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How To Make A Bodice Pattern-How To Make A Shirt

How To Make A Bodice Pattern-How To Make A Shirt

HOW TO MAKE A BODICE PATTERN/HOW TO MAKE A SHIRT: On this segment I will demonstrate the bodice sloper, also known as a shirt pattern.The bodice is far more intricate than most other slopers because of the various points of measurement.At first, it may seem a little overwhelming but, towards the end you’ll understand what’s going on because I’ve made sure that all the steps are laid out for you in plain, simple and easy to understand terms.  If you have a dress form that’s an exact replica of your measurement, please use that otherwise we’ll have to improvise.  We’re only taking half of the body measurement from the front and the back.  The ease for each measurement is included in the worksheet, which is linked below.  Watch the video twice and follow along with the print out before you begin drafting the pattern.  You’ll need sharp pencils, straight clear ruler, french curve ruler, tracing wheel, measuring tape, pattern paper or the back of gift wrapping paper.  The pattern paper is important since many of the lines have to be parallel to the centers.

Don’t have the tools, I’ve included a link with purchasing information.

Wear a tank top or leotard preferably with a side seam, over the bra you normally wear.  The masking tape will be placed at various points of the body. I’m using masking tape because it’s easy to write on and stays put.  The pattern is 2 dimensional so it’s essential to test fit the final sloper on muslin.


FRONT LENGTH: Place the tape at the neckline shoulder seam intersection and have it go over the APEX (nipple) and end at the waistline.

APEX: From the nipple to the center of the bustling.


  1. Use the tape already placed for the front length and obtain the Shoulder neckline to collar bone measurement.

  2. Place a piece of tape from the collarbone to the hallow of the throat-obtain that measurement:


Measure from the established armhole, which is 1” from the armhole, over the apex to the CF seam. ADD 1/2” for ease


Measure 1” below the armhole down to the established WL tape.


Measure from the Sideseam over to the belly button plus 1/2” for ease.


Measure from center of WL tape at the side seam around the arm to masking tape at end of shoulder. ( Look at illustration)


Measure from NL to Shoulder seam at the armhole intersection


Measure from the underarm seam to the CB ( which is the spinal column) and add 1” for ease.


Measure from the first protroding bone on the neck down the spinal column plus 1/8” for ease.

BACK WAISLTINE: From spinal column to Sideseam plus 1/4” ease

SHOULDER BLADE: Measure from neckline at CB The widest part of your back to your armhole ( you’ll need assistance with this one)

Download [26.76 KB]


Cut a 30” square paper and fold paper in half

Come down 1” from the top edge of the paper, place a mark on the fold

From the mark, use the front length measurement of the bodice and place a mark. For example mine is (17 1/2” )

Using the bust width measurement extend a line out from the top and bottom marks, place a notch at the end of the line For example mine is (9 3/4” )

Connect the notches and label CF

Draw a line from the top and bottom edge notches to create the block

Before proceeding to the next step, label the bodice block as illustrated.

Use the neck shoulder to (collarbone) measurement and place a mark.

From there use the (collarbone)  to the hallow of the throat measurement ,extend a line to create a box. Make sure the line is parallel from the edge of the paper.

Using a french curve ruler, with the curved edge touching the top of the box and the shallower edge touching the lower box, draw in your neckline. Label the top of the NL (A) and lower neckline (B)

Measure the distance from the end of the neckline to the bottom of the waistline and divide by 2, place a notch and label ( THIS IS THE BUSTLINE)

From the bust line mark use your APEX measurement and extend a line. Place a dot and label APEX.

From the APEX point extend a straight line using a ruler, The light must be parallel to the CF. (this will represent the center leg of the waistline dart)

At the waistline from the fold measure in  1 1/4”,  place a dot and label it C.

Using the underarm length (also known as the sideseam), from C extend a line towards the fold, place a mark and label it D and connect both points.

To determine the dart excess, use the front waistline worksheet measurement: You’ll need the draft waist measurement ( which is the width of the measurement on the pattern paper) and your actual waist measurement.


Draft waist = 28 1/8” My waist= 26

Difference = 2 1/8”

Divide 2 1/8” by 2 = Each dart leg is 1 1/16”

Take that number and place a notch from each side of the APEX line.

Now extend lines to the APEX.


From D extend a line that is 2” ( Your corresponding armhole length is listed below)

Download [13.18 KB]

Place a notch and label it E

From D go over a 1/4” place a mark and label it F

From E go up 2 1/2”, place a mark and label it G

From the WL fold ,using the front length measurement ,place a mark and label it H

from H go over 1/2”, place a mark and label it I

Place the french curve so it’s touching points F,G and I ,draw in the armhole. ( Pay close attention to how all 3 points are touching the armhole before drawing in the armhole curve)


From A go down 1/2” and place a notch

Place the ruler at points I and A without connecting them.

From I measure half of the shoulder plus 1/8” for ease and place a mark.

From A measure half of the shoulder measurement plus 1/8” for ease and place a mark.

Connect both points to the APEX dot.

Crease the dart , so the excess is towards the neckline.

Pin and use a ruler to connect points A & I

Using a tracing wheel, trace the shoulder line dart.

Open the draft and draw in the traced line.


Refold the draft, Trace the WL, underarm seam C, D

Turn to the back bodice and pencil in all the underarm seam and notch at fold.

Using the width of the back measurement ( 9” ) extend a line from the WL and 1” down from the top of the draft and place a notch.

On the CB line, use the back length measurement from the WL, place mark and label it J

Trace the guideline from the front of the bodice onto the back, pencil in the guideline on the back and label guideline

Trace the F cross mark from the front of the bodice onto the back and pencil it in.

Label the straight edge CB

Using the CB line measurement, measure up from the WL place a notch and label it J.


Do the following to determine the position and amount of your CB dart:

Find the distance of the first CF dart Turn over to the CB sloper, use the distance from the CF dart, place a dot and label K ( pls note – I forgot the label my draft) . This will represent the first leg of your dart. The CB WL dart intake is equivalent to that of the CF dart intake,

From J measure down one 1/4 of the CB length, mark and label L

From the dot extend a line using the should blade measurement

From J go up 2” and place a mark

From the mark, go out 2” place a mark and label it M,

Use the french curve ruler to draw in the neckline curve

Completely open the draft

Lightly connect points M and I with a ruler

From M, use one-half of the shoulder measurement plus 1/8” for ease dot and label N For example my shoulder measurement is 5, so half of that is 2 1/2

From N measure 1/2” for the shoulder dart, dot and label O.

From O, use half of the shoulder measurement, plus 1/8” for ease, dot and label P

Connect N to the Apex

From the line go up 1” from the shoulder blade and place a mark.

Draw a line from the dot to O


Crease the shoulder line dart towards the armhole and trace.

Use a french curve ruler to draw in the shoulder

Once you remove the french curve ruler , trace the dart

Open draft and pencil in traced line.


Place ruler at L, where it’s intersecting the WL and under seam and draw a broken line ( I’m using the red marker so it’s more visible)

On that guideline, and L, come down 1” and label it Q

Place the french curve ruler so it’s touching P,Q,F

L will blend in while drawing in the curve.

Make sure to draw in a heavier pencil line.


Draw a 1” line below the original waistline and cut away the excess.

Crease either side of the underarm seam, the back & front darts, please play attention to the direction of the overlay ( the dart excess) so that it’s folded nearest to the Center and pin.

Use a french curve ruler to blend the waistline. With the draft pinned, trace through the dart underlays.

Open the draft and pencil in the traced lines using a french curve ruler.

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