I have received lots of requests for a basic bodice pattern tutorial. It took me a while to finish this, because I didn’t want to copy any existing methods directly from a book.

Instead, I made my own version, mixing a few different methods. That of course meant testing a bunch of them to see what would work the best. The idea was to create the most simple pattern I possibly could without that affecting the result. It doesn’t mean this is an easy pattern, especially for beginners.

I know drafting the basic pattern blocks can be difficult and the bodice with darts isn’t the easiest among them. But once you have your very own made-to-measure basic bodice pattern, the reward is that you can turn it into a variety of different tops, shirts and dresses! And that is the fun part.

Update: Now there’s also a video version of this tutorial where I show you how to draft the pattern! Scroll to the end to signup and I’ll send you the links.

If you feel like you’re not ready for the bodice yet, why not start with the basic skirt pattern. For an easier, dartless bodice block, you’ll find instructions here.

I’ve also published a multi-size basic bodice block that you can purchase here. You only need to choose a size closest to your measurements, make a toile, and adapt the pattern. If you prefer to go that route.

Anyways.. where were we.? I used only the Metric system to create this tutorial, because I’m not very familiar with inches and not sure how precise the conversions would result. Hope that’s not a problem.

The Measurements Needed

These are the measurements you will need to draft the basic bodice pattern. As a reference I used the industrial size M. The horizontal measurements here are already divided in half.

Size M measurements for pattern drafting

If you don’t have your own measurement chart yet, you can get the link to download it by filling the sign up -form at the side panel (or at the bottom, in case of mobile version).

Basic Bodice pattern: starting point

Let’s start the pattern by drafting this rectangle here.

The height is your back waist/nape to waist length+ 2 cm.

The width is ½ bust circumference + 4 cm of ease. Instead of 4, you can also add just 2 cm of ease to get a more fitted bodice, but it’s easy to modify the pattern afterwards, too. I’ll keep both alternatives throughout the tutorial in any case.

Separate the little rectangle at the upper right corner.

The height is 2cm.

For the width, choose your measurement among these:

  • Size XS: 6,5cm
  • S: 7cm
  • M: 7cm
  • L: 7,5cm
  • XL: 8cm

Then draw the horizontal line in the middle using your armscye depth -measurement + 1,5 cm of ease. If you chose 2 cm of ease earlier, 0,7 cm here is enough. This will be the underarm line.

So for this example: 20cm+1,5cm = 21,5cm.

Mark the side seam position along the underarm line calculating ½ bust circumference /2 + 1,5 cm of ease from the right. (For the smaller amount of ease, add just 0,5 cm here.)

Using the reference measurements, the calculation would be: 46cm /2 =23cm + 1,5cm= 24,5cm.

You can also see 2 vertical lines on both sides. For the back side calculate ½ back width + 1,5 cm (or 0,7 cm) of ease.

For example 18cm +1,5cm = 19,5cm.

When it comes to the front side we also need to add 2 cm because of the bust dart. There’s an asterisk as this value depends on your bust dart width. But more on that later.

So ½ chest width + 2cm + 1,5cm (0,7 cm) of ease: 17cm +2cm +1,5cm = 20,5cm.

Bodice Pattern: Back piece

Now that we have the first part drafted, we can start filling in the details. The back-side first. I added numbers so it’s easier to understand which area I’m talking about.

Neckline, Shoulder slope, Armscye, Hipline

basic bodice pattern construction: back

1. Draw the neckline. At least the first 3cm from the c.back should be a completely straight line and then you can curve.

2. Measure 4,5cm from the top and draw a short parallel line. This will be the guideline for the shoulder slope. Then calculate your shoulder width + 1,5cm for the dart and draw a line starting from the base of neck and ending on the guideline you drew earlier.

3. Add a dart in the middle of the shoulder line. The length is 8 cm and width 1,5 cm.

4. To draft the armscye, first measure 5 cm upwards from the underarm line (=point A) And then mark point B in the middle of the shoulder tip and point A. These are your guide marks for the armscye and at the same time will be useful tacks later for a sleeve.

The armscye line should touch the point B, but stay a couple of mm outside of point A. Don’t curve too much.

5. At this point we can also add the hipline. So check your measurement chart for the distance between waist and hip.

Waist and Hip

Next up, the lower part of the back piece. Here you see some variation in the dart width and amount of ease. The idea is that you must balance the numbers depending on your own measurements.

