Step-by-step instructions for drafting a basic Back body block, for a front, back or side opening garment.
Doesn’t include the style lines or seam allowences, those come later in the process.
These instructions use the Measurements Checklist (PDF) sheet. Please download it, print it and fill it out before attempting these instructions.
- Paper is cheap, don’t cut too small a piece, typically half the chest measurement plus seven inches is a good size. This should be big enough to draw both the front and the back on the same piece of paper. You can also draft the front and back on their own individual sheets
- Leave yourself enough room around the edges of the paper. Start 3″ from the side edge and 4″ from the bottom, square off and draw guide lines for the edges of the body block. Leave more room if your bodice has a point, other waist treatment or if it goes down to your hips.
- Measure accurately; Use your L or T square to draw true straight lines. Anal retention to detail is not always a bad thing, especially when it comes to drafting.
If you have any questions or comments about these instructions, please email me at m_mc_nealy(at)yahoo.com.
Basic Back body block, for a front, back or side opening garment.
|1. Measure up from the bottom guideline and mark the center back measurement, Q – Neck bone to back waist.
||2. Measure along the bottom guideline and draw the waist. E – Waist, Final column
|3. At the top of the center back line, square out and draw the shoulder line, R – Shoulder Back, Final column.
||4.Take measurement B – Shoulder point to neck. Starting from end of shoulder line, measure in towards the center back line, mark it.
Up from that mark, draw a line the length of measurement S – Shoulder rise – back.
|5. Then draw a line connecting the shoulder rise line with the end of the shoulder line.
||6.Take measurement H – Armscye depth, and starting from the end of the waist line, draw a line up.
|7.At the top of the Armscye line, starting from the center back, draw measurement C – Bust/Chest final column, out.
||8.Draw a line connecting the end of the chest/bust line with the waist line.
|9.Measure in ½ inch from end of shoulder line and draw a curving arc for the Armscye.
||10. Draw a curving line for the neckline and you’re finished with the basic back.
If you have any questions or comments about these instructions, please email me at m_mc_nealy(at)yahoo.com
Resources consulted in preparing these instructions
The Costume Technician’s Handbook by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey, ISBN 0325004773
Pattern design for children’s clothes by Gloria Mortimer-Dunn. ISBN 0-7134-7874-8
Patterns of Fashion, the cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620 by Janet Arnold. ISBN 0-89-676-083-9
Tailor’s Pattern Book, 1589 by Juan de Alcega facsimile, with translation by Jean Pain and Cecilia Bainton, originally published by Ruth Bean Publishers. ISBN 0-89676-234-3
Monique Tarkington says
Hi there, your PDF of Measurements Check List link is no longer working. Could you please check it? I’d really like to use it to draft a body block for a non-conventional pattern-sized person.
Thanks so much for letting me know about the broken link. Took me a while to find the time to fix it, but it’s working now.
Monique Tarkington says
Hi there, Sorry to be a pest! LOL I do love your website though. 😉
I am attempting to draft a body block, but I have no idea what a “Shoulder Rise” is (letter P and S) or how to measure it. Unfortunately, neither does Google. Can you help a girl out?