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Sewing 204 (Part 2) - Pattern Drafting: Basic Bodice (Back)

Updated: Dec 7, 2019


Principles of pattern drafting


As you know, we shall be drafting half a front pattern and half a back pattern on the assumption that a full front or Back pattern are symmetrical on both left and right sides. You only need to draft a full piece if the left and right hand sides are different in some way.


Since we are working in halves (half front/half back) or in quarters (Quarter of the whole Bodice) depending on how you look at it, some measurements will be divided into 2, and some will be divided into 4.


We shall also be drafting in a mirrored view so to speak, where the sides for the front and Back will face each other, and the centre front and centre Back will face away from each other. It will all make sense once we get into the work.

Tools you will need

1. Straight ruler

2. Set square

3. Curve ruler

4. Pencils / Eraser /Sharpener

5. Brown paper/ Drafting Paper – 1 sheet (25L x 30W inches) or (65cm x 75cm). It should be longer than your Full length measurement and wider than 1/2 Bust measurement. You can always tape sheets of paper together to get the right size.

Measurements you will need (Feel free to work in Inches or Cm)


1. Full length Back (Shoulder to waist)

2. Centre Back

3. Across shoulder

4. Shoulder

5. Full Bust

6. Across Back

7. Full Waist

8. Side

9. Arm hole

IMPORTANT! Download Basic Bodice Calculation Worksheet Here first


The Back Bodice Draft

Please Draft the Front Bodice first, as some measurements are related. Thanks

1. Line J - a = Half Bust Measurement

2. Line a - b = Half 'full length back' Measurement plus 1 inch (2 cm)

3. Line b – c = full length back Measurement

4. Line b – d = Half Across Shoulder Measurement (Make sure it is perpendicular to Line bc)

5. Line d – e = Square down a guide line for about 2 1/2 inches (7cm)

6. Line b - f = The same as Line BL on the Front Bodice Pattern

7. Line b - g = 1 inch (2cm) or From Point c upwards, mark Centre Back Measurement.

8. Point h = Mark half way between points g and a

9. Line h - i = Half Across Back Measurement

10. Line a - j = Half Line h-i measurement

11. Line c - k = Line a-j minus 1/2 inch (1cm)

12. Join Line j - k with a straight line

13. Line R-l = Back waist measurement minus Line c-k.

E.g. If Back waist is 8.5, and Line ck is 4, then Line Rl will be 8.5 - 4 = 4.5.

Draw the line from Point R touching the waistline at point l.

14. Join Points j and l with a straight line.

15. Lines jl and jk are the dart legs and they must be of equal length.

Measure Line jk and compare it to Line jl. Depending on your result, you may have to shorten or lengthen Line jl. In the example above, I had to lengthen it a little.

After adjusting line jl, join the new Point l to Point R with a straight line.

16. Line f – m = Shoulder Measurement. From point f, draw a line touching line d-e. Square a short guideline to the left from point m.

17. Line f – m1 = Shoulder Measurement plus 1/2inch (1cm). From point f, draw a line touching the guideline. This is the new shoulder line, you can erase the previous one.

18. Point o = Mark half way between points m1 and f on shoulder

19. Join points o and j with a straight line

20. Mark 1/4 inch (5mm) on either side of point o, label as points p and q.

21. From point o measure down about 3 to 3.5 inches (6 - 7.5 cm). Label as point r.

22. Join points p, r and q to form dart.

23. From Point i, square a guideline up and down, stopping on line K-a. Mark as point s.

24. Join points m1, i and K with a curved line, touching across back point, forming armhole.


25. Line f - g = Join with a curved line to form neckline.


This completes the Back bodice pattern. Finally, use your tape measure to measure both front and back armholes and compare it to the body measurement you took. If it is a little bigger, it is fine. If it is a little smaller, you can redraw your curves or recheck your bust depth measurement.


Please let me know how it works out for you.

Thanks for reading. See Part 1: Pattern Drafting: Basic Bodice (Front) here.


Did you know that you can also watch this lesson?




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