If you don’t have much difference between your bust- and waist measurement, the dart needs to be smaller. Otherwise your side seam doesn’t have any curve. If needed, you could even reduce the amount of ease a bit.

On the other hand, if you have a really small waist or large bust, the side seam curve could be too steep unless you increase the dart width. You could even take in the back seam at the waistline.

basic bodice block construction: back

1. Mark the side seam along the waistline calculating ½ waist circumference /2 + dart width + 1,5cm (0,5cm) ease.

For this example I chose 2,5cm dart. So the calculation would be: 37cm /2 = 18,5cm + 2,5cm + 1,5cm = 22,5cm.

2. To find the location for the dart, first measure the center point between the side- and back seam at the waistline, and then move 1 cm towards the backseam. We already talked about the dart width, but as for the length, the dart ends 2 cm below the underarm line and 1 cm above the hipline.

3. Mark the side seam along the hipline calculating ½ hip circumference /2 + 1-1,5cm of ease (0,5cm for a more fitted bodice). Here again, you can adjust the amount of ease depending on your measurements.

For example 48cm / 2= 24cm + 1,5cm = 25,5cm.

Finally draw the side seam with the help of the two reference points, adding some curve to the waist and hip without exaggerating.

Bodice Pattern: Front piece

Now that the back piece is ready we can draft the front piece.

Neckline, Bust Dart

basic bodice pattern construction: front

1. Starting from the neckline. You can get the A-B distance from the back piece. Remember the little rectangle you drafted in the beginning..? The front neckline width is the same.

Add 1 cm to that to get the missing measurement from point A downwards. Now you can draw the front neckline.

2. Then we can tackle the bust dart. First mark point C. You can get the B-C measurement, too, from the back piece: it’s the distance between the base of neck and the little dart. The idea here is to have the two darts (front and back) match at the shoulder line.

Measure the bust level from point A downwards. Mark it at the c. front and then measure ½ distance between bustpoints to get the starting point for the bust dart. Unite it with point C.

Measure 7,5 cm from bust point upwards along the dart leg, then 2 cm* in a 90 degree angle and mark the point.

* Depending on the difference between bust- and above the bust -measurements. If there is very little difference, you can reduce the value a couple of millimeters. In the opposite case, you might want to increase. The maximum amount I’ve ever had to increase has been 5 mm.

Draw the other dart leg from the bust point, passing through the previous guide mark.

3. Measure 6,5 cm downwards from the top and draw a short parallel line.

Shoulder slope, Armscye, Waist, Hip

bodice pattern front darts

1. Close the bust dart by cutting open the little bit between c.front and bust point as in the picture.

Draw the shoulder slope with the dart closed using your shoulder width -measurement. It ends at the horizontal line you drafted previously. Then open the dart again and tape the bit you cut open.

2. To draw the armscye, let’s first add a guide mark 5 cm upwards from the underarm line. The front armscye line should touch this point. You can curve it more than the back armscye at the underarm region. Make a nice continuous line from front to back.

3. Draw a line from the bust point all the way down.

Measure the front waist length from point A downwards and draw a horizontal line that crosses with the one you just drew.

Measure ½ waist circumference + dart width + 2,5 cm (1,5 cm) ease to mark the side seam along the waistline. Here the rules are the same as with the back piece: find the dart width that best suits your measurements.

In my example 37cm /2 = 18,5cm + 3cm + 2,5cm = 24cm

The widest point of the waist dart should be at the front waist level. The dart starts 2 cm below the bust point and ends at hipline.

4. Measure ½ hip circumference + 1-2,5 cm (1,5 cm) of ease depending on your measurements.

For example 48cm /2 = 24cm + 2,5cm = 26,5cm.

Finally, draw the side seam respecting the two reference points and curving the line slightly at the waist and hip.

The Basic Bodice Block is Ready

Here is the end result using the size M measurements. Bare in mind that these are so called ideal measurements, so don’t worry if your pattern looks different.

basic bodice pattern

Bodice Sleeve Pattern

The bodice will also need a sleeve that goes with it. We’ll get most of the measurements directly from the bodice.

Other measurements: the total sleeve length and the elbow level. It’s also good to have the upper arm circumference.

Here’s a picture of the bodice with the areas to measure.

The Sleeve Cap

1. Start the pattern by drawing these 3 horizontal lines. The first two are 5 cm apart from each other. To draw the uppermost line, measure the distance between the underarm line and the shoulder tip of your bodice back (1) with a straight line. *Detract the following cm (=x) from the measurement :

  • Size XS: 3,5 cm
  • S: 3,5 cm
  • M: 3,5 cm
  • L: 4 cm
  • XL: 4cm

For example, my bodice size is M, so I’d detract 3,5 cm.

