Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Please ensure that you read the last Unit because it will help you get through this more technical unit faster and more acurately!
Drafting Below the Waist
Draw a line parallel to the left edge of the paper LENGTH WAYS approximately 1- 2 inches from the edge.
Hint - I simply line up my ruler with the edge of the paper and draw the line along the other edge of the paper for 2" or move the ruler until the edge of it is 1" away from the side of the paper, then shift the ruler up to extend the length of the paper.
This line is going to be called the Centre Front so label it somewhere in the middle.
With the paper laid with the Centre Front line on the left, at the bottom of the paper draw another line perpendicular and squared off from the Centre Front line, again 1" to 2" inches away from the bottom of the paper.
Hint - I line up my ruler with the bottom edge of the paper and draw along the other side along the length of the ruler, you can extend this line across the page. But double check that it is accurately squared off from the Centre Front line.
This line is called the Lower Hip Line so label it.
Check the measurement of the Front Lower Hip from the calculations table off your measurements sheet then measure this out from the Centre Front along the Lower Hip line marking the measurement with a pencil line. Remember to use your measurement not mine! Look my pen is pointing to the mark!
The side where you have just placed this mark will be the side of the pattern so label this side as the ‘Side’. (You can see that at the moment the work 'Side' has been written and floating around a little for now). But this marking will help you with orientation and give you some bearings immediately.
Write down the measured amount for the Front Lower Hip next to the Lines label.
Find the measurement for the Lower Hip Depth off your measurement sheet.
Measure up from the Lower Hip along the Centre Front line and mark this measurement on the Centre Front Line and note down the measurement (you can use abbreviations if it is easier when labelling lines).
Draw a perpendicular line at this mark squared off from the Centre Front Line, this will be for the Waist, draw it a couple of inches longer than the Front Waist measurement actually is.
Label this line as the Waist and write down the Front Waist measurement and the Front Waist Dart width measurement.
Calculate Front Waist + Waist Dart and write this down also.
Measure your calculated amount along the Waist line from Centre Front and make a mark on the Waist Line at this point.
Work out what half of this measurement would be and make a mark on the Waist Line halfway along, this will be the centre of the dart.
Draw a perpendicular line from this point squared off from the Waist Line down to the Lower Hip Line.
Divide the Waist Dart width by 2.
Mark out this distance from both sides of the Centre Dart Line on the Waist Line.
These are the Dart Leg points for the middle of the Waist Dart.
Squared off from these two marks on either side of the Centre Dart Line mark a point (dot) 3/8” below the Waist Line.
This will be an allowance for Waist shaping.
Measure and draw a line 3/8” lower than the Waist Line from Centre Front Line to the first mark you just made.
Find the Hip Bone Depth Measurement from your measurement sheet. Measure a mark on the Centre Front Line down from the Waist for the Hip Bone Depth for this amount.
Draw a line perpendicular and squared off from the Centre Front Line at this mark. Make the line a couple of inches longer than the Front Hip Bone measurement.
Label this line Hip Bone and write down the measurement next to the label.
Next work out approximately what two fifths of the measurement is from Hip Bone Line to Lower Hip Line is. Mark this point on the Centre Dart Line. This will be the point of the Waist Dart (the bottom point as this will be a double point dart very soon).
Hint - Yes I hear the moan! how on earth to determine two fifths of a measurement in inches! Its easy! There are 8 eighths to an inch. Say your measurement is 3 1/2". Multiply 3 by 8, which would be 24 eighths then add on the 1/2" that is another 4 eighths making 28 eighths. Without beating about the bush one fifth of 25 is 5 (I said approximately it is fine to drop the 3 eighths to make the maths easier) so two fifths are 10 eights in other words 1 1/4".
Draw in the Dart Legs for the lower part of the Waist Dart from the point marked 3/8” below the Waist Line down to this new measured mark on both sides of the Central Dart Line. This one is easier to explain by looking at the picture!
Draw in the Waist Shaping for the side of the Waist from the 3/8” point (dot) below the second dart leg to the end of the Waist Line that you marked earlier, this line is drawn at an angle.
