[Module 5] Creating the Working Template | 4a. Bodice for Tops /Dresses /Jackets

Updated: Jul 17

You have put lots of hard work and effort into making the Base Template and preserving it and now you get to see some reward for that time because that whole process is going make creating Bodice Working Templates so much easier.

If you use the Base Template as a starting point for each of the Bodice Working Templates then you know already that you have a baseline for a good fit in both length along all of the Guidelines and also in the width. You have your blueprint.

As we have already mentioned you can make lots of different garments from a Bodice Working Template so it makes sense to start here. Because the Working Templates are all about adding in ease then it is a good idea at this point to review the Unit, Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Garment Ease. For each sized Working Template you will assess how much wearing ease that you would like to add – the Working Templates Chart can assist with that decision.

It is also worth considering if you could make use of the Master Working Template Table supplied as Auxiliary Reference Downloadable document to keep track of all of the Working Templates that you may decide to draft and test.

As drafting Working Templates and the appropriate ease is a personal decision you will need to decide what kind of bodice Working Template you may get the most use out of or which you might like to work on first to fill in some of your wardrobe gaps and start there. You may need to review your Sewing List Table and what is currently available in instructions for Flexible Patterns in the system to reconfirm the order that you would like to work down it.


The instructions below will give you a Working Template that has a Close Fit with around 2" of ease although you can use your own preference.

You would use no ease or a very small amount of ease when creating a very snug fitting garment like an evening gown. A starting point would be to use the instructions below and add in less ease.


However you could simply by-pass making a Working Template in this instance and just use the Base Template to create the Flexible Pattern but you need to consider elements such as turn of the cloth (although there probably would not be much required as evening gowns are usually made from thinner fabrics, however if you were using a velvet or other thicker fabric then you may decide to add in ease for this design consideration). Also take into consideration that you may need to add boning into the garment. If you were using the Base Template with no ease added then you would end up with a very tight garment that could be very uncomfortable. However this may be the design that you are working towards.


For a tight fit my suggestion would be to use the Base Template to create the Flexible Pattern from and not to create a Working Template for any very snug or tight fitting clothing. Remember on your test garment you can Wax Trace and Thread Trace and leave an excess for a seam allowance, even a couple of inches if you feel inclined. I would always recommend a Test Garment be created for the Flexible Pattern to ensure a correct fit and I would sew at least part of the boning pieces into the Test Garment to ensure that the fit is desirable.


To create a more casual fit, follow the instructions below but consider dropping the neckline more, dropping the armhole more, adding in extra ease down the side, maybe even adding length. Again a good way to help make your decisions is to look at a garment that you may already have in your wardrobe that has lots of ease and determine how much wearing ease you would like to add in order to take this Working Template through to the next step to create your Flexible Pattern ideas.

The drafts for Front and Back shown in below are focused on Working Templates with positive ease and are examples of what you could draft at this point to get you started with a good foundation to use moving forward with your capsule designs.


A Close Fitted Working Template

These instructions will give you a close fitting Working Template useful as a base for fitted tops/dresses/jackets etc. To create a Working Template that is more fitted then you would not increase the wearing ease as much as shown below. Likewise if you want a less fitted Working Template then you would add in more wearing ease.


The photos used in this set of instructions are from a size C cup with a client with a long body approximately a size 14 dress size and a sway back. Your draft may look very different as every body will create a different 2 dimensional shape on paper. As long as you are testing your drafts and are happy with the fitting results then don’t worry about the 2 dimensional shapes the draft creates in comparison with my samples here.

Drafting the Front

The first step is to place the Base Template card for the Front Draft onto a clean piece of paper. Line up the Centre Front along the side of the paper and the Lower Hip Line along the bottom edge if you wish. If your edges on the paper are not straight and true don’t worry just place the card down so that you can draw around it.

It can help to place paper weights onto the card to hold it still.

Then with a fine pencil draw very carefully around the whole of the card, ensuring that you take the pencil into each Notch as you draw around it. Don’t forget to draw in the Notch Points down the Centre Front. As you draw around try to keep as close to the card as possible you don’t want to enlarge the outline.

Make a mark at each Awl Point by placing the pencil in each hole and marking through to the paper underneath. Ensure you mark out the Dart Points and the Waist Shaping.

Remove the card.

On the paper copy connect all of the lines back up using the Notch Points as guides to match the Base Template. You can use a ruler for all of the Guidelines and the Darts so that the draft looks just like the card you have just drawn around.

Add in any labels you wish to assist with orientation such as Centre Front, Side and the names of any Guidelines if this helps you.

You now have a copy of the Base Template Front Draft and we need to add our ease into this.

From this point onwards if you make any changes write down what the change was that you made inside the pattern and adjacent to the point of change. This will help you make decisions later if you want to try out any other ease ideas. ​​

Look at the Centre Front Neckline would you like to ease this down a little. The majority of your garments are not going to have such a high neckline as the Base Template. Have a look in the mirror and see how far down you would usually go with the Neckline from the little dent in the Neck that you originally measured. Don’t forget you are not designing here you are considering comfort at the moment. If you are not sure you could try lowering it down by ½” at the Centre Front Neckline as a starting point.

