[Module 5] Creating the Working Template | 4b. Bodice for Stretch to Fit Fabrics

Updated: Jul 17

A negative ease Working Template is smaller than the Base Template and therefore smaller than the body it was made for. This kind of ease allows for stretch/jersey or knit fabric to stretch across the body so that they stretch to fit and don’t just hang there in a floppy manner. You would not use a negative ease template for a non stretch woven fabric.

All stretch fabric has a different amount of stretch horizontally, vertically and also diagonally so some experimentation may be required here to access how much negative ease is required for the desired fit of the final garment alongside which grain you will be cutting on as often the stretch is also different in different directions on the same fabric. When creating a Negative Ease Working Template draft it is useful if you know what fabric you are going to use, and if you have gone through the modules in order then you will have assessed fabric and design options already.

On top of this each individual has an element of comfort that they are willing to deal with when wearing clothes that stretch across the body. Obviously a larger body will be showing off lumps and bumps when wearing a negative ease garment.

Suggested measurements can be made for drafting but it is recommended that a Test Garment be made out of the actual fabric that is going to be used for the final garment.

This is the only Test Garment that I would recommend using fashion fabric for as that is an expensive test. However it is so difficult to find cheaper fabrics that match any fashion fabric in stretch both ways, and you only need the fabric to make a bodice usually unless you are going to make something like a mermaid dress where you will have to decide if you are going to try to source a cheaper option for testing or not. Don’t forget that once the Negative Ease Working Template Draft is tested that you will be able to use it for any number of Flexible Patterns and therefore multiple garment options so it is worth doing.

A negative ease Working Template has less seams to sew as you don’t need them to assist with fit, although later if you wish to add in style lines for design then that would be personal choice.

To draft a negative ease Working Template you typically end up drawing and redrawing lines until you arrive at the end result. If it makes it easier for you keep changing pen colours or ensure that you cross off old lines prior to moving on to the next step.

The sample photos here are for a size 10 with a D Cup Bust.

Front Draft

  • As before copy off the Base Template for the Front Draft and drop the Neckline 1/2" and move out the High Shoulder Point 1/4" in the same way as drafting the Working Template for Bodice Tops- Dresses and Jackets.

















Here is the Draft traced out.














​​

Here is the Neckline dropped ½”. ​​









Here the High Shoulder Point has been moved out ¼”.







Cross off the Waist Shaping on the Draft as it is not going to be used in the Front Draft as a seam (this step is also a common step to use in Flexible Patterns if you don’t have a Waist Seam).







​​But you need to reflect this change in the length of the garment across the top of the Draft to get rid of the excess to avoid folds of fabric pooling at the Waist in the garment.

Drop down the Neckline another 3/8”, drop down the new High Shoulder Point and the Shoulder End Point to reflect the size of the Waste shaping removed across the body. This would be 3/8” down for the High Shoulder Point and around 1/8” at the Shoulder End Point. Unless your Waist Shaping was a different size to the Waist Shaping that was suggested when making a Base Template in which case drop down this amount at the new High Shoulder Point and measure the width of the Waist shaping directly under the Shoulder End Point as the appropriate amount needs reducing.


  • You could move out the Shoulder end point if you would like experiment with this by 1/8” to 1/4”.


  • Redraw the Shoulder Line.

  • Redraw the Neckline.


  • Darts are not required for shaping in a negative ease garment so in the Shoulder so you will need to cross this out.

The Shoulder length will need to be adjusted accordingly and moved in by the amount that was removed in the Dart. Mark in the amount then draw in the new Armhole line merging with the current Armhole.

  • Darts are not required in the Armhole or the Side so they will need to be closed out.


Cut down a Dart Leg on the Armhole and cut down a Dart Leg on the Side.







  • Close up the Armhole Dart by bringing the pivoting piece up with the bulk of the dart going underneath to the back and tape down.


This creates a gap in the Side Dart. Place a strip of paper to close the gap and tape the Dart down.






Measure how big the Dart now is including the Gap that was created when the Side Dart opened up and raise the Lower Hip Line by this amount and redraw the Lower Hip line in a curve to this point.









  • Consider dropping the Armhole up to 3/4” as your garment would not usually go this high in the Armhole.







  • Redraw the Armhole to the new Base Armhole point.









  • If the fabric has lots of stretch lengthwise then consider decreasing the garment in length above and or below the Waist by anything up to 1” in total. A recommendation is to start with ½” and test this in the Test Garment.

In this example ¼” was taken off below the Waist and ¼” taken off above the Waist To do this draw a Cut Line across the draft parallel to the Hip Bone Line.




Draw another line across the draft line ¼” above and parallel to the Cut Line.

Draw in a guideline perpendicular across both lines to help you join everything back up (which is a good habit to get into for pattern alterations).




​​Then Cut along the Cut Line.









Line up the Cut line with the second line at the measured point and tape the piece down all the way along.







  • You may need to redraw the Side Line to smooth it out.

  • This was then repeated above the Waist to remove the other ¼”.











  • Remove the Waist Dart by measuring the Dart and marking in from the Side Waist by the same amount.








Then redraw the lower Side Line.













​​Redraw the Upper Side Line.










You could leave the Working Template like this or you could reduce it further by taking off 0 – ¾” off the Armhole and the Side.