To finish the Dart off, join the Dart Legs up to the Waist Line. These are two little straight lines perpendicular to the Waist Line.
Check that the Waist and the Waist Dart measurements are accurate by measuring the lines with your ruler.
Find the Hip Bone Line measurement this is going to be marked on the Hip Bone Line. However we need to take into consideration that the Waist Dart is now taking up some of the space on that line.
So look at the Dart on the Hip Bone Line and measure the width of the dart at this point. Add that measurement to the Hip Bone Line measurement to calculate where to make the mark on the line, measuring out from the Centre Front Line and mark the total measurement.
Draw the Side in now by joining the mark for the end of the Lower Hip Line and the mark for the end of the Hip Bone Line, using a straight line.
Continue drawing in the Side by joining the mark on the Hip Bone Line to the Waist Line at the marked point for the end of the Waist, using a straight line.
Have a little well deserved break if you need it!
Drafting the Neck
Find the measurement for the Centre Front Length from your measurement sheet. You measure this from the Waist Line up along the Centre Front Line and mark this point.
Draw a line perpendicular to and squared off from the Centre Front Line at this marked point make it longer than 7”.
Label this line as the Base Neck Line and write down the Front Neck Width measurement just below it.
Measure this Front Neck Width Measurement along the Base Neck Line from the Centre Front Line and make a mark. Label this point as 'x'
Find the Front Shoulder/Neck Intersection measurement off your measurements sheet. Draw a line perpendicular to the Base Neck Line and squared off at point ‘x’, and draw this line in an upwards direction. The length of the line needs to be the measurement for the Front Shoulder/Neck Intersection.
This is the Front Shoulder Neck Line so add your label.
Label the end of the line ‘z’.
At point 'x' we are going to draw a 1 inch line at a 45 degree angle going in a left up wise direction on the left side of the Front Shoulder Neck Line.
To do this look at the photo - I use the holes in my ruler and the grid to help me line up to get a true 45 degree angle, look at how I line up the ½” points along the Base Neck line and also on the vertical line to ensure that everything lines up. I place a mark on the paper where the 1” diagonal line ends then remove the ruler and then draw in the 1” line. This helps you focus on the 45 degree prior to measuring the 1” for accuracy.
Label the end of this line ‘y’.
Draw the neck line in by joining points from the Neck Base to ‘y’ to ‘z’.
Sometimes I will lightly pencil in the shape I want to make prior to drawing the line with the French Curve Ruler.
You may need to join Neck Base to 'y' initially then create a second line from ‘y’ to 'z'.
Can you see how at Centre Front the curve flattens or levels out for about 1/2" before lifting into the curve.
This is to ensure that you are not creating a dip or a peak across the centre of the neckline.
You may need to smooth out any dip at point 'y' in the middle to give a good clean shape to the Neck. You can do this freehand if you like.
Drafting the Shoulder
Find the measurement for the Neck to Armhole from your measurement sheet.
At Centre Front on the Base Neck Line mark out the measurement for the Neck to Armhole.
Draw a guideline perpendicular to this mark and squared off from this line in an upwards direction approximately 3” long.
This is a guideline to assist with the shoulder position, which should get us somewhere in the ball park.
The shoulder position and line may be moved again later after completing the armhole and then maybe again during fitting.
Here we will draw the Slope of shoulder as an estimated position.
Find the Slope of Shoulder measurement and measure from the Waist to this guideline sliding the ruler (like a windscreen washer) until the correct measurement hits this guideline anywhere along the line. My end point happens to be close to the end of the line but yours may not be.
If you are tall or long in this area or your ruler is not long enough then put two rulers together until you can measure out the point. It may be a little fiddly with 2 rulers just take your time.
Label the ‘z’ point as High Shoulder Point and draw a line from the High Shoulder point to the end of the Slope of Shoulder Line just drawn and extend the line past this an inch or so. This is the Shoulder Line so Label it.
Calculate Shoulder Length + Front Shoulder Dart Width.
