I recently received a request to make a bamboo-bodice -tutorial. That fits perfectly in my latest theme: TR-cutting. As I’ve said before, you can find a bamboo-bodice also in the Pattern Magic -series, but I prefer Shingo Sato’s version.

Bamboo-bodice is an origami-technique that you can develop further into all kinds of different designs. In my previous post I added many pictures of origami-designs I’ve made if you want some inspiration.


As usual, it takes some time to prepare the pattern. More folds you want, more time it’ll take.

I was actually going to add a few videos to this tutorial, too, but in the end the files were too large for my blog! So you get a ton of pictures instead. Anyways, this is the resulting bodice.

bamboo bodice done


Bamboo-bodice pattern

The starting point is a basic bodice like this. You’ll need the whole front-piece. It’ll be easier to make a symmetrical design if you draw the central-line. Cut the pattern-piece following the edges.


Draw lines where you want the folds to go. Two of them will stop at the dart-points, the others must reach the edge of the bodice.

bamboo lines

Now you’ll need to add volume to each line so that you can fold them. Think of the folds as if they’re darts. They even have the same shape.

In this case, you start at the bottom. Cut the first bit, reaching the dart-point and close the dart.

first cut

This is kind of like moving the dart. Add some paper underneath the hole you created and close the new dart, folding it upwards to cut off extra paper from the waist-line. Lengthen the following line so that it reaches the middle of the dart. You should have something like this now:

first fold

Here’s how you make the second cut to reach the remaining dart-point.

second cut

Close the dart and fill the hole, leaving some extra paper.

close dart number2

To get the right shape, close the new dart and look at this picture (too difficult to explain by words!)

The result.

second fold

The next cut goes like this.

3rd cut

Now you get to decide the size of the fold. I added 8cm here.

adding volume

Continue like this to finish adding all the folds. Just remember to always do the folds upwards. In the end your pattern will look like this. If you made smaller folds, it won’t be so wide.

final pattern


Sewing the bamboo-bodice

Don’t add any seam-allowance in the middle, where the origami-folds are. Cut the fabric carefully, following the exact shape of the edge because that’ll be an important reference-point. Clip also the ending-points of the folds at the outer-edge. Here’s my bamboo-bodice right after cutting it. I marked the points I clipped. What a mess, right?


Don’t worry. With the help of your pattern, you’ll be able to put it together! So keep it at hand and use it when needed to see where you’re going. You just have to close all the folds again, in reverse order.

So, start by finding the reference-points of the last fold and close it.

first fold

Flip the following fold over it, matching the edges, and stitch. This will fix the first fold in place.

stitching dart

Close the second fold following the reference-points and stitch it in place the same way you did the one before.

second fold



Continue like this to finish all the folds. You’ll see the bodice starting to take the right shape as you go on. This is how it looks like when you’re done:



Other ideas

Just to give you some ideas to try next.

You might like to use two different colors or -textures.

two colors

This means you must split the pattern in two:

split pattern

The bamboo-bodice can also be done in the other direction. The folds go downwards.

reverse folds


finished pattern

It doesn’t have to be a bodice. Here’s a sleeve.

bamboo sleeve

sleeve draft

sleeve pattern

flat sleeve

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. I’m always open for suggestions, so if there’s some topic you’d want me to write about, just send me a message!


  1. Are we actually supposed to fill the spaces with extra fabrics? I am confused and I think a video will do me more good.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You fill the spaces with paper when preparing the pattern and then cut the fabric in the final shape with the help of the pattern. You can try searching “bamboo bodice” from youtube. I’m sure there are some videos that might help. 🙂

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