isn’t too tight? Any tips or is it okay to break the rule and not lower the bust dart? I usually just end up doing princess seams or something but I wanted to get your take!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I do have a tip for this and it’s a sewing tip.

      First of all, keep the dart 1/2″ below bust point.

      When you tie the threads at the dart point, make the knot 1/8″ from the fabric. This allows the fabric to lie flat at the dart point. Does this make sense?

      Reply
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  24. Melissa Duchan

    Can you specify exactly where the ease is? I am removing all ease for use with a knit.

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Melissa – the ease is added in step 4:

      “T-Y: 1/8” squared out from T (the diagram does not show this step because drawing 1/8” is very hard to see/draw). This is the ease added to bust. It may not seem like a lot but 1/8” ease on front and back will give ½” in the round”

      Because the ease that is added is so small/little, I did not include it on the diagram.

      Reply
  25. Carlee McTavish

    Hi Maddie, I just have a quick question for you, maybe you can clarify something for me. When making lines P-Q and P-R towards J and I, you say to place them “somewhere on the guideline”. Is there anywhere specifically it should be placed? I’m uncertain as to how to proceed from this point. Thanks for your help and thanks for the tutorial!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Hi Carlee – for the sake of this explanation, let’s pretend your bust arc is 8 1/4.” When drawing line O-Q, first measure from CF to point P and then pivot measuring tape up towards J guideline. When 8 1/4″ on the measuring tape hits/reaches/falls on the J guideline, that’s point Q. It will only hit in one spot. Do the same for line P-R. Does this make more sense? If you are still stuck, we can do a Skype session where I could do a live demonstration.

      Reply
      • Carlee McTavish

        I think so. I’ll give it a try in the next few days and let you know if it doesn’t. Thanks for the quick reply! :)

        Reply
  26. Jonnytsunami

    Hey Maddie,
    So after I sewed up the front and back bodice together and put it on, I realized the arm hole is one and half inch too big, waist is about 3 inches too big and also, i think the bust depth is too deep (flawed in my measuring)

    Do I redo the whole sloper? Or is there a way to fix the sloper I already finished? Thanks again for your expertise!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      You could redraft the whole bodice, yes, but when I am in the position you are in with a garment, I like to use what I have to make edits. I don’t like going back to step 1 if I am at step 2. Why not start pinning, cutting, and marking the muslin/fit sample/toile until you perfect the
      fit. After, you can transfer the alterations to the pattern.

      Reply
  27. Neha

    Hi Maddie,

    My question is for the armhole.In the instructions you asked to join E and M, and then join M to Y.But in the diagram, the armhole is joined from M to R.Can you please clear it out?

    Reply
  28. Neha

    Hi Maddie,
    My question is for the armhole.In the instructions, you asked to join E to M and then M to Y.But in the diagram, the curve seems to be joining M to R.Can you please clarify?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I apologize about this – the diagrams have been updated. Remember that point Y is not included in the diagram – R-Y is 1/8″ and that is very hard to draw/see without altering the way the pattern looks.

      Reply
      • Neha

        Thanks a lot :)

        Reply
  29. jonnytsunami

    Aloha Maddie,

    So I finished the front and back bodice an they fit nicely. I have no sleeves because drafting a sleeve sloper terrifies me and gives me nightmares- so I decided to try to turn the bodice into a kimono sleeve top so the sleeves and bodice will be one piece. The instructions in my old college pattern book seems quite easy but I (dsylexic) can’t figure it out. You have any easy ways to achieve this?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I’m glad that the front and back bodice slopers fit nicely. You must have taken good measurements :)

      For styles that are as simple as a kimono sleeve blouse, sometimes too many instructions cause more harm than good. Kimono sleeves are a loose fitting and easy silhouette. My suggestion to you is to use
      common sense. Look at the attached image and using your common sense and only your common sense (no meticulous calculations), turn your front and back bodice blocks into a kimono sleeve. If you can draft a front and back bodice sloper, I have faith you can draft the kimono sleeve. The first fit sample might not be perfect but it will be a good starting point and you can make adjustments to the fit then. Let me know if you feel comfortable taking this route.

      Reply
  30. Alison

    Hello Maddie,

    I was just giving this a try, and as far as I can tell there are some instructions missing between steps three and four? Maybe when it was updated something went missing? I’m going to try to guess my way through it, but if there is more detailed guidance available that would be helpful.

    Thanks so much for all this!

    Reply
  31. Alison

    Sorry!!

    Ignore that, I see it now. How embarrassing :)

    Reply
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  33. Whitney

    Hello Maddie what software do you use to for this tutorial?

    Reply
  34. Regina

    Hi, I am trying to figure out how to measure from point B-U for the dart placement. From where do I measure to get that point (princess line) ?
    To be more exact how do you get the distance from point B to U? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Dart placement is standard – 3/4″ less than bust span (make sure that bust span is half the measurement from bust point to bust point).