2. Then mark the starting point for the sleeve cap along the future bicep line. Measure the bit 2A from the bodice and add 1 cm. From that point, draw a vertical line straight up to the second horizontal line.

The next measurement is that between the armhole notch and the shoulder point of the bodice front (3), measured in a straight line. Add 1 cm of ease.

Draw a slanted line using this measurement ending on the uppermost guideline.

Then do the same with the bodice back (4). This time the line goes in the other direction and ends on the second guideline.

Draw a vertical line straight down from that point. Then measure the bit 2B from the bodice and mark the end point of the sleeve along the bicep line.

3. Now we have this house-shaped sleeve cap. Mark the middle point along the two slanted lines (=reference points). Then draw your sleeve cap as in the picture.

The front armhole line should start with a more pronounced curve on the bicep line.

Use the reference points to shape the upper part of the sleeve cap; at these points, the curve should be at its maximum, about 1,5-2cm away from the slanted line. The front side is usually more round than the back side.

Notice where I placed the sleeve armhole notches: 5 cm above the bicep line, just like the bodice has its armhole notches 5 cm above the underarm line.

Sleeve Cap -check

Compare the measurements of the sleeve cap and the armscye lines of the bodice, on both sides of the armhole notches. The basic sleeve has about 10% of ease between the cap notch and the armhole notch, both front and back. Meaning the sleeve cap is bigger than the armhole of the bodice.

So measure the armscye line length of the bodice between the armhole notch and the shoulder tip, and add 10% to get the measurement needed for the sleeve cap. For example if the measurement is 13cm, the ease would be 1,3cm and as a result, the sleeve cap should measure 14,3cm.

If you’re not happy with the measurements, try to adjust the sleeve cap shape. You can modify the cap width and -height. And also move the cap notch a bit to left or right if you need to distribute the ease.

The remaining part of the sleeve cap, after the armhole notch, should have the same measurement as the bodice. You can adjust the sleeve size if needed.

Finally, measure the bicep line length and compare it to your upper arm circumference to see if the sleeve will be wide enough at that point.

Rest of the Sleeve

When you’ve controlled and adjusted the sleeve cap, mark the middle of the bicep line and draw a line straight down from that point. This will be the grainline of your sleeve pattern. It doesn’t always coincide with the cap notch btw.

Measure the total length of your sleeve starting from the top of the sleeve cap and choose the hemline width. It could be for example 26 cm. So divide 13 cm on both sides of the centre line. Then draw the underseams and finally the elbow line.

Final Touches and Toile

Now you’re supposed to copy the pattern. Never cut the original. Check all the lines. They should continue smoothly between the front- and back pieces. The waistlines should match. Close the little shoulder dart at the back, re-draw the shoulderline and cut. Check that the two darts match at the shoulderline.

Make a toile to check the fit so you can make corrections to your original pattern. Besides the general fit all around, you will want to check for example the shoulder seam position and if you managed to get the bust points right.

Check the fit of the sleeves: do they feel too tight, can you move your arms back and forth without the fabric pulling? How’s the length?

Once you’re happy with the result, the basic bodice pattern is ready for use. Let me know if you encountered problems and if there’s something that isn’t clear.

Here you can sign up to receive links to a video version of this tutorial and a summary on the basic bodice pattern construction. If you are already on my mailing list, you can download the summary from the resource library.

Related Posts

Updated 8.12.19: added the sleeve.


  1. I am grateful for this Milan, thank you!
    I employ a different method when drafting my basic bodice pattern and with this, I think I have a few adjustments to add to mine and see how the outcome will be.
    On the other hand, since there is a 2cm difference in the back and front waist level measurement, I was thinking this pattern would a bust dart to account for that difference?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂 The amount of difference between back and front waist level depends on the bust size. When you take the front waist measurement, you pass the measuring tape over the bust, which causes the measurement to become longer than that of the back waist. The bust dart only affects the chest width. Let me know then how your pattern adjustments work. 🙂

  2. I wanted to just say that this website is absolutely wonderful. Please keep up the amazing work! I’ve bookmarked you to my favorites too. :o) If you haven’t yet, please consider a blogpost on pants, and different dart manipulations for pants. Keep up the amazing work!

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Thank you so much. 🙂 I’m very pleased to hear that. Thanks for the suggestions, I will keep them in mind. Actually was going to make myself a pair of culottes and write a post about it, so that’s something.

