How to Draft A Fitting Back Bodice Block

I’ve talked about pattern blocks and how they can make pattern making easier by offering a basic template to work on. Instead of buying pre-drafted pattern blocks I decided to make my own. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds, especially if you have a copy of Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Pattern Making for Fashion Design.

The instructions are clear and to the point. The illustrations in this post are taken from this book.

For the front bodice check out my previous post, Sewing Course Lesson 2 – How To Make a Basic Bodice Block.

Step 1

How to Draft A Fitting Back Bodice Block

Starting from the left side of your paper, draw a line AB with the same length as your full length measurement (check out this post if you’re not sure which measurements you have to take).
Then draw a line AC equal to your across the shoulder measurement. Square down from C 3 inches.
Draw a line BD measuring the same as your center back length, then square out 4 inches from this point
Draw BE, which is equal to your back arc + 3/4 inch. From E square up a few inches.

Step 2


Draw AF, which is your back neck measurement and add 1/8 inch so the bodice won’t feel to tight around your neck.
Draw BG, which is the shoulder slope measurement and add a 1/8 inch
Daw FH, which is your shoulder length + 1/2 inch. Square down from F to D
BI is your dart placement and BJ is your waist arc, plus dart intake of 1 1/2 inches, plus another 1/4 inch for ease.
IK is your dart intake measurement.

Step 3

To get JM square down 3/16 inch
MN is your side length measurement
To get LO square up from L 1 inch less than MN
Draw the fart legs from O and then draw lines from K to M and from B to I.
Mark half of GH to create a point P
Draw a 3 inch line PQ in the direction of the O point
PR measures 1/4 inch. Draw a dart leg from Q and connect to F. Mark 1/4 inch from P and draw the other dart leg.
DS is 1/4 of DB
ST is your across back measurement with a 1/4 inch added for ease.
Draw the armhole and the neckline with a French Curve.

Even though this looks a little complicated, once you have the measurements drawing the lines is pretty straightforward.

This bodice has a vintage vibe: super slim waist, (almost) pointy bust, fits at the true waist. It’s also interesting because those back darts make it very stylish. I think I could use this bodice as it is to make a fitted dress, I made the bodice our of fabric to see how it fits, but I am not sure I want a dress that’s that form fitting at the moment.

I will update this post when I write more about the adjustments I made to it.

Do you draft your own patterns? Any tips?

2 thoughts on “How to Draft A Fitting Back Bodice Block”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top