Make a Pattern for Sewing a simple BODICE.
What is a Bodice ?
It is the body of a dress or blouse – the garment which you wear on the upper part of the body. The method I have described here is a very simple BODICE pattern which you can draft and sew with the bare minimum sewing knowledge.
You can experiment with this, give darts or any adjustments you want to it. Add sleeves (draft different types of sleeves) Change necklines (Draft different neckline) or any embellishment to make it your own. This is where it starts.
How to make a Bodice top
If you are new to sewing checkout this post with many tutorials on tips on learning to sew and many sewing techniques
You can either make the sewing pattern on a paper or draw directly on the cloth with chalk. Start by marking on paper assuming the line A-B is folded cloth . If you are directly marking on the cloth take the two front and back pieces and fold in half and take the folded side as AB in the diagram and start marking
The basic measurements you should take are
Desired length How long do you need the top to be ( add 3 -4 inches to this measurement) Waist length measure from where shoulder meets your neck to the waist Shoulder From where your shoulder meets the neck to the tip of the shoulder bone Bust measurement Around the bust Waist measurement Around the waist Sleeve length Sleeve round Where you want the sleeve to end Neck depth Both front and back. Hip round measure around hip loosely
A-B = Length + 2″
A-C = Neck width ( minimum 3″ or as per table)
Bust Measurement Neck width ( inches) Neck depth (inches) 20 2 4 22 2 4 24 2 1/4 4 26 2 1/4 4 1/2 28 2 1/2 5 30 2 1/2 5 1/2 32 2 1/2 6 34 2 3/4 6 1/2 36 2 3/4 7 38 3 7 40 3 7 42 3 7
C-D = Front neck depth ( Minimum 3″ or as per table)
Neck depth ( this is how deep you want the neck to be – Mark the front neck depth and back neck depth); – Mark from C to the line A-B. Front neck depth can be taken as per the above table, Back depth depends on your preference
A-F = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder + 1/4 inch
F-L = 3/4 inch ; this is for shoulder slope From point – F on shoulder tip mark down 3/4 inch to point L ( please make this 1/2 inch for kids) Give the shoulder slope by joining the line C-L.
K-N = 3/4 Inch
Mark A-E which is the armhole depth or the bustline – as per table or 7.5″ for adults. This is the bust line. E-G is marked on this line. You can learn more on marking the armscye and correct way of drafting armhole measurements here.
Another measurement for armhole line is to calculate it by the bust round.
Armhole depth = Bust round divide by 8 plus 3.5 inches.
|Bust measurement inches||Armhole depth|
Another measurement for a more fitting armhole
|Bust round||Armhole measurement|
|28 inch||4 3/4"|
|32 inch||5 1/4"|
|34 inch||5 1/2"|
|36 inch||5 3/4"|
|40 inch||6 1/4"|
|42 inch||6 1/2"|
|48-50 inch||7 1/2"|
Draw straight line down from F so that it intersects with line E-G .
E-G = 1/4 * bust round + 1/2 inch ease
(Ie if my bust is 36 inches, that divided by 4 is 9. Add 1/2 inches ease which will be 9.5 inches ; seam allowance of 1″ shoulde be added later )
A-H = Waist length
P-H = 1/4 * waist round + 1/2 inch
B-M = 1/4 * hip round round + 1/2 inch
Add 1 inch seam allowance along G-P-M
Back armhole – Where the lines from F & G intersected (name it K ) go outside ( measure the distance between G& K and divide by two) . Mark the point as X . Make a curved shape of the armhole from L-X-G – this is the back sleeve line.
To mark the front sleeve line Mark from K to the inside 3/4 inch for adults and 1/2 inch for kids. Mark this point as N . Draw up a straight line to L . From N Go outside 3/4 inches diagonally to Y as shown in the diagram. L-Y-G is the front armhole line
Draw a soft curved line touching Y from L to G – This is the front sleeve line.( Blue line)
Give the neckline you want – refer here for different necklines
Ease – I have added 2 inch ease to the body measurements . You can alter this to your preference as per the standard chart of ease given below
Fit of the garment Extra to be added to bust , waist and hip measurements Tight fitting Add extra -5 to -10 % Close fitting Add extra 0- 5% Comfortable fitting ease Add extra 7-10% Loose fitting Add extra 12-15%
Here is another bodice block with dart added.
What I do when making this pattern to sew tops is to draw directly on to the cloth with chalk. Both the front piece and the back piece will be kept folded . I will draw the pattern on the top piece ( which finally will turn out to be the front piece), cut out the back sleeve line and neck, remove the back piece ( which is the back piece now) , then continue cutting the front sleeve line and neckline on the remaining cloth with the marking lines already there. This way, no need to mark the front and back bodices seperately .Cut the two pattern pieces and makes sure that the lines drawn are all cut away.
Checkout this tutorial to see how to make facings for the necklines for a clean and neat finish
Do the same for the back neck and front neck.Join the shoulder seams . Checkout the different types of seams you can use in your bodice. Join the sleeves. You can add this to a skirt to make a dress or adopt different design features to make it your own.
I decided to add this bodice to a paneled skirt to make a long gown.
If you would rather make a more casual top with a looser fit along the body you can make the bodice as per the pattern below
A-C = Length of the top
A-B = 3 1/2″
A-G = 8 1/4″
H-J = A-G
H-I = 3/4″
D-E = 3″ (OR 4″)
A-H = 1/2 of shoulder point to shoulder point + 1/4″
G-F = 1/4 of Bust round + 3/4″
E-L = 1/4 of Hip round + 2 “
K-J = 1/2 of F-J
If you want a more fitting pattern with a close body fit you can add darts – this will ensure that the bodice fits the contours of your body. Check out this post on adding darts to your sewing patterns
The sewing tutorial to make an A-line dress has the method to sew the bodice explained in a different way than given below .
Sewing a basic bodice block for kids
You can make a similar bodice block for kids . Checkout the post on sewing for children and a ready reckoner of body measurements here.
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