The High Shoulder Point on most of your clothes are probably not going to be so close to the neck so to give a little ease here move this point away from the High Shoulder Point you could start with ¼”.





Redraw the Neckline from High Shoulder Point to Base Neckline if you have made any changes then cross out the line no longer required. When drawing the neckline ensure that you level of for around ½” at the Centre Front and square off a little on the shoulder to help with smooth transitions across the seams so that you don’t create any peaks or troughs across the pattern pieces.

You may wish to move out the Shoulder End Point to add a little ease on the shoulder but this is personal choice, you can make a final assessment of this when fitting the Test Garment.

Or take a look at your final Base Template Test Garment photos which may help with any decision here.

A suggestion is 1/8” to ¼” however keep in mind that you have already fitted the Base Template to a good position. Again we are looking at comfort and ease here not design.

If you do move out the Shoulder End Point then move out the Cross Chest line by half of that amount to assist with redrawing the Armhole later.


Consider if the Shoulder Dart is still central if not readjust it by finding the centre point on the Shoulder Line and measuring out the Dart Legs on each side, drawing the Dart Legs back to the Bust Point. Cross out any previous lines that you don’t need any more to avoid any confusion.

​​As the Base Armhole position is very high on the Base Template and this is not so comfortable drop the Base Armhole position down, you could try ¾” as a starting point and test this in the Test Garment. You will never really need an armhole the height that was set on a Base Template, although a jacket with a sleeve may need a higher armhole than a top with no sleeve to allow ease of movement so something to keep in mind if your Working Template is only going to be used for jackets. Don’t forget that you get another chance to change this at the Flexible Pattern stage if you change your mind.

You now add in the wearing ease into the side seam.

We add it here because if we were to add it to the centre of the pattern we risk altering the fit of the Bust Point and shifting key Guidelines.

Slowly working down the side make dash marks outside of the Side Line for the extra you are going to add, you would usually add the same amount all the way down from the Base Armhole to the Lower Hip Line.

Now the amount to increase is personal choice, a smaller person may be happy with 3/8” whilst a larger body may feel more comfortable with more ease say 1/2” you can use these as starting points.Remember that these amounts will be multiplied by 4 in the finished garment as the extra is added on both seams Front and Back and on both sides.So 1/2” added will give 2” of wearing ease in total for the garment.

If in doubt have a look at one of your current garments that you would like to replicate the fit of for a close fit garment and see how much bigger it is at the Bust/Waist/Hips than your actual measurements and start there.

Although not particularly recommended you could add in differing amounts for Bust, Waist and Hips, if you do this you may want to add in a little less on the waist to give a little shaping for example 2” on the Bust and Hips and 1 ½” on the Waist.

Here is a closer look at the marks for the ease down the side.


Once you have measured out you can then join up the line to smooth it out. Then cross out the old line.

​​




Now the side has been extended the Side Dart will need adjusting. Extend the Bust Line which is the Centre Dart Line and remeasure the Dart Legs on each side from that, you may need to redraw the Dart Legs back to the Bust Point.




Extend the Guidelines for the Hip Bone Line and the Waist Shaping, you may need to redraw the bottom waist shaping line from the Waist Dart out to the Side.

Redraw the Armhole if you have made any changes.

In this photo I could not quite get the appropriate curve on the curve ruler so I simple pencilled in the line freehand.




To get a little more ease into to the hips centrally you could move the bottom of the Waist dart to finish at the Hip Bone Line and redraw the dart to this point.

If your Waist Dart is very wide >1" and you want to raise the point of the Dart to reclaim some ease in the hip, the Dart width will not be balanced along the length and will be releasing a larger amount of fabric at the Dart Point which could cause a bubble in the fabric below the Dart. However if you need the extra ease in the hip then you could always reduce the width of the Waist Dart by bringing in each Dart Leg towards the Centre Dart Line and bring in the Side Line by the same amount at the Waist, checking that the Waist Line and the Hip Bone Line are still the same length as before (minus the Dart measurement of course).


Once you have a thinner Waist Dart then you can shift the point up to the Hip Bone Line and you will need to redraw the Side Line, but check that you have not not taken too much off the Side by doing this. It may be better to leave the large width Dart in the original position.

You may have bowed out darts on the Shoulder Dart or on the Waist Dart or the Side/Armhole Darts to shape the Bust that were added during the fitting of the Base Template. If there are any bowed out Dart Lines on the Base Template then decide if you would like to keep them, do you need the extra ease here or would you like to keep the shaping. Make notes appropriately on the Working Template Draft.This is something that you could experiment with for the body shape, decisions here can accentuate body parts or detract attention from them. For a more fitted look it is better to keep the bowed out darts to get a better shape, or you could reduce them slightly. A body with a large bust and a belly may be better without the shaping to give extra ease to hide the shape a little so that the fabric skims over the belly from the bust.