Measure out this calculated distance from the High Shoulder Point down the Shoulder Line just drawn and mark this point.
Divide this measurement by 2 and mark this measurement along the line from point 'z'.
This is the halfway point along the shoulder for the centre of the Dart.
If you don’t have a Shoulder Dart as you may be drafting for a child for example simply mark the centre of the Shoulder Line and skip the next step.
Find the Shoulder Dart Measurement from your measurement sheet and divide this measurement by 2. Mark out from the centre of the Shoulder Line (or Centre Dart Line) this calculated Shoulder Dart measurement on each side. These are the positions of the Dart Legs.
Drafting the Bust Point
Next we are going to work out where the Bust Point is (which is the position of the nipple, the closer to the nipple the better the fit).
We are going to use the Bust Depth A, the Bust Depth B and Bust Breadth measurements to triangulate the position so a little time should be taken over this as it is an important fixture point on the pattern and all darts will point to it.
Look up your Bust Breadth measurement from your measurements sheet.
From Centre Front in 2 or 3 places measure out this Bust Breadth Measurement. Then join those points up to create a vertical line for a Guideline. Look at the photo to clarify how to do this and what it looks like when drawn.
There is no specific length to this line it just needs to be drawn in the vicinity of the Bust Point and extend out in either direction.
Measure out a point from where the Base Neck Line and Centre Front Line intersect to where it hits the Guideline just drawn. The length of the line will be the measurement for the Bust Depth A. Again swing the ruler over to the Guideline and mark the point (check the top of the ruler at zero is still at the intersection position).
Measure out a point from the centre of the Shoulder Dart down to the Guideline the length will be Bust Depth B.
These two marks that you have made will probably not be at the same point, but it will show you how good your measurements where, if you were accurate they may be as close as 1/8” of each other.
Split the difference between the two points, this will be your Bust Point so mark it on the Guideline and label it.
Redraw in the Bust A Line from the Base of the Neck at Centre Front to the Bust Point and measure it and write down the new measurement.
Draw in a line from the centre of the Shoulder Dart to the Bust Point and write down this new measurement.
Draw a line from the Centre Front to the Bust Point squaring off from Centre Front and check this measurement is still the Bust Breadth length – label this line Bust Breadth.
Draw in the Dart Legs for the Shoulder Dart from the Dart Legs at the Shoulder to the Bust Point.
If you don’t have a Shoulder Dart then skip this step.
Square a line from the Bust Point down the Guideline for 1” and label this point as the Lower Bust Point.
Draw a line from the Centre Line of the Waist Dart to the Lower Bust Point.
Join the legs of the Waist Dart up to the Lower Bust Point.
Perhaps take a short break at this point we are on the downward stretch!
Drafting the Side
Extend the line from the Bust Breadth out for the full measurement of the Front Bust (from Centre Front) and label the line.
Draw a Guideline squared and perpendicular to the Front Bust Line at the end of it, the line will go through the Front Bust Line and be around 6” in length, (extend the line if needed later).
Calculate Side Length + Side Dart Width
Measure from the end of the Waist Line up to the Guideline again swinging your ruler over and mark the point on the Guideline for the Calculated Side Length measurement.
Draw a line to join the two points up.
Label the top of this line as the Base Armhole.
Assess the diagram at this point, if you have drawn though some width of the Front bust with this line therefore excluding this section from the front then add this small measurement back onto the measurement sheet for the Back Bust. Circled in Red on the Photo, my measurement to add on is 5/8".
We don’t want to lose this amount on the Bust circumference, and we can deal with the side seam position better at the point of fitting anyway so don’t worry about this for now just add it on to the Back Bust measurement.
Draw a line from the Base Armhole back and square to the Centre Front.
Half the Side Dart measurement and measure down the side on both sides of the Front Bust Line to mark the Dart Leg Points.
Draw in the Dart Leg points for the Side Dart back to the Bust Point.
Drafting the Armhole
Find the Cross Front Depth measurement from the measurements sheet.