      Reply
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  36. Ijeoma Ekweani

    Hello Maddie. I drafted this sloper and noticed a few thngs. The front bodice is shorted than the back bodice.

    1. Dose the Front full length and the Back full length (neck to waist) need to be the same thing?
    2. Because the back bodice is longer than the front bodice, the shoulder seams do not meet. Is this normal?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      1. No, the front full length and back full length (neck to waist) should not be the same. If you look at the diagram above for measuring, you will see that these two measurements are different (one is taken on the front and one is taken on the back). If your bodice is not level (your front is shorter than your back), then you need to ADD length to the front accordingly and blend to 0″ at back. Does this make sense?

      2. The length of the bodice doesn’t have anything to do with the length of the shoulder seams. Do you mean the length of the back shoulder seam is longer than the length of the front shoulder seam? If this is the case (and you don’t have a shoulder dart), then this is okay that the back shoulder seam is longer. It can be up to 1/2″ longer and eased to fit the front shoulder seam when sewing.

      Reply
  37. Sacha Tearle

    Hello!

    First of all, I’d like to say thankyou for posting this, I always had a lot of difficulty with the block instructions we got given in college, they had a lot of steps that didn’t make sense and never got explained (which I just hate).

    I was wondering if you had ever used these instructions for creating a man’s bodice block? (if so, whether it gives a good fit)

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      This is a good question but unfortunately, this cannot be used for a man, one because men don’t have breasts, which this method incorporates into the draft, and two, because men are built differently than women.

      Reply
  38. Jacqueline

    Hi Maddie!

    I’m running into difficulties with the bust dart. I had to keep doing adjustments so it finally angles slightly upwards like you said it should be, but I cannot get points RS to be at a right angle at the armhole. Also, I somehow had part of the top leg dart intersecting in the bottom part of the arm hole. I’m completely stuck.

    PS, is it easy to modify this two dart bodice into princess seams?

    Thanks for your help! :)
    -Jacqueline

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      What’s more important than R-S being a right angle at the bottom of the armhole is that it transitions smoothly from front armhole to back armhole at this point. Have you drafted the back bodice yet? If the answer is yes, does the armhole transition smoothly like a describe?

      Your bust dart should not intersect the bottom of the armhole. If you send me your measurements and a picture of your draft, I am more than happy to take a look at it and help you.

      The level of difficulty to transfer the sloper in my tutorials to a princess seam is “so-so.” and I only say that because it’s a multi-step process. The first step is to shift the dart to the waist seam. Then, the second step would be to transfer some (but not all) of the bust dart to the shoulder (creating a shoulder dart). The third step would beto connect the bust dart with the shoulder dart and separate the pattern (creating a CF piece and a side piece). Does this make sense? There are many sloper tutorials that have a shoulder dart but personally, I think it’s easier to manipulate a pattern later on if there are less darts.

      Reply
  39. mary

    Hi. I was wondering where would you mark the “dots” so that the ease of a sleeve aligns with the armhole? I’m looking at your sleeve pattern which is awesome.

    I’m using a t shirt to pattern the front and back pieces because I’m still learning how to sew and pattern. If I follow your sleeve pattern is there a way to work “backwards” to decide how wide the armhole should be for the bodice? Is it a simple subtract what I added on for the ease in the sleeve?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Mary – I’d love to help but I don’t understand what your asking. What dots are you referring to? Do you mean the front and back sleeve notches? Does the t-shirt that you’re using for the front and back pattern have a sleeve as well? Are you using that as the sleeve pattern or did you draft a sleeve? Last, what do you mean ‘how wide the armhole should be?’

      Reply
  40. New Seamstress

    Hi, Maddie! I have a question about the ease at point-Y. I know you said it won’t appear on the diagram, which is completely understandable. But, exactly which direction would I go to create the point? Is it up from Point-T? Will it be outside the sloper, to the left of Point-T? And once the point is created, would it be a line or like a dart? Thanks in advance.
    By the way, I friggin love your site! I wish you had a book.

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you for the compliment on my site. I really enjoy teaching others what I have been so lucky to learn.

      I think it’s easiest if I show you what I mean. Does the sketch below explain it better?

      Reply
  41. Tara

    Are my measurements completely off if T-S/side seam slants more towards the right than out towards the left? Also X does not pass W at all and so doesn’t intersect the S-V line. Is that wrong as well? My sloper looks so very off – I can’t figure out what factor it is to look for the problem though. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Tara

      PS. I should have said thank you for your tutorial! I’ve been using a book by Helen Joseph Armstrong and have so appreciated your tutorial on how to actually take measurements on a person and not on a dress form :) And I also got stuck with my sloper and the Armstrong book, and was so thankful I could ask you when I drafted your sloper and still got stuck! :) Thanks for all your help! – Tara

      Reply
    • Tara

      Nevermind :) I think we finally figured it out. My full length and center front measurements were off which threw everything else off. Thank you again for your tutorial! It is a huge help. I think I will combine yours and Armstrong’s methods to draft in the future :)

      Reply
  42. phillykitty

    I am curious if there are standard armhole depths for petite sizes to compare my measurement too? My friend took my measurement and got 5.5 inches. I am 5’3″. My sizes are all over the place–I have small shoulders, a muscular back (yay, Crossfit) and DD cups but there is only one inch difference between my chest and full bust measurements–so I not sure how I would compare to a standard size anyway but I guess I am wondering if 5.5 sounds like it is in the range for someone of my height. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Everyone’s body is different which means everyone’s measurements are going to be all over the place when it compares to “normal.”

