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

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

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”.