    • Yeah, agree! I have been looking for such a wonderful tutorial like this for a long time. Thanks so much and please keep it up!

    • Hi Minna, I followed the instructions and drafted bodice nicely.. but for the sleeve pattern drafting its very weird in shape..
      The measurements i got from my bodice, 1= 12.75cm; 2A= 4.8cm; 2B=3.25cm; 3=8.1cm; 4=8cm.
      Please help me here🤯

      • Hello there. 🙂 If you haven’t resolved this one yet, feel free to email me a picture of your pattern. The numbers look much smaller than usual, but they are in harmony, so maybe your pattern is small altogether. I can’t tell where the problem is based on these measurements.

    • Nomfundo Mcotama Reply

      I’m so greatful to look at the videos. I’m looking to see more of these videos. Thank u

  3. I have found your directions for the Dartless bodice block very helpful till I get to the sleeve
    I cannot work out the how to get the bicep line measurement to work mine will not look like your “house shape “ and I am using your sizeM measurements
    Can you help me?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Hi Liz! 🙂 Hmm.. I think I need to see your draft. Could you send me a picture of the bodice and the sleeve with the measurements you get from the bodice at info(a)theshapesoffabric.com?

  4. Hi, thank you so much for the tutorial. I am a beginner and I plan on making my very first dress using this! I only have one question, since the bust lines go on top of each other, how will I cut it?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Hi Deniz. You’re welcome. I’m actually just preparing the next tutorial on dress patterns, so you might find that useful, too. 🙂 What do you mean by bust lines going on top of each other though? You can send me a picture of your pattern, if it’s easier to explain: info(a)theshapesoffabric.com

      • First of all, thanks for the fast reply! Second, I was trying to say hip lines haha

        • shapesoffabric Reply

          Ahh! 😀 Ok, so you just copy both the front and back piece separately on a new paper without overlapping and the problem is solved. 🙂

        • Stephanie Lee Reply

          I am not done with this post yet, only halfway through. But your introduction made me wonder – you said you took a while to create this post because you mixed a few methods and had to test them out first. But what is the method that you’ve been using all along? Instead of creating a new one for us, why didn’t you just share the one you’ve been using? Is it too complicated? Or it’s reserved as your trade secret or something? Sorry if this question sounds silly. Thank you!

          • No problem. 🙂 The base of the patternmaking method I use, I learned at school here in Milan. It’s their own method and the only place to learn it, is to go to that school. I believe it’s copyrighted. I can use it but not teach it. So no books available either. Yes, it’s a more complex method and also industrial. I’ve heard it’s quite widely used in different Italian fashion houses.

  5. Wow Milan, your bodice tutorial is amazingly easy to comprehend, I actually did mine with the same measurement you made use of but my shoulder measurement didn’t get to the vertical line whereas yours exceeded it. Please where did I go wrong

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      I’m pleased that you found it helpful. Did you add 1.5cm for the dart? Don’t worry about the shoulder measurement. Sometimes it doesn’t go over the line. Depends on the person’s back width vs. shoulder length ratio. In any case you can adjust everything when you make the toile. This is like a sketch. 🙂

      • Oi antonina. o olho do braco a que ela se refere traduzindo ao portugues e a cava.

  6. Nice work Milan but I don’t know how to make the adjustment around the sleeve cap

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      What kind of adjustment are you looking to make? Reduce or add?

    • ‘Add’ please but then knowing how to ‘reduce’ too won’t be bad at all

      • shapesoffabric Reply

        I emailed you some pics and instructions. Hope that helps. 🙂

        • Hi Milan, my bad I’m just replying now. I only got to see the email you sent me few days ago only to lose it while trying to view it . thanks for sending it anyway, I sincerely appreciate

          • shapesoffabric

            Don’t worry. Let me know if you want me to re-send it.

  7. Hi Milan, I’m looking forward for a wonderful trouser block from you

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      That’s on the 4th place in my tutorial queue at the moment. 😀

  8. i didn’t get the part of the shoulder dart. can you explain after you close the dart from which point you draw the shoulder slope. even if you have a picture to send me, that would help!


    • shapesoffabric Reply

      I’m not sure if I understood your question correctly. But you need to draw the shoulder slope first, calculating your shoulder width + 1.5cm for the dart. And then add the dart right in the middle of the shoulder slope. If you have problems, you can send me a picture of your pattern, showing which point is puzzling you, so I’ll try to help. 🙂

      • Aloyse Jossie Alexander Reply

        Hi Milan
        I just found you Pintrest yesterday and I’m glad to know I can get professional advice on pattern- making and drafting. I always struggle with this, so thank you for your assistance .