      You could use this chart (http://www.madalynne.com/patternmaking-how-to-make-a-pattern-petite) to calculate the “average armhole” for your size in petite (find the average armhole depth for your size and then reduce that number by 1/4″). But again, every body is different and please use this as a guideline.

      If I were you, I would continue to measure yourself until you get consistent measurements. If the numbers are right and match your body, the draft will be right, I can almost guarantee it. Also, if the numbers are right, there will be no need to worry about “is 5.5 inches too small?”

      Feel free to email me (maddie964@aol.com) if you are having trouble as you draft your sloper.

      Reply
  43. AbleSable

    Hi Madalynne! First, thanks for a great tutorial. I’ve been sifting through various sites trying to find a good step-by-step guide, and yours is the best I’ve come across. I am having an issue I hope you can help me with. My R-S line consistently slants in to the right, not out to the left past the armhole like in your diagram. This looks weird, and also makes it impossible for S-X to be perpendicular to R-S. I tried the pattern once and had this problem, re-measured everything making minor adjustments, and after completing it a second time it’s just as bad as the first. I am decently busty with small shoulders and fairly boxy middle — not sure if this plays a part? I saw somebody below had a similar problem, but when I tried the adjustments that helped them, it didn’t make any difference… Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Hi! I just want to let you know that I did receive your comment. I’m looking into what’s causing your problem and I’ll be back soon. Promise!

      Reply
      • AbleSable

        No worries, thank you! Just returned from vacation myself so haven’t had time to contemplate it more right now. I appreciate any help you can offer!

        Reply
      • Asuka

        Hi Maddie, did you ever figure out what was making that happen? I have the exact same problem, have measured three times and had two different people measure me (all accurate/the same measurements) and I have a very large chest and a small waist (35 inch chest, 30 inch underbust, 26 inch waist, 7 3/8 inch side seam. Extreme hourglass, basically). Everything goes fine until I add 1/2″ to the PR line, and then the line slants to the right. If I don’t add 1/2″ to PR, the line works just fine and slants to the left.

        Reply
  44. Pema

    Hi Madalynne! This looks really inviting…I’m all rearing to go and try this, but I have a question about the measurements:
    Do the full length and shoulder slope measurements HAVE to go over the apex? Because if I try and do the shoulder slope that way the tape won’t go straight, but rather angled (out to the side from cf waist, and then up straight, to the shoulder tip). Also, if I measure straight down from where my neck starts for full length the tape will not go anywhere very near the apex (which in my case is more like beneath the shoulder tip – wearing my nicest bra, and no, I don’t look weird :-)) ). So how would I measure these two?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Shoulder slope and full length “should” go over the bust point/apex but in some cases, that point isn’t on the line between the two. An ecample is a woman whose breasts “point east and west,” causing the measurement to be distorted. What’s important is that when measuring the two, the tape goes over the “hump” of the breast. Some people think that because the measurement doesn’t say to include the breast that anything relating to the breast shouldn’t be included, so they shift the tape outside the “mound” of the breast. Does this make sense?

      Reply
  45. Zuzsa

    Hi Maddie! Just want to say thank you for this great tutorial! I drafted my sloper today and everything works fine.

    Reply
  46. DoLo

    Hi Maddie! In step 3 of the ‘How To Draft A Sleeve Sloper’ tutorial, you add sleeve cap notches. Where would you put the corresponding notches on the front and back bodice sloper? I would appreciate any help!

    Reply
  47. Julie

    My armhole depth measurement isn’t jiving well and I have problems with RTW armholes being too tight (and same with the armholes of clothes I make) so I want to get this right!!

    As measured my armhole depth comes out at around 6.5-7in each time. When I measure a sleeveless top that fits me well under the arms and its not too tight I get 9 inches. When I wear said sleeveless top and line up my rulers accordingly (bottom ruler lining up with the top under my arm pit and top ruler lining up with where the top hits my shoulder) I get 7 inches. So what measurement should I go with? 7 inches?

    Your tutorial says a size six armhole depth is typically 7.25in, is that a size 6 in RTW? Although I’m a size 6-8 in RTW clothing, I usually measure larger for patterns (Vogue, McCalls etc). My bust is 37in, underbust 30 inches (bra size 34D), and waist is 29 inches. If that helps. I have rather muscular back and arms which I think is why many of my tops fit me so tightly under the armpit. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

    Reply
        • Julie

          I still need to fiddle with the measurements because my P-Q line isn’t tilting upwards. Going home this week and am having my Mom take all my measurements to make sure I have them correctly. I may shorten the I-J line to 1 or 1.5 inches as you suggested above. I have a pretty high waist although I’m not what I’d consider to be petite.