Measure down from the Shoulder along the Shoulder Dart Centre Line for the Cross Front Depth measurement and make a mark.
Draw a line through this mark back to the Centre Front and squared off from the Centre Front, the length of the line should go over towards the base of the armhole.
Label this line the Cross Front Line.
Find the Cross Front Measurement from the measurement sheet.
Look at the point on this line where the Shoulder dart crosses it and measure the width of the full Shoulder Dart at this point and add this measurement to the Cross Front Measurement.
From Centre Front measure out this calculated measurement and make a mark on the Cross Front Line.
Note if the Client has a larger cup size then this Cross Front Line will be closer to the Base Armhole Line because the Side Dart Width is larger thereby raising the Base Armhole position (as the Side Dart Width is added to the Side Length). This is why the Side Dart Width is maxed out at 2” otherwise it would be difficult to draw in the orientation point ‘a’ which we use later to help draft out the Armhole.
If the Cross Front line is still below the Base Armhole line then check your measurements especially the Side Length and the Cross Front Depth, otherwise drop your armhole down 1/4” to ½” and or reduce the side dart down by ¼” to ½”.
Draw a line square down from this mark on the Cross Front Line to the Base Armhole Line.
Draw a line from the Bust Point to where these lines intersect on the Base Armhole Line and go 1” past this line and label the end of it ‘a’.
Calculate Front Armhole + Armhole Dart.
Next we draw the Armhole.
Join the end of the Shoulder to point ‘a’ with the French curve then join point ‘a’ to the Base Armhole and blend any dip at point 'a' and flatten the curve for the last 1/2" at the Base Armhole to ensure a smooth transition between Front and Back armhole seams.
This can take a few attempts until you are satisfied that you are meeting all of the points.
Notice that I have not connected up to the Cross Front Line. You could do this but I like to ensure that I have enough fabric to work with on the armhole all the way up during fitting so I tend to use the point ‘a’ to get the curve.
Measure your armhole line just drawn and check that it matches your Front Armhole measurement.
You can see my comparison in red in the photo.
In this example you can see that I am ¼” out which is not too bad. To rectify this I have split the difference and added it in on the Shoulder End by raising the Shoulder line 1/8” and also lowering the Base Armhole line 1/8” to find this space.
How close did you get?
If you are out by less than ½” then share the load by either altering the End Shoulder Position at the Armhole and/or changing the Base Armhole position.
If you alter the height of the Shoulder at the armhole you may need to re-centre the Shoulder Dart and redraw in the dart legs to the Bust Point.
If you drop down the Base Armhole position then you will have to redraw the curved armhole line to meet this new position.
This whole area - the Shoulder and the Armhole will be finalised at point of fitting anyway we just want to ensure that we have enough space in the Armhole to get it on for the fitting.
If you are out by more than ½” then it may be worth just checking the measurements, calculations and drawn lines, there is a possibility of a mistake somewhere. If you can’t find anything then drop or raise the Armhole and you may then need to redraw all darts and the the armhole curve.
Any measurement you cannot squeeze in or out will need to be dealt with during fitting so all is not lost.
If you are dealing with + or - more than 2” then consider the following because you need the room in the Armhole to make sure you can get the garment on.
You may not have measured tight enough or measured too tight.
Move the shoulder up by 1/2".
Base armhole may be too high/low.
The armhole may not be curvy enough or too curvy.
When we look at Seam Allowances consider using a larger Seam Allowance to give you more fabric around the armhole during fitting.
Mark the Dart Legs at either side of point ‘a’ on the armhole curve line measuring out half the Armhole Dart measurement on either side.
Draw in the Dart Legs by connecting the Bust Point to the Dart Leg marks made.
If you do not have Armhole Darts or Bust Darts as you may be drafting for a child for example then skip this step.
Finally draw a line half way between the Centre Shoulder Dart and the Front Bust Line and label this as the Chest Line, this may be used as a Guideline for fitting and future pattern drafting.
Label this whole draft as the Front.
Great job! Well Done!.......now onto the Back Draft!
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