  9. Hi Milan, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. After trying a lot of pattern making tutorials, I find yours is the most logical one. My only question is: since we drop the center front waist line according to front and back waist level difference, do we need to drop the center front hip level as well or keep it a straight line?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m happy to share. In general, it’s a good idea to slightly drop the hemline of the garment as well if you have a larger bust, because the hemline tends to rise. This is more visible in blouses than dresses. But for the basic pattern, you can leave the hipline straight.

      • Thank you for the quick reply 🙂 May I ask one more question 🙂 Personally, I’m not a fan of shoulder darts, so I shifted the front shoulder dart to about 5 cm below armhole, using bust point as a guide for my new dart and it worked great. But when it comes to back, I got confused. I’d like to cancel the shoulder dart and add it to the existing waist dart. My problem is, waist dart is going straight up and the shoulder dart goes another direction. I would appreciate if you could advice about back piece dart manipulation.

  10. Hi!
    So I used this guide to help create a bodice block with my mom, and it worked great! The only problem that I’ve encountered is that there is a bit of gapping at the back of the armhole, where rather than lying flat it gaps away from the body. Any suggestion on where to remove fabric to adjust this? I considered adding a third dart to remove it, but would to not complicate the pattern. Any help would be really appreciated!

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Hi Sean. 🙂 I’m glad you succeeded with making the bodice. If there will be sleeves, it’s a good idea to leave the gaping be, as it makes the garment more comfortable to wear (it’s kind of like ease). But for garments without sleeves you could try to eliminate the gaping either from the tip of the shoulder or the side seam, depending which is closer. Also, binding the armhole gives you the possibility to reduce gaping by using a slightly shorter binding tape.

  11. Such a wonderful tutorial but I don’t see how I can make the bodice for a barbie, if you could help because I’m a bit confused.

    • Thank you. 🙂 If you didn’t find them yet, the Barbie pattern set is a download that can be found in the “Download free patterns” -section on the right side (or the bottom of the page if you’re on mobile). Let me know if you don’t see them.

  12. Hiya! Me again.

    I want to use this method to create patterns for vintage inspired doll dresses. A lot of sheathe dresses in the 50s style have a side bust dart, instead of one going from the shoulder. How can that be achieved here? Just disregarding the shoulder bust dart bit and working in a dart later on or?

    • Vintage doll dresses? Sounds cool! Well, you can rotate one or both darts to the side. There’s a tutorial on Dart manipulation basics that explains this. 🙂

  13. I am sorry Happy new year
    I need to know how to make basic body blocks (body/sleeve/pants)

    • Happy New Year to you, too. 🙂 You can find all the basic block tutorials here on my blog. Search the tags and they should appear.

      • Hello, milan. Your basic bodice explanation is the best. Please can you help create a tutorial on how to use this pattern to create an offshoulder blouse? Thank

  14. Oluwatoyin Reply

    Weldon ma, pls what’s the distance of the front shoulder dart ma? Pls can you explain why you used chest width for the front shoulder and back width for the back shoulder?

    • Those measurements are not actually for drafting the shoulders, the pattern is just constructed in this order so it might sound misleading. The part where you draft the shoulder slope comes after, and in the end both front and back shoulder slope have the same shoulder width measurement. 🙂

  15. hello there , you pattern has been really helpful for me to develop a fitted wedding dress . I just wanna ask that while doing the sleeve pattern, my front sleeve turn out to be 1.9cm longer and back sleeve 1.3 cm longer . are these extra length is the ease ? and from the underarm line to the armhole notch it doesn’t match my bodice . thank you <3

    • Hi! A wedding dress? Wow! Glad to help. 🙂 Did you check the sleeve cap with the “walking” method? That’s more accurate. The front sleeve sounds like it might have a bit too much ease. Usually the back side has more than the front. Try re-shaping the front side of the sleeve cap and distributing the remaining ease by moving the central notch slightly towards the front. Or you could lower the sleeve cap and check again. When it comes to the lower part of the sleeve cap, you can move the end points of the bicep line so that the armhole line lengths match with the bodice. 🙂 Then check the final length of the bicep line to ensure that it’s big enough for your upper arm circumference.