          Reply
    • Julie

      When I used 8 inches my P-Q line went down. So I compromised and used 6.5 inches as the armhole depth but my P-Q line *barely* tips upwards, its almost exactly inline with J. :( I’m scared to go to 6 inches as I fear this may make the armhole to tight….

      Reply
  48. Branalyn Dailey

    Well my first draft was started too low on my pattern paper and I had to scrap it. It had several errors though, so it was good practice and good to make a new one. The second one revealed there were a couple bad measurements so I adjusted and am now working on my third! I’m very excited about this and hope it’s not too much more work to get it just right. I am such an odd shape that I am really excited about my own slopers but I also think it’s part of what is causing me trouble…My torso is VERY short. My full length is 15 1/4 and my CF is 11 3/4. In a properly fitted bra, I’m a UK 32 G-GG. I definitely have an hourglass figure. I also definitely have a pot belly. Height size, I’m quite petite, but bust wise I am so not!

    So, I guess, main question here, do I just I-J as 1″ or 2″?

    I’ve plotted it both ways and with 1″, the dart just seems too small. But with 2″, the lines only slope up very slightly…

    Fingers crossed this next sloper actually works!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I think it’s great that you made two drafts, one with I-J being 1″ and one with I-J being 2″ inches. Sew the muslins for both and go with the one that fits the best. And don’t hesitate to try a draft with I-J being 1 1/2″. It’s all about getting a sloper that fits your unique shape. Be sure to let me know how it goes! My email is on my “contact” page.

      Reply
      • Branalyn Dailey

        Thanks for the encouragement and the “permission” to try 1 1/2″. That may help. I’ve done some draping trying to get things closer to right. I may make my husband remeasure me when he gets home from work! I’m frustrated, but determined, and I know I’m gonna love the endless possibilities when I get this and the back sloper done!

        Reply
  49. Glow

    Hi Maddie, thanks for the tutorial, you said to square O-P from CF, how didyou get O?

    Reply
  50. rachel

    Hi Maddie! Thanks so much for this clear, well-written tutorial, I last drafted a sloper in school and there were many angry hours staring at a textbook during that project, not so here!

    My question is about adding a dart at the side seam to reduce gaping around the bust from the sides. My initial sloper fit pretty well, just minor adjustments except for the gaping problem, so I added a dart at the side seam and immediately fell into a rabbit hole of adjustments. Do you have any advice about something I could have done differently with the initial sloper to prevent the side dart? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Rachel, the gaping at your armhole on your initial pattern might have been due to the shape. I wrote about this in my sleeve sloper tutorial;

      “The closer the armhole fits to the body, the more shaped the armhole is on a pattern and the more mobility the sleeve will have. This may not make sense at first but think of an oversize or dropped shoulder silhouette. On such a style, the armhole is less shaped and therefore does not move with the arm as well. When the arm is raised in an oversized or a dropped shoulder, the underarm “wedges” out. Initially, a pattern maker may want to reduce the bust width at the side seam but all that is needed is to add more shape near the bottom of the armhole.”

      How shaped was the front of your armhole? My suggestion is to scoop out (or add more of a curve) to the armhole where it is gaping. Make sure you make this revision to your initial sloper – not the one you alter.

      Does this make sense?

      Reply
      • rachel

        Yup! I’ll definitely give that a shot, thanks so much!

        Reply
  51. Stacey

    This is an excellent tutorial!! Quick question – I had previously been using “European Cut” to draft a sloper and her measurement for center front measure over the bridge of the breast. Does your method have the measuring tape laying flat against the body in between the breasts or does it measure over the imaginary bridge that exists if you were to connect the apex of each bust with some sort of bridge. Make sense?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Your question definitely makes sense! I don’t mean to sound rude in any way but my mentor always used to say, “use your common sense.” So, for this question, ask yourself, “What will the fabric do?” Will the fabric collapse in between the breasts or will it lie over the “imaginary” bridge? You have to think like this when drafting patterns because essentially, patterns are a paper representation of fabric. So, to answer your question – yes, measure CF over the imaginary bridge.

      Reply
  52. Pingback: Language of Fashion | The Sewing Loft

  53. Ines Despoina

    Hello Maddie, congratulations on your wonderful blog! My question is if I can use this basic pattern to sew a coat, or what alterations should I make. Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Ines, yes, you can use the basic block/sloper to sew a coat, but there are so many alterations that would need to be made that I couldn’t narrow it down to a few. The silhouette, fabric, and fit will make every alteration different.

      Reply
      • Ines Despoina

        Thank you! :-)

        Reply
  54. Deanna Pryce

    Hi Madalynne: this morning I wrote you a big long note regarding, well..all kinds of stuff size, fit and design and drafting related…..I don’t see it now. . would you mind letting me know if you saw it…if not, I’ll repost….thank you

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Deanna, I didn’t receive the comment. Yes, please repost!