Drafting the Back

The Back really mirrors much of what you have decided for the Front choices;

The first step is to place the Base Template card for the Back Draft onto a clean piece of paper. Line up the Centre Back along the side of the paper and the Lower Hip Line along the bottom edge if you wish. If your edges on the paper are not straight and true don’t worry just place the card down so that you can draw around it.

It can help to place paper weights onto the card to hold it still.


Then with a fine pencil draw very carefully around the whole of the card as you did with the Front Draft ensuring that you take the pencil into each notch as you draw around it.

Make a mark at each Awl Point by placing the pencil in each hole and marking through to the paper underneath.

Remove the card.

Now connect all of the lines back up on the paper copy using a ruler for all of the Guidelines and the Darts so that the draft looks just like the card you have just drawn around and add all appropriate labels if you need to identify Guidelines and also descriptive labels for the Working Template, eg which Base Template you used, Name of the Working Template, Client Name, Date, Weight etc.

You now have a copy of the Base Template Back Draft and we need to add our ease into this. As with the Front Draft from this point onwards if you make any changes write down what the change was that you made inside the pattern and adjacent to the point of change.


You perhaps don’t need to reduce the Back Neckline by as much as the Front as comfort comes from moving the head and bending forwards. If you would like to reduce this down it may not be by much at all, maybe 1/8”. Reflect on your Base Photos again to see if you would like to move it. ​​

If you moved out the High Shoulder Point on the Front then you should do the same on the Back, the recommendation was ¼”.






Redraw the Neckline from High Shoulder Point to Base Neckline if you have made any changes.

In this photo I drew the curve for the Neckline by hand as I could not get a satisfactory curve using the ruler.



​​If you moved out the End Shoulder point on the Front then do so on the Back by the same amount.

If you do move out the Shoulder End Point then move out the Shoulder Blade line by half of that amount to assist with redrawing the Armhole later.


Consider if the Shoulder Dart is still central if not readjust it.Add the same amount of ease all the way down the side for the Back as you did for the Front.













Drop the Base Armhole position down by the same amount that you used for the Front.





Add the same amount of ease all the way down the side for the Back as you did for the Front.

Redraw the Armhole if you have made any changes.


​​If you moved the bottom of the Waist dart to finish at the Hip Bone Line on the Front draft then do this on the Back also.












Note the Waist shaping in this draft is extensive due to a sway back identified during fitting. Excess fabric had to be removed in the Centre Back above the Waist Line to keep the Waist Line parallel to the floor. The amount removed was adjusted back to zero at the side. This means that all fitted garments for this Client will work best with a Waist Seam so that this adjustment can be made.

The final step would be to true up the draft using the Auxiliary Reference Information for Truing a draft, adding Notches, Grainlines, Awl Points and Labels.

Once the Working Template is drafted you would then go through the same process of creating a Test Garment, Fitting and Alterations to the draft and then Preserve the Working Template in the same way that you did this for the Base Template.

Refer to the Test Garment Workflow to Auxiliary Reference Information - Test Garment Creation Workflow and Auxiliary Reference Information - Preserve the Draft.

When Preserving a Working Template it is useful to note on it what the overall ease was so that when you come to draft your Flexible Pattern from it you know what you are starting with.

You go through the same process for each Bodice Working Template that you would like to prepare.

For a Snug fit Working Template

The instructions above will give you a Close Fitted Working Template with around 2” of ease. However you would use no ease or a very small amount of ease when creating a very snug fitting garment like an evening gown. A starting point would be to use the instructions above and add in less ease.

However you could simply by pass making a Working Template in this instance and just use the Base Template to create the Flexible Pattern but you need to consider elements such as turn of the cloth (although there probably would not be much required as evening gowns are usually made from thinner fabrics, however if you were using a velvet or other thicker fabric then you may decide to add in ease for this design consideration). Also take into consideration that you may need to add boning into the garment. If you were using the Base Template with no ease added then you would end up with a very tight garment that could be very uncomfortable. However this may be the design that you are working towards. For a tight fit my suggestion would be to use the Base Template to create the Flexible Pattern from and not to create a Working Template for any very snug or tight fitting clothing.


Remember on your test garment you can Wax Trace and Thread Trace and leave an excess for a seam allowance, even a couple of inches if you feel inclined. I would always

recommend a Test Garment be created for the Flexible Pattern to ensure a correct fit and I would sew at least part of the boning pieces into the Test Garment to ensure that the fit is desirable.

Casual Fit with lots of Ease

To create a more casual fit, follow the instructions above but consider dropping the neckline more, dropping the armhole more, adding in extra ease down the side, maybe even adding length. Again a good way to help make your decisions is to look at a garment that you have with lots of ease and determine how much wearing ease you would like to add in order to take this Working Template through to the next step to create your Flexible Pattern ideas.

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