  16. Hi Milan, thanks so much for this tutorial it has been the most helpful and straight to the point tutorial I have come across. However I have an issue understanding a particular portion of this bodice pattern tutorial. Can you please shed more light on the front piece shoulder dart, the part where I have to close the bust dart (for the Front Piece) by cutting open at the bust point, draw the shoulder slope and then open up the dart again before taping it. Do I literally need to cut it open with a pair of scissors or how exactly do I go about that. Thanks.

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m happy to have created a useful tutorial. Yes, you cut the pattern with scissors. It’s similar to dart rotation. That way the dart volume goes temporarily in another direction allowing you to draw the shoulder line. Then you repair the cut with tape when you’re done and the dart volume is back where it was originally.

  17. Céline Keiser Reply

    Hi there!
    Is your Name Minna or Milan? couldnt quite figure it out^^
    First of all thank you so much for your pattern, I’m learning so much through it at the moment!
    So my armscye is a bit more narrow as yours in the pattern and so my shoulder points are overlapping, is that normal or did I maybe do something wrong? This also results in my sleeve cap beeing more round and longer than yours. I’ll try a toile with this pattern anyway but maybe you already know an answer…

    Happy to hear from you 🙂

    • Hello Céline! I’m Minna, and I Live in Milan. 😀 Don’t worry about your bodice looking different. It’s always a result of the personal measurements. So, as everybody has their own measurements, also the resulting patterns look different. I used industrial measurements that produce a harmonious pattern, as they are based on an “ideal shape”. If you took your measurements correctly, it should be ok. Maybe you had wider shoulders or neckline, or a larger bust dart. In any case you can correct any errors at the fitting phase. 🙂 If you encounter problems, you can email me a picture of your pattern and the measurements so I can have a look.

  18. Hello, Minna! Thank you so much for taking the time to develop this wonderful bodice draft!
    I would like to use the same method to develop a bodice for a 71 cm doll. (Just Play Best Friend Barbie) I can follow your steps, but the amount of cm added to the body measurements is throwing me off since the tutorial is for a human body and not a doll. My doll measures 30.5 cm bust, 21 cm waist, 16 cm from shoulder to waist (over the breast), 9 cm from under arm to waist, 10 cm back (from shoulder to shoulder, and 13 cm back length (from nape to waist)

    I made patterns buy wrapping the doll in tape and then tracing on paper, but I just want to have a basic pattern that is not bent out of shape because of the darts. Sorry for the long explanation!

    Would you kindly give me a way to convert/calculate how many cm and ease to add for a doll her size? Thank you so very much for your time!!!

    • Hi Jackie! 🙂 You’re welcome. Looking at the measurements of the doll, they seem to be about a third or a bit less compared to human measurements. So I’d just add a third of each amount of ease mentioned here and see how that goes. In the end the ease ensures that the bodice will be comfortable to wear when moving around, but for a doll it’s not so essential.

  19. Hi! I found this article, read it, bookmarked it and also subscribed! Its very helpful, its great what you’re doing and providing. But I also want to the problems and solution in the shoulderline. Please write up and bless your readers with your experience and wisdom!
    Much Love <3

    • Thank you! 🙂 Did you see the bodice fitting tutorial already? There are a few shoulder corrections in it. I suppose I could add something to this tutorial, too.

  20. Hi Thank you for this, its amazing. Do you have guide to basic Mens block as well? Please do a blog about that as well 🙂

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Unfortunately I’m only specialized in women’s wear, so I don’t know much about men’s patterns. But hoping someone more expert could guest blog about this.

    • Shirley Sitaldin Reply

      I am very happy with this basic pattern from Milaan. I can not wait to try to make mine. The way you explain everything is for me clear
      Even English is not my mother tongue. I am looking for more. Thsnk you for sharing your professional knowledge with so many people. God bless you!

  21. not sure what I did wrong but when I fold front shoulder dart its about 2cm shorter than my shoulder measurement. what do I do?

    • The front shoulder is too short? You can re-draw the shoulder line to get the correct shoulder measurement. Keep the dart closed while drawing. End on the guideline as before so that the inclination remains the same.

    • andrea McPherson Reply

      many thanks. I closed the dart when drawing shoulder but dart its still short. can I adjust the shoulder dart.

      • That shouldn’t be an issue, so I think you might be attempting to end the shoulder line at a certain point. But the shoulder line can finish anywhere along the horizontal guideline, so just make a longer guideline if it’s too short, and incline your ruler further to the right. 🙂

  22. This is a great tutorial, but as I was making my toile, my head couldn’t fit through the top. My natural curly/kinky hair made it a little difficult, but even after pushing it down, it couldn’t clear my head. Can I change the 1/2 neckline measurement to half the circumference of my head, especially since this is for woven fabric.