Here is how you would do this for the Armhole, here we are taking off ½” so just measure in ½” all the way down the Armhole levelling off at the new Armhole Base, in this example I would probably use this new position shown on the blue line.







To remove from the side you would do this in the same way. Again shown in a blue line. I would consider if I was going to use this line after creating the Back Draft and truing, because quite a lot has been removed from this draft on the side if the green line is used.

The amount to move in is dependent on personal choice for comfort along with an assessment of stretch of the fabric that would be used.


Back Draft

As before copy off the Base Template for the Back Draft and drop the Neck Point 1/8” and move out the High Shoulder Point ¼” as before on the main Working Template.






























​​

Here is the Neckline dropped down by 1/8”.










Here the High Shoulder Point is moved out by ¼”.








​​

Cross off the Waist Shaping on the Draft as it is not going to be used in the Back Draft as a seam (this step is also a common step to use in Flexible Patterns if you don’t have a Waist Seam).








As with the Front you need to reflect this change in the length of the garment across the top of the Draft to get rid of the excess to avoid folds of fabric pooling at the Waist in the garment. Measure the Waist shaping which is usually 3/8”, however you may have altered this during fitting.

Drop down the Neckline by 3/8”, drop down the new High Shoulder Point by 3/8” and the Shoulder End Point by 1/8” or change these measurements to reflect the size of the Waste shaping removed across the body. In this example the measurements were 1 1/8” for the Neckline and High Shoulder Point and 1/8” for the Shoulder End Point.


If you moved out the Shoulder End Point in the Front then you should do the Same in the Back.




  • Redraw the Shoulder Line.

  • Redraw the Neckline.







  • Darts are not required for shaping in a negative ease garment so in the Shoulder so you will need to cross this out.

​​

The Shoulder length will need to be adjusted accordingly and moved in by the amount that was removed in the Dart. Redraw the new Armhole line down to where the Shoulder Dart ends which is around the Shoulder Blade line.


If you dropped the Front Armhole then drop the Back by the same amount the recommendation was up to 3/4”.











Redraw the Armhole to the Base Armhole point.








If you reduced the Front Draft in length then reduce the Back Draft by the same amount in the same way.






Remove the Waist Dart and measure the width, measure in the same amount from the Waist Side Line and redraw the Side Line Shape for the lower s​​ide.






Then redraw the upper Side Line.























As with the Front Draft you could leave the Working Template like this or you could reduce it further by taking off 0 – ¾” off the Armhole and the Side. You would do the same for both the Front and the Back Draft.


Here is how you would do this for the Armhole, this example has ½” removed. Just measure in ½” all the way down the Armhole levelling off at the new Armhole Base, in this example I would probably use this new position shown on the blue line.



​​



Here is what the new Side Line would look like.






The Front needs to be trued to the Back Draft so decide on the Side Line you wish to use, in this case the red line on the back and cut out the Back Draft down the Side Line and use this to true the Back to the Front Draft refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Truing a Draft to review how to true however most of the specific instructions for a Negative Ease Working Template is shown here.

If you mark the key points to match on the back of the Back Draft and on the Front Draft then this becomes a little easier.

On the Back mark the new Base Armhole the Waist and the Lower Hip Line.

























On the Front I have circled the new Base Armhole and the new Lower Hip Line in orange.











​​Place the Back Draft face down onto the Front Draft and line up the Base Armhole and the Lower Hip Lines. Redraw the outline of the Back Side Line onto the Front Draft.








You may need to reposition the Lower Hip Line and redraw this line to ensure that both sides are the same length on both the Front and the Back.

The new outline is drawn in Orange which you can see is substantially smaller than the Base Template original Side Line but not as small on the hips as the new green line or the optional blue line that was drawn. In this example I would go with the orange line shown on the Front Draft to do the Test Garment, I could even come in and draw a new line in from the Orange line all the way down, but at some point you need to make a decision about the fabric you are using and how much stretch you want to have.


The Front Waist position will need to be moved to be in line with the Back at the side which will mean that the Waist Line on the Front will become a curved angled line across the Front.



True up the Shoulders to see the flow from Front to Back on both the Neckline and the Armhole to ensure the sewing line is smooth, alter any lines if you need to.


In this example the Front Neckline was altered to meet the Back to make the angle at this point less square and to align the Neck Lines.




Another place to check is the Side Lines at the Armhole to ensure that the Armhole is a smooth curve from Front to Back.


You can see in this example that the curve has a little peak that has been smoothed out.

Ensure all Notches and Grainline is added – I still add a grainline even if using a knit as typically stretch is different across the fabric in all directions.

After truing you would create a Test Garment however rather than using muslin you would use a knit fabric that is either your fashion fabric or a fabric that has a similar stretch in all directions to the one that you may use. Refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Test Garment Creation in the Workflow to work through this process with consideration that you are doing this for a negative ease Working Template and not a Base Template so you will have less seams to sew. You would sew Side Seams and Shoulder Seams and would not need to add in a Centre Front Bust Dart.

You would then fit the Test Garment and write any alterations back to you Master Working Template for Negative Ease. Refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Test Garment Creation - 6. Fitting a Test Garment and also Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Alteration Assessment Part 1 and Part 2.

Once you are happy with your fit then you can preserve both the Front and the Back Drafts following the instructions in Auxiliary Reference Information - Preserve the Draft.


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