      Reply
      • Deanna Pryce

        HI Madalynne: You may want to grab a cuppa tea or coffee – and maybe a peanut butter cookie with that while reading my post; it’s a little windy……
        firstly: thank you so much for taking the time and effort of creating these tutoials-much appreciated
        I’m going to make this a little briefer than the post that didn’t get posted…..
        Well,…the other night I was having problems with my RS line sloping to the right instead of swinging out…now it’s midnight and I’ve rechecked all of my measuremtns, all of my lines…even shortened the I-J line to 1 inch..(I’m 5’4″ – I don’t consider myself petite as I have rather long legs and rams – but my upper torso-crotch to shoulders is either short in the waist or long in the crotch…what is the difference? that’s my first question to you…I grew up always thinking I was long from my crotch to my naval as overalls and coveralls – aka pitsuits were all the rage back then and they always pulled in my crotch area! I would have to extend the straps on my overalls to the longest point in order for them not to but then the waist now sat on my hips!!), Well, I still couldn’t get get the R-S line to swing out.so I took a break and re-read your tutorial and the comments. It turns out there were a few others that had the same issue with the R-S line -which is actually an issue with the PQ and PR lines;In our case the PR is longer than the PQ. So I made a few changes to my line as you had suggested to some of the other peeps on here: 1. increased bust depth to 26cm, 2. increased PR only by 1/4 – forget what that is in cm,. instead of the half inch and 3. increased my IJ line from 1 inch to 1.5 inches, 4. kept my armhole at 7 inches. and guess what? the RS line finally swung out!! I was so happy that I went to bed, exhausted and relieved!
        so here’s the dealio Madalynne: I’m just wondering if all the other people that had the same issue might be of the same body shape – and that is NO CHEST! I have no bust per say – I’m a Double A and my back is extremely wide in comparison to the rest of my frame; so wide infact, that I rip out all of my cotton shirts like the HULK! and once when I went for a proper bra fitting the sales lady suggested to me that whatever exercises I was doing I should stop! nope, I’m not a swimmer – I know they tend to have broad backs, matter of fact I sink like a rock!
        I know we can’t take a poll on body shapes and bust size but it would be interesting to know whether this Line swinging in or out and to what degree it does so is directly related to how generous our bust line is.
        Well, hope you enjoyed your cuppa and cookie while reading this….I look forward to your professional insight…
        Thanks so much,
        Deanna

        Reply
        • Maddie Flanigan

          First, isn’t it a great feeling to hack away at a pattern and after shedding blood, sweat, and tears, you finish a final pattern :)

          You make a good point. Before answering, I’m going to let this simmer and incubate for a couple of days. Also, I’m currently helping someone with their draft. I’ll be back this weekend with my thoughts!

          Reply
        • Maddie Flanigan

          So I thought about what you said a little more over the past couple of days and I hesitate to generalize what you experienced to a certain body type. Actually, when I looked back through the emails of women I helped in the past, most of them had a large chest. In patternmaking, especially this case, there are so many steps in both measuring and drafting that if you are wrong in one of them, the whole thing will be off.

          Let’s just look at the geometry of this draft. Where do the lines I and J come from? Well, they come from the armhole depth and shoulder slope. So the placement of I and J depends on these measurements. If you factor in bust span, that makes three measurements that if any of them is incorrect, P-Q and P-R will be incorrect as well.

          So, with your case, the case that your small bust was to blame, that may be the problem, but I don’t think I can say that it is for everyone.

          Reply
          • Deanna Pryce

            Thank you for your thoughts and professional opinion Madalynne. I see now that one or two of the women that were having similar difficulties actually stated they are large busted..I guess the one thing we did have in common were our errors! LOL!

        • Vanessa

          Hi Deanna,
          I have the same problem. RS lines curves inwards instead of outwards. I have a short torso, small waist, big bust and wide hips. So I guess that’s a totaly different bodytype.
          Nevertheless, I won’t give up!

          Reply
  55. Kat Skinner

    Thanks for this great tutorial – please definitely post a lot more like this. It’s really helped me learn the basics of flat pattern making – now to just find some more difficult tutorials 😀

    Reply
  56. Deanna Pryce

    Hi Madalynne: Yesterday I made my first muslin from my slopers! my hubby actually thought it was pretty!! Then I re-made it and finally, remade it again. With the first muslin Everything was out by exactly 3/4 of an inch! so I corrected the blocks and then on the second muslin only a few things were out – by 3/16th of an inch! i’m getting there… Now on my third muslin the back between my shoulder blades and waist is a bit um…bunchy- doesn’t lie as nicely as the front, yet I have ‘wiggle’ room at the sides and under bust line. ….hmm… I’m going to tweak it one more time!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      That’s awesome that you’re getting closer! When I made my sloper, it took 3 muslins in order to get the fit right ,but it definitely paid off. I use it constantly. Keep at it, girl!

