Step-by-step instructions for drafting a fitted front body block, for a front 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.
Front body block, for a front opening garment.
|1. Measure up from the bottom guideline and mark the center back measurement, N – Clavicle to Front Waist
|2. Measure along the bottom guideline and draw the waist. E – Waist, Final column
|3. 3. At the top of the center back line, square out and draw the shoulder line, O – Shoulder Front, Final column
|4. Take measurement B – Shoulder point to neck, measure in towards the center back line, mark it.
– Up from that mark, draw a line the length of measurement P – Shoulder rise – front.
|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 Armscye line, draw measurement C – Bust/Chest final column, out past the center front.
|8. Take measurement F – Distance from waist to underbust and from the waist line, measure up the armcye line, mark a dot.
– Then draw in D – under chest/bust line straight out towards the center front line. This line will probably extend past the center front line, but don’t worry if it doesn’t.
|9. Starting from the waist, draw a curving line that connects the chest/bust lines, to the neck.
|10. Measure in ½ inch from end of shoulder line and draw a curving arc for the Armscye..
|11. Draw a curving line for the neckline and you’re finished with the basic front opening front body block.
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