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1900 dress formYou will need:

A tape measure for taking your measurements. Not a solid ruler, not a metal tape measure from the toolbox, but a dressmaker's fabric tape measure.

A friend to help you take measurements.

A notebook to write your measurements in.

Sharp pencils (preferably hard pencils such as 2H) and an eraser.

A metre ruler or yardstick. It’s just about possible to draft with a shorter ruler, but not half as easy or as accurate. I struggled for a long time without a metre ruler but was amazed what a godsend mine was when I finally bought one from www.morplan.com. At the very least, look for something long and very straight that will help you draw accurate long, straight lines, and then measure them with a normal ruler or tape measure. But if you possibly, possibly can - you need the real thing to get it right.

A set square (preferably a big one) or something rigid with an exact right angle at the corner, such as a hardback book. Again, you can buy a real patternmaker’s square at Morplan and again, you really need the right equipment to expect to get a good, accurate draft. If you're watching the pennies the book will do, but it's really no substitute. (A right angle is the angle at the corner of a square.)

A calculator (to prevent brain meltdown). If you’re using inches, you may find the Patternmaking Calculator useful – it’s a calculator that uses fractions! And it’s free!

A Flexicurve (optional) to help you draw smooth curves. Again, you can buy proper curves at Morplan.

A large sheet of paper. If you don’t wish to buy a large roll of patternmaking paper, try using a roll of brown paper or the back of an old roll of gift wrapping paper.

A large, flat working surface. The higher, the better, to save your back!

Scissors. Make sure you use a different pair of scissors for cutting paper and card to your fabric scissors; cutting paper with fabric scissors will blunt them faster.

Sticky tape (eg. sellotape or Scotch tape), for sticking sheets of paper together.

Tracing paper, both a small piece and a couple of large sheets. You'll need the large sheets to trace, from the draft, a pattern that you can cut up and pin to fabric.

Scrap fabric, which you'll need to make a mock-up of the finished draft. Classically, we use calico or muslin but I recommend recycling by cutting up old bedsheets or curtains.

Once you have your equipment assembled, it's time to take your measurements.

Variations on Basic blocks (slopers) For body types
Fortunately there are actually lots of variations on the Basic Block pattern. Historically using block patterns is still really new, they only started in the 1830's and originally there where dozens of variations, which have slowly been reduced to the present basic block but we are not all the same, so looking at the old variations can help hugely.

Try "Corsets and Close-Fitting Patterns" BY MARY BROOKS PICKEN. This has some variations in panels for Basic blocks in the second half, for different body shapes.
Another good book is "Dress forms -Tight Lining and Boning" BY MARY BROOKS PICKEN. This is actually for making dress forms but has a great section on modifying for body shapes.

To find more variations try Archive.org or openlibrary.org
Hope this helps. Caite

Here are links to
Dress forms -Tight Lining and Boning - http://haabet.dk/TightLinings_andBoning/index.html#index
Corsets and Close-Fitting Patterns - http://www.haabet.dk/CorsetCloseFitting/index.html

saw a youtube video yesterday that said if your bust size is more than 2 inches bigger than your 'high bust size' which is taken above your boobs at around the underarm height. Then to use the high bust size measurement instead otherwise the garment will end up too big. I know this was asked years ago but maybe somebody else will come along and read it and find it useful
Ava, I'm so sorry I didn't see your comment until now - our comments feature hasn't been working properly for a while, it seems, and I haven't had them sent on to me.

I think the best way to tackle drafting when you have a full bust and small waist, but are shortwaisted, is to take a leaf out of the Victorians' book. Victorian women were often smaller, but had much more pronounced hourglass figures than we do.

They tended to include two or three small darts side by side, and they'd use multiple pieces in their patterns to allow the excess to be removed little by little in mutiple spots.

Example from 1895

You can flip through this book online and find lots of options. You have to have your wits about you and some patience to follow the language, but these instructions *are* useable. Give them a try, or just use the general idea in your modern draft

leon stanford
bodice pattern dress
i want a bodice block pattern
sissy wood
draft pattern
recommended reference for pattern drafting
I dont have a wbsite yet.

I followed the tute step by step but the armsyce has me confused. How do i draw the circle for it. I have a french curve but i truly dont know how to use it. Also i am in desperate need of a sleeve slopper tute which will go with this block. Any help will be appreciated

Hi Ayse, it's not a regular curve, so there's no perfect way to draw it; it's a freehand curve, crossing all the points specified. You can use your French curve to help you by bending it into a reasonable-looking curve that matches the diagram before drawing along it.

As for a basic sleeve tutorial, tht's also in the Beginner section, here: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/articles/free/beginner/246-drafting-a-basic-fitted-sleeve

Hi, I'm referring to our page 8, "from b to C is half our bust measurement plus 5cm (2")"... I think it supposedly 6" instead of 2" right? My bodice looked weird, and I've tried redoing it 3 times to make it right. But then, I read again your note on "beginning to draft", you say we are to add 6" for the paper width. Pls confirm.
armscye measurement
I'd like to ask a question regarding the correct measurement for the armscye, based on my personal figure.
i have, what is sometimes referred to as, a dowager hump...although perhaps not as pronounced as that term might suggest...therefore, measuring from the bone at the base of the back of the neck, and down over the hump to the armhole depth, is not going to give me an accurate measurement for drafting the armscye (since there is extra length in the spine area). I have so much trouble drafting a correct armscye since I also have a shallow depth from shoulder to armhole level. What would you suggest so that I could successfully draft a proper fitting armscye? Thanks

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