      Reply
  57. tiff

    Good Morning from the west coast. Thank you for all the time you took to post this great tutorial. And for your willingness to answer questions. I am having trouble with N, and then all that follows, dart placement, P-0. I have rechecked my measurements and found they were off. But as I start all over, I realize it would really help if i could understand the logic of where E and F should be placed. I’m unclear of what determines these points, yet they seem to effect later point locations. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Tiff, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble, but I’m more than willing to help. It’s hard for me to give you direction when I don’t have your full set of measurements. Feel free to email me with all your specs and a photo of yourself and we can go from there. Once we figure out what’s going on, we can update this thread with your results.

      Reply
  58. Amanda K

    Do you have any instructions for a skirt or pant sloper?

    Reply
  59. Sophie

    Hello, just posting to say: thank you very very for this tutorial!!!

    Reply
  60. Crab&Bee

    Hi Maddie! I’m working on a front bodice sloper today and was wondering if there are any adjustments that should be made for square or broad shoulders (mine are both). I’m getting a P point that is almost right next to N as well as a very steep neckline. Perhaps it’s another problem? Thank you so much for sharing your pattern-making expertise!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      Morgan, I’m so glad that you’re giving this tutorial a try and I’m more than happy to help you along the way :)

      There aren’t any adjustments for broad or square shoulders – if the measurements are correct, then the sloper will be correct too.

      You’re draft looks really good. Remember that it is just a starting point. When I drafted my block, the first pattern was a close fit, but it was very “textbook” and I had to make minor adjustments here and there so that it fit my body.

      If you want, you can send me your measurements and I’d be happy to look them over. I can usually tell if they “make sense.” I’ll be able to help you more on your front neck drop and bust arc questions if I have your specs.

      Reply
      • Crab&Bee

        Hi Maddie! I made some fixes this morning (amazing how a night’s sleep can clear your head), and I went ahead and emailed you. Thank you so, so much for your offer to help!

        Reply
    • sleepykisser

      Do you mind sharing the program you are using to draft your sloper? It looks so nice. I’m using pencil and paper hunched on the floor!

      Reply
      • Crab&Bee

        Hi, I used Adobe Illustrator for my initial sloper. I’ve been using pencil and paper for my fitting refinements, though.

        Reply
  61. Nicole Velazquez

    This is definitely complicated for someone like me who has never really sewn before, but Ive been so interested in making my own pieces I think this tutorial will absolutely help me out when I attempt to make what I’ve been thinking about. So thank you so very much, I will be coming back to your page often.

    Aside from bralettes, I have been passionate about attempting a maxi dress with back cut out. Can you offer me any tips in attempting such a piece as a beginning seamstress? my inspiration piece is a comfortable yet form fitting maxi with thick tank top straps and essentially a crew neck line.

    Thanks Again!

    Reply
  62. Catherine Schneider

    Maddie,
    I am enjoying your tutorial. A question. At what point should the PQ and PR lines intersect the I and J guidelines? I was not sure how to angle them. Thanks so much. Catherine

    Reply
  63. Lois Holman

    I have the same question as a previous commenter. How should the PQ and PR lines intersect I and J? Otherwise the tutorial is great!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I’m not sure what you mean; can you clarify? If PR or PQ are 9.25 (hypothetical), then when your tape measure hits line IJ at that number, you have your point. Does that make sense?

      Reply
      • Lois Holman

        Thanks so much. I will try that.

        Reply
  64. Kendall Mines-Melchior

    Is the Center Front measurement point the same for CF Length and Bust Arc? It looks like Bust Arc begins in the center but at a much lower point. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maddie

      The CF length and Full length are at a different points. CF length is from the bottom of the front neck to the waist while full length is from shoulder at neck to waist. Bust arc is measured from CF to bust point to armhole and yes, this line starts on the same line as CF length.

      Reply
  65. Amber

    Thanks for posting! I’ve always done draping for creating my own clothes, but I’m working on some items for some other people right now, and for these patterns I’m working on my first slopers. I’m having problems EVERY time with the O-Q step and beyond. My PR and PQ lines won’t pivot up, no matter what I do. I’ve checked and rechecked my measurements. My I guideline ends up being where my J guideline ought to be. My armhole measurement for the one I’m working on right now is 7″, and I’m afraid to go any smaller, because I’ve already shaved off an inch. Bust depth is 9″, and center front length is 13.5″. Everything works beautifully up until I have to create that side/armhole section. My “dart” in the bottom (XPV) ends up being pretty much non-existent, because my RS line swings so far to the right. What am I doing wrong?!?

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I’m glad you like the post and I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. It’s hard for me to give you advice without seeing the whole picture, so can you email me your full list of measurements and a photo of your draft? My email is on my contact page.