    • Oh, that’s not a problem. You need to cut the bodice back in two halves so that you’ll be able to put it on. Leave a seam allowance that you can close with pins along the c-back line. 🙂

      • So when making shirt patterns, I’ll need to use a zipper or buttons to close the top after I get my head through?

        • Yes. The basic bodice has a small neckline, but whenever you’re making the actual patterns you need to calculate the neckline size so that the head will pass through. Or leave an opening somewhere, that can be closed with a zipper or buttons if you want. 🙂

  23. Hi dear, you are amazing .thank you so much .this article is the best .I wish you the best 🌺🌺🌺🌺

      • I wish there was a pictorial image for taking measurement on a human figure.because when you say chest width and back width I would have wish for a pic.
        Love your work.

        • Do you have my body measurement chart already? It has the points marked where to take each measurement. But as for the chest and back width, I find it helpful to wear a snug fitting top with sleeves when taking the measurements. This way you can use the sleeve seams as a reference: the chest and back measurement are taken between the points where the arms begin.

  24. Hi! I must say I love your tutorials. Keep up the great work 👍 So concerning the basic FRONT bodice, the difference between my upper/above bust and bust is 2.5cm. Is it okay to go with the 2cm you used (in a 90° angle) for the bust dart? Or should the value be the difference? Thanks in advance 😊

      • Francisca Gondwe Reply

        Hi, am learning a lot from this basic pattern. My question is similar to the one Mercy has asked. My upper bust measurement difference with the bust is 14 cm. How much dart allowance can I put for the front bodice?

        • It’s great that you’re learning. 🙂 I assume you mean 14cm considering full circumference, so 7cm difference for the half circumference.? That’s quite a lot, so you might need to divide the bust dart into two darts, because having only one dart would make it fairly large. Try making the dart 3cm wide at the 7.5cm point. After you’ve drawn the front shoulder line, rotate 1/3-half of the bust dart towards c-front (you can later rotate it to the side seam for example, when you’ve separated the front and back bodice pieces).
          Also, the bodice might become rather snug around the bust and chest due to the size of the bust dart, so you can compensate by adding some extra width to the upper part of the side seam and chest area.

  25. Many many thanks for this inspiring piece. My sloper seem quite fine. One little observation. When i folded by front sholder dart my front piece measurement is smaller than my actual measurement.

    what i could possible do wrong.



    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Yes, this can happen if your bust point is a bit lower or/and the dart volume is larger. You can check this by measuring the dart width at the armscye line. If you notice it’s wider than 1cm, you need to add to the side seam under the armhole. You could also add a bit to the chest area along the front armscye.

  26. Hello! Please, is the front and back shoulder slope (4.5cm & 6.5cm) universal? Because I made a toile and my armhole was really small I couldn’t fit into it (I couldn’t lift my hands). Could it be that my chest and back width wasn’t accurately measured?! So would you please tell me how to accurately measure my chest and back width? Thank you.

    • Yes, it’s universal, but often you’ll end up changing the inclination when doing the fitting. If you can’t lift your hands, it sounds like the problem could rather be in the armscye line depth. Do you have quite straight shoulders? That would mean that you need to lift both the shoulder tip and the armscye line upward. I have a bodice fitting tutorial here on my blog that you might find useful.
      If you made the bodice with sleeves, remember to add enough ease (the larger amount option here), especially to the chest and back. Those measurements are taken between the points where the arms start and then you add ease.

  27. Thank you for this tutorial! I made a bodice for a dress using your method and the Valentina software project. It fit perfectly! I even manipulated the darts! So pleased!

    • Oh wow! I’m very happy to hear. I’ve actually downloaded that program several months ago but never used it yet. I somehow always prefer the pen and paper. 😀

  28. Thank you so much I’ve always wanted to learn how to take measurements, cut and sew any thing other than skirts. This is very detailed and helpful

  29. Thank you so much for this but please how did you get the armscye measurement?

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 The armscye measurement comes out automatically as you draft the block. The size depends on: the bust circumference, chest width, back width, shoulder width, and the armscye depth measurements.

