Auxiliary Reference Information | Test Garment Creation | 3. Copying the Draft

Updated: Jul 16

This Unit refers mainly to making a copy of the Base Template Draft but the same overall process can be followed for making a copy of any draft whether it is a Working Template or a Flexible pattern. You would obviously label and cut appropriately for each draft, obviously trousers would not have bodice pieces to cut out etc. A positive ease Working Template is cut the same as the Base Template except that you would not need to add in the Centre Front Bust Dart unless you would like to of course.


The photos presented here were taken for a Bodice Base Template Draft, however you would use the same principles for a Test Garment when working with Sleeves, Skirts or any other garment type.


The reason we need to make a copy of a draft is that once the Front and Back Base Template has been drafted and trued up we need to protect them. To make a test garment we will need to cut out all of the pattern pieces from the Draft but if we do this to our current version of the Draft then we damage it and will have nothing to come back to in order to make any alteration updates.


So we will call this the Master Draft and it is a good idea to label it at this point (remember that as the Master Base Template then this Draft is the ‘Mother of all’ for your bodice patterns at least anyway so it is very precious).


So in order to safeguard all of the hard work we have done we need to make a copy of the Base Template Master for both the Front and Back Drafts either by taking them to a printer or tracing out on another piece of paper, which actually takes very little time. We will then use this copy cut into pattern pieces to cut out fabric for a Test Garment, fit the garment, then we can write back any alterations to the Master Draft.


The Test Garment is going to be sewn using every seam we possibly can to enable us to get the closest fit.


For the Base Template Cutting Copy both the Front and the Back Drafts are going to be cut into 4 parts, 2 parts for the top of the bodice above the Waist and two parts for the lower bodice below the Waist. Vertically the bodice is cut into something called a Princess Line which basically is the cut from Mid Shoulder to Bust Point to Waist and down to the Lower Hip Line (refer to the Auxiliary Reference Download – Style sheets on the Darts and Seams page for a visual representation of this). This enables easy access to the Bust area to make fitting adjustments at a later stage over the mound of the Bust, it’s going to help us get closer to a snug fit.


Obviously if you have copied off a different Draft say for a Flexible Pattern you will need to assess where the seams are going to be to make the cuts.


Once Drafts are cut up into pieces I will then refer to them as Pattern Pieces.


Here are some recommended steps to use to create a Cutting Copy and to make them into Pattern Pieces. Place the Base Template Master Front Draft onto a fresh sheet of paper if you line up the Centre Front along the edge it is one less line that you need to trace/draw/cut. Place a few weights on top rather than pining as the pins will create ripples. Then using the tracing wheel trace over every line to make an exact copy ensuring that you trace out;

The Base Template Outline All Guidelines, for the Hip Bone, Waist, Bust, Cross Chest or Shoulder Blade All Darts Bust Points Back Shaping when you come to do the Back draft.

Obviously not including any temporary guidelines that are not needed now or any mistakes!

Try to be accurate with the tracing if you do slip off the line trace the line again.


The following photos show the Front and Back Drafts for a Base Template ready to trace out. This particular Draft was for a client with a G Cup Bust, hence the shape of the Draft.


A Flexible Pattern Draft could actually look very different and the Pattern Pieces that you may need to cut out may perhaps be completely different to the ones required here. You would cut out your Pattern Pieces accordingly. You may not even need to cut out the Pattern if there are not separate pieces involved.

















  • Take off the weights and slowly peak underneath as you lift up the traced copy to ensure that all your lines are traced.

  • On the new Draft copy firm up the traced lines using your pencil and rulers it is a good idea to start with the Centre Front or Centre Back Lines as the traced lines are a little tricky to see and remember that most of the horizontal guidelines are squared off from the Centre Back.

  • You can use the French Curve for the curved lines or just freehand them.

  • If you are having trouble seeing the traced lines try placing a couple of small dots on the line to help with alignment of the ruler.

Again try to stay accurate with the traced lines.

Most of the lines on the Base Template are straight except the Armhole and Neckline prior to an initial fitting although this may change after a fitting.

You can label the Cutting Copy and add any other label information you would like to. The minimum you will need to label is the Centre Front/Centre Back and Side and you would do this for the Upper pieces and the Lower pieces (i.e. above the Waist and below the Waist).

You also need to label the following;

Upper Front (for both sides of the Princess Line) or Upper Back on Both sides of the Princess Line.

Lower Front or Lower Back on both sides of the Princess Line.


  • Repeat the tracing and labelling for the Back Draft in the same way.

  • Then cut out the Front and the Back around the outlines, being careful to cut as accurately as possible.

Keep your larger paper scraps for the alteration process they may come in handy.

  • Now this next step is not essential but I always think useful to do prior to creating the muslin, just as a test, but it relies on you having an understanding client as they will need to make themselves available to you. Cut out the Base Template Cutting Copy around the outline and fold and pin all of the Darts. Hold each piece up to the client’s body one at a time and have a quick look and assess if you think you are within the ball park. If not then you get a chance to review everything before you cut it or use any fabric. If you seem to be close it will give you an idea of where you may wish to keep a seam open for fitting, or add in any extra seam allowance ‘just in case’ or otherwise make a decision to carry on with the process. But as we are hoping for a good fit anyway if you are confident you won’t need to do this.

  • Once you have the Cutting Copy you can then cut it into the Pattern Pieces and you can do this in any order but do it methodically.

For the Back;

Cut along the Back Waist Line.








  • Cut away the Waist Shaping.