      Reply
      • Amber

        Thanks for the sympathy. :) :) Your post helped. I decided last night to just shorten the armhole depth enough to make the lines slope up the way they were supposed to look, and it ended up fitting my model perfectly. The armhole depth I had written down was 10.5″, and I shortened it to 6″! Now I’m wondering how I got that far off. I measured her again, and it still looks longer than 6″ to me; more like 7.5″. I must be measuring wrong, but I’m not sure how. I measured from center back neck to reference point on the back to get 10.5″, and I used the method of a ruler under the arm and measuring from shoulder tip down to ruler to get the 7.5″. Then 6″ ended up working. Is that crazy, or am I?

        Reply
        • Maddie

          6″ sounds so much better? If your armhole was 10.5″, then that would mean your armpit was below your bust point (you stated busy depth was 9″). See how important accurate measurements are? Glad it worked out!

          Reply
  66. Kendall Mines-Melchior

    I have triple checked all my measurements and here is my issue. O – P is on almost the exact same depth as J with no upward tilt. I am 5’1 which is petite but I am also proportioned with a long torso and shorter legs. I don’t know how to fix this. I always buy regular size shirts.

    Reply
  67. Jennie

    So, this is wonderful. But when I try to draw line O-P, I can’t pass it through point N because O-P is too short. What’s going wrong, please?

    Reply
    • Fadzi

      Exact. Same. Problem. I’ve tried re-measuring and keep running into this!

      Reply
  68. Malinda Lloyd

    Does this still work for those of us who always need to do a full bust adjustment?

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      I believe that if you have the right measurements, the tutorial will work, regardless of bust size.

      Reply
      • Kelyn

        Your blog is my go-to for almost all of my drafting needs.Thank you for all of your help. I’m full breasted [DD cup] and where I’m getting hung up is E-F. My measurements: FL=17″, Across Sh. 7/ 3/4″, CF=15″, Sh. Slope=19″. My Shoulder Slope reaches past my C guideline. Where should I go from here?

        Reply
        • Maddie Flanigan

          I’m sorry to hear about your troubles! In order to give you an answer, I need to see/evaluate all your measurements. Please email me a complete list of your specs and we can go from there.

          Reply
  69. Angelina

    Hi Maddie,

    Thank you for sharing your valuable info here with us. I have never literally done any real pattern drafting whatsoever before and this my first attempt. (I’ve done some rough sketching before for my first peasant top and that’s about it).
    I’ve been following along with this tutorial so well, but got stuck at Step 3, “P-R: P-Q plus ½” with R falling somewhere on I guideline”. Excuse me if it doesn’t make sense but I’m not quite sure how to proceed from there. Is it a measurement or just a guideline? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Maddie

      You draw a line from P to Q that is equal to PR plus 1/2″ and falls on I guideline

      Does this make more sense?

      Reply
      • Angelina

        Ok, I see. Now I can carry on. Thank you once again.

        Reply
  70. Fab Kat

    I am recking my brain trying to figure out where I went wrong. I am having trouble with point O. Should point O extend from point A or should it start from point D? If point O should extend from point D then it is not fitting online A-B for me and I don’t know why. Please help.

    Reply
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  72. Sammy

    quick question…what happens if the shoulder slope line goes past the guideline from line C?

    Reply
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  74. Nona

    Hi Maddie, thanks for this thorough tutorial! What is the best way to go about deciding on the placement of the side seam for taking the measurements?

    Reply
  75. Liisa

    Why, when drawing line BD, do we subtract 3/8″ from the center front length? It seems that if we measured accurately, this length should be the true center front measurement. What am I missing?

    Reply
  76. Laura

    I love this tutorial! I need some advice – I want to start making clothes with a view to sell and I want to make a whole set of slopers (I left my old ones in another country!) and i was wondering what size i should make them. Is there a general size you should make all sample clothing? There are a lot of different sizing charts in my pattern making book and I don’t know which one to go for (eg. european sizing, 5cm increments, and high street fashion garments). What is a good general size to start with that’s say a universal 8-10? I’d appreciate any advice!

    Reply
    • Maddie Flanigan

      The base size varies from company to company, but it usually is around a size 6. Good luck with your company!

      Reply
  77. Jenny

    Yay! I measured and drafted this in one day. (That’s not to say that i didn’t throw away a copy). Now, to see if it actually fits and I didn’t need up the measurements!

    Also, I found your blog thanks to this tutorial and I’m so glad I did. You’re quite inspiring. :)

    Reply
  78. Tyler

    What would you do differently on this if it were for a man? This is a really great breakdown of the process and I’m wondering if the same rules apply for men’s clothing, or if this cut is too feminine. My finished product definitely resembles a man’s tailored vest, but I’m hesitant about the darts. Great job on the article!

    Reply
  79. Jasmin Desiree

    Thank you for this educational inspiring blog!

    Reply
  80. Emmy

    Hi- so, I’m 5′, very petite, and so naturally while drafting this pattern my CF was short as it is. It measures 13in and with c being 10in, things look sort of weird. But because of this all my lines are running haywire, especially E-I. There would be no room for point j because adding point I takes up the entire rest of c. Among a plethora of other problems. What should I do?