  30. ciao Minna, grazie per condividere il tuo lavoro! fai delle cose pazzesche!
    Sto provando a seguire il tuo schema ma ho dei dubbi su come prendere esattamente le misure della larghezza posteriore (BACK WIDTH) e del seno (CHEST WIDTH). Certamente sbaglio qualche cosa… Mi puoi aiutare a risolvere il dubbio? grazie mille! 🙂

  31. Md.Mejbanul Hossain Biddut Reply

    Thank you for this tutorial. but i do not understand how many shoulder forward in your basic.

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Do you mean what is the front shoulder line length? It should be your exact shoulder measurement when the bust dart is closed. If you rotate the dart to the c-front, you’ll be able to draft the shoulder line with the dart closed.

  32. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I understand everything but I usually use inches in my draft, the conversion is hell to me .All those 2cm,5cm etc am I to convert them directly? Or are there fixed converted value for them?

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Yeah, I know about the struggle. For me it’s the opposite; I struggle with inches. Yes, you can convert them directly. Don’t worry about small differences, you can round them up slightly if you can’t get an exact number.

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  34. Hi! I have a question about drafting the sleeve. My bicep line ended up smaller than my upper arm circumference, should I lengthen it on either side?
    But if so, the distance between underam and notch will be too big now? But if I move the notch down the sleeve cap will be too big? Any help is appreciated!

    • Hi! To make the sleeve wider, you can lower the uppermost line at the construction phase some more (the amount depends on how much wider the sleeve has to be). This makes the sleeve cap lower but you gain more width. Try for example lowering it by 1cm and see how much you gain. 🙂

  35. I just discovered this wonderful page on Pinterest and I feel so glad, thank you for all the knowledge you share

    • You’re welcome, and welcome to my blog! 🙂 I really should get back to creating pins. Have been quite lazy lately. 😀

    • I have a body measurement chart with instructions for taking the measurements. You can request it via the sign up form in the side panel. 🙂

  36. Seema Zatar Reply

    Hello darling
    Im really thankful for this tutorial
    Im really confused here
    As u mentioned
    There is 4cm difference between back and front waist length
    And i cant see this difference in length
    Can u please tell me where did u put the extra 4cm in the front pattern
    Thanks a lot

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 The difference in the waist height shows when you draw the front waistline on your front bodice block (there are two lines at the front waist). This will mostly be useful when you draft a waist-length pattern out of the basic block.

      • seema zatar Reply

        thanks a lot for replying me
        this new line on the front waist only 2 cm
        but what about the other 2 cm
        as the difference is 4cm between back and front waist
        and also what if i want to draft the whole pattern (hips length included)
        thats mean we have to add these two cm to make room for the bust area
        can we add them on the top of the pattern (nickline)

        • Those 2cm depend on the different points where the front and the back waist are measured: at the shoulder or at the back of the neck. You can lower the front hipline slightly for hip length garments, too. I’ve always had issues when adding the extra room at the neckline/shoulder section instead (I’ve found instructions that tell you to do so if there’s a large bust). Even with a more sizable bust I’ve ended up having to remove what I added when doing the fitting because it would just remain as extra volume at the top of the bodice. But of course my experience is not universal. 😀

  37. Hi Minna,
    I’m trying to figure out the armscye guidemark (Point B) – do we draw a new line between point A and the shoulder tip, then mark the point B or the Point B is on the guideline (right angle to the armscye depth & top of the box)?

    • Hi Tomoko, sorry for the late reply. Just in case you haven’t resolved this problem yet, point B is on the existing (back width) guideline. 🙂

  38. Hi Milan,

    I’m not sure I understand how you calculate the shoulder width. In your example the measurement is 12,5cm but that’s half the shoulder width to begin with correct ? So of you double it (which feels wrong to me cause we are not account for the neck at this point) would amount to 25cm. So would the shoulder dimension than be 25cm + 1,5cm fir the dart?

    • Hi Frankie. 🙂 I know often the shoulder measurement is taken differently to draft the bodice pattern, so that’s probably what’s causing the confusion. In this case, it’s the actual shoulder slope length, between the base of neck and the tip of the shoulder.

  39. Wow thank you for this!! I have never seen anyone else do a difference in waist length between front and back. Not one of my pattern books do this or any of the professors when I was in school taught this. It makes so much sense! Front waist is always too short at first fit. I’ve been looking for a new drafting method as I’ve not been happy with how many adjustments I need to make with the ones I’ve been using. I’m excited to try this out!!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 Glad that it was helpful. Yes, there are various different methods for drafting patterns, so you just need to keep testing and find the one that works best for you. I hope this bodice will not require as many adjustments. 🙂

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