The Bodice Sloper Saga: Pattern Drafting

The past couple of weeks I have been learning about fit and slopers. I’ve tried to draft a bodice sloper from a book before, but it was a complete disaster and didn’t remotely fit. This time, I was armed with a much more comprehensive set of measurements and instructions from Madalynne’s front and back bodice sloper tutorials.

Bodice Drafting 2

First thing first, I abandoned all my old measurements. I drew dots on important parts like my shoulder tip with washable felt tip pen, which made the measurements a lot more accurate. Madalynne’s tutorial also has a much longer set of measurements than I’ve ever seen a book tell you to take, which made me feel like this sloper really would be more suited to my body shape. Plus she has some really helpful photos with the measurements superimposed on them so I could see exactly where to measure from (I suspect I used some guesswork last time I attempted this).

I like to use brown paper for pattern drafting – it’s durable, cheap, comes on a roll and I just like the aesthetic. Armed with my paper, pencils, a ruler, a compass, and Madalynne’s clear instructions and diagrams, I got to work carefully putting down every line. I also had my measuring tape on hand because Madalynne’s instructions are all in inches, whereas my ruler is in centimetres, so Brits should make sure they have an inch ruler or a conversion calculator to hand! Or be better at mental arithmetic than me…

Beware that in the back bodice instructions, the text mentions line CB erroneously a couple of times, but it didn’t cause me a big problem and I could see what to do – the only times I did go wrong were entirely my own fault for not paying attention! Probably best not to do this when you’re tired because there are a lot of numbers and letters flying around.

Back Sloper 1Here’s a sneak peak of the finished back bodice pattern. The front one has now been altered quite a lot, so I’ll save that for my post about the muslins and alterations – I’m on muslin number three at the moment.

As an impatient seamstress I thought I wouldn’t enjoy making a sloper and to be honest it’s something I’ve been putting off (who wants to wait when they could have a pretty dress NOW?!), but actually I’m really loving it! I can’t wait to get sewing some tops and dresses from the pattern, knowing that they will finally fit perfectly as well. If you’re a bit maths inclined like me you will LOVE pattern drafting. I’ve finally found a way to be creative and nerdy all at the same time! Have you made a bodice sloper? Any tips?

4 thoughts on “The Bodice Sloper Saga: Pattern Drafting

  1. Good for you for trying this. I took a pattern making workshop last year and developed an appreciation for the art of the sloper. Still have not made one of my own. But I may work up to it

  2. Thank you! It didn’t fit perfectly to start with, but I think I’ve nailed it now – I’ll put up some pictures of the various muslins I went through soon. You should definitely give it a go, I’ve learnt so much by doing it!

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