    Reply
  81. Elaine Bates

    Hello,
    I have just found this wonderful site. I will read over the rest of this great site later. Thank you very much Madalynne for creating this wonderful tool of information for pattern drafting. I am from Australia.

    Reply
    • maddie

      Thank you for using it!

      Reply
  82. Dona

    I am trying to decide the Letter D – it is just 3/8 of an inch? I can not get it to look right on the drawing? Have been all day trying to know if it is right or not.

    Reply
    • Dona Porter

      I am sorry but I do not get e-mails on my phone and I had a problem this week with the e-mail. If you could let me know here, I would appreciate it. I just am not understanding about the letter D – how it is applied and what measurement is used. Thank you for your help.

      Reply
      • Dona Porter

        I got it. I had to look at another sloper it see what I was doing. Sometimes it is just the small things that help us to see what is right in front of our eyes. I want to think you for putting this on line so that I could learn how to make clothes that will fit. I am a plus size, is there any thing special I need to do? Thank you!

        Reply
  83. Vasu

    Hi Maddie. Looks like an amazing article. I have just stepped into sewing and i consider myself lucky to have come across your blog. wish to make the best use of it.

    Can i apply this drafting concept on Indian clothes ? Like a Kurti / Salwar kameez?

    Reply
  84. rachel

    Dear Madalynne, I love your creations and blog. I am starting out designing patterns (I sew for many years already). On your advice I follow the book by Armstrong, pattern making for fashion design. I find it very clarifying for the whole process of flat pattern making. I am focusing on children’s clothes. I am just starting to practice (after I read a big part of it) but found that the basic bodices I design following instructions are so different from the majority of bought patterns I have been using all this time. Especially the shoulders and armhole curves are dramatically different from most commercial patterns. I would appreciate your insight on this.
    Thanks for sharing your process and work.

    Reply
  85. Kim Baxley

    Hello, This is a wonderful tutorial. The problem I am having with this tutorial and all of the pattern drafting text books I have bought is that I am trying to draft patterns for dolls not humans. So when the instructions say measure the waste then add 5″ ( a made up example of course) I do not know where that 5″ came from so how do I translate the instructions to work for a doll? Or how do I figure out where the measurements are coming from so I can figure out how to adjust them? I would greatly appreciate any help :)

    Reply
  86. Paula Taylor

    Maddie,I too am very appreciative of your wilingness to share your knowledge in this area! I was slowly but surely moving through your instructions, hit a few snags, but was able to figure them out, until I got to the dart legs. My current issues are: Step 4, U-V. How do you square on a point? Don’t I need a line to square against? And my X, (left leg of dart) was extremely high causing a sharp slant downward to the waist line–but pretty good alignment on my side seam.

    May dart legs are both the same length. I am busty, short waisted (I think), but pretty normal height at 5’5″. I think the solution might be to lengthen the CF (which as I measure in my bra, did not follow the curves of my bustine). What do you think? I played with armhole depth measures, settled on 6 1/2″ depth, and 1 1/2″ difference between I and J. Sleeve area looks pretty good. Side seam angles out, but left dart leg is high on the pattern. Your input is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  87. Paula Taylor

    Well Maddie, I gave it another try and I have something that resembles a bodice front this time. I tweaked some of my measurements, and I’m going to cut the muslim after I make the bodice back and see what happens! Thanks!!

    Reply
    • maddie

      Good luck! Be sure to email me with the results!

      Reply
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  89. Saskia

    Can I ask how do you translate the paper drawn draft into something you can wear? If I cut the fabric (twice) as per the front and back bodice sloper, do I stitch them together at side and shoulder seams. If so, what sort of seam allowance is there? Or is this something I need to add to my own paper sloper pattern?

    Reply
  90. Dorothy Fong

    Hi, Maddie,

    I have the same question as one person mentioned. I can’t figure out where point-Y is. Is it up from Point-T? Is it outside the sloper, to the left of Point-T?

    Dorothy

    Reply
  91. Jessica. E

    Hello Madalynne, thank you so much for taking the time to share. Your sleeve sloper helped tremendously, just finished my sleeve. The front bodice pattern has been going so well until i got to point O-P, where precisely am i to square the bust span from CF?? I tried it but my P-J line is sloping downwards. Can you give more insight please??

    Reply
  92. Cynthia Padilla

    Hi Maddie. Thank you for this tutorial. I plan to use it soon. I love your site!

    Reply
  93. Marie

    Did not work at all. One dart leg is 5″, the other 7″. Armhole point M to Y didn’t connect. What happened? Help.

    Reply
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  95. Allison

    Hi Maddie, I’m so excited finding this tutorial! I drew everything out but when I go to true the waistline it seems impossible to have the CF and side seam at 90degrees to the waistline. When I drew R-Q-S it slanted slightly inward so once the dart intake is removed it is exaggerated and definitely not at 90 to the waistline. Did I do something wrong or is this ok? Thanks again for the tutorial it’s awesome!

    Reply
  96. Shalin

    Nice mockup illustrations.

    Regards,
    craetely

    Reply

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