  • Cut off the Back Shaping and both the top and the bottom pieces.







  • Cut the Waist Dart from the Lower Hip Line up to the Waist along one Dart Leg. Then cut away the other side of the same Dart along the other Dart Leg.




  • On the upper piece cut up the Princess Line the Shoulder Dart and along one Dart Leg to the Shoulder Line. Then cut away the other side of the Dart along the other Dart Leg.

You now have 4 Back Pattern Pieces.










For the Front;

  • Cut along the Waist on the Front Draft and cut away the Front Waist Shaping across the pattern.







  • Cut the Waist Dart from the Lower Hip Line up to the Waist along one Dart Leg. Then cut away the other side of the same Dart along the other Dart Leg.






  • On the upper piece cut up the Princess Line by cutting up one Dart Leg to the Lower Bust Point then up to the Bust Point then along one Dart Leg to the Shoulder Line. Then cut away the other side of the Dart along the other Dart Leg for the Waist Dart and the Shoulder Dart.

  • Cut down the Armhole Dart down the one of the Dart Legs all the way to the Bust Point leaving a very small amount of paper at the Bust Point to allow a pivot, less than 1/16” (if you cut through then don’t worry you will be able to line everything back up when the Darts are closed.



  • Then do the same for the Side Dart.

The reason why we are doing this is that these Darts are going to be closed out and not sewn when constructing the Test Garment for a Base Template. For a Flexible Pattern you may decide to sew your Darts to match how you will be sewing your garment and therefore may decide not to do this.

  • Slide the open edge of one of the Darts over the Dart bulk to the other leg to close up the Dart and tape it down all the way along the cut. Then repeat for the other Dart so that both Darts have been closed up. As the draft in the photo has been made for a G Cup Bust then this creates a very curvy Princess seam that is going to take a little concentration to sew up precisely.

This next step is optional but it does help during fitting so it is advisable to do this at least on a Base Template. But you probably would not do this on any of your other Drafts.

You can create a Dart on the Upper Centre Front Pattern Piece along the Bust Breadth line we can use this as another guide and anchor point for the Bust.

  • To do this cut along the Bust Breadth line from the Centre Front to the Bust Point but not cutting through, leaving a very small amount to create a pivot, again if you do cut through don’t worry you will need to ensure then when opening the Dart then you line up at the pivot point.

  • Place a strip of paper under the Dart and tape down the upper Dart Leg to the paper all the way across the cut. The paper should be longer than the width of the Pattern Piece and a couple of inches wider than the Centre Front Dart width amount from the client’s measurement sheet.

  • Measure from the top Dart Leg at the Centre Front downwards and make a mark for the Centre Front Dart Width amount on the paper below. If it helps draw the line an inch long to help with lining up the bottom Dart Leg.


  • Shift up the bottom Dart Leg until it meets this new point and tape the Dart Leg in place.

  • Firm up the Dart Leg lines for the Dart.




  • Then true up the Dart by folding the bottom leg to the top leg with the Dart bulk going downwards and trace the Centre Front outline across the bulk so that when it is opened out you can see the shape of the Dart Extension and draw in this Dart outline, as explained in Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Truing a Draft.

  • Now Trim off any excess paper and cut out the Dart Extension. You could flip the piece over and secure the back of the strip if you need to.

Incidentally this is also an example of where you can add in a Dart anywhere you would like to in a pattern.

You now have a full Bodice draft copy (in this instance for a Base Template), ready to use as pattern pieces for the Test Garment.


Now a Flexible Pattern may have extra or fewer darts to deal with and the sizes of the pattern pieces could be larger/smaller, few or many many more than we can see in these photos.

  • Finally draw on Grainlines for each Pattern Piece, remember to draw you Grainlines for the full length of the Pattern piece and as we are using muslin you can place an arrow at both ends of the line as this is a balanced weave with no pattern or nap. Obviously you will draw the Grainline appropriately to the pattern/fabric that you are using; On the Lower Front and Lower Back pattern pieces draw the grainline perpendicular to the Lower Hip Line. On the Upper Back pieces draw the Grainline perpendicular to the Waist Line. On the Upper Centre Front piece draw the Grainline parallel to the Upper Centre Front, don’t close out the Dart just draw the line straight down. (after sewing the Dart on the Test Garment the lower part of the Grainline here will be skewed. On the Upper Side Front pattern piece draw the Grainline perpendicular to the Waistline.

  • Ensure that you mark Notches and Awl Points if you need them (this not required for a Base Template or Working Template as the pattern pieces will be Thread Traced).

When you get to the stage where the Test Garment has been made and fitted and alterations written back to the Master Base Template then the Cutting Copy becomes redundant because no doubt you have made changes, so if a new Test Garment is required then a new Cutting Copy will need to be made to ensure accuracy. Sometimes you will need to do this if you want to try out different fit options or design options for a Flexible Pattern or if you have lots of alterations to control.

Flexible Patterns and Seam Allowances

For Flexible Patterns your Master Copy may have an extra step added in during drafting which would be adding a Seam Allowance. You do not need to follow these steps for a Base Template or a Working Template and I would actually recommend that you don’t follow these steps as you will get a better result without a Seam Allowance as you will be using a different technique using Wax Tracing and Thread Tracing in order to create your fabric pieces.

You would create a Cutting Copy of the Draft as described above then you would go back to the drafting process and add on your Seam Allowance which you can review in Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Seam Allowances and Hems.

Finally another Cutting Copy would be made if you need to cut up Pattern Pieces as again this would preserve your Master Flexible Pattern Draft.


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