Drafting a Bodice Sloper for Knits


At the end of Suzy’s class for a bodice sloper, she tells you how to take your woven sloper and design a knit sloper. Two slopers for the price of one!


Here’s my drafted knit bodice sloper. It’s very curvy and should be tight fitting. She suggests tracing it onto colored tag (I use poster board) so that you can easily see that it is a knit sloper.


So I did up a practice garment for a knit top because I want to make a knit flare dress. I have to check the fit first of course.

Drafting a Short Sleeve Cowl Blouse


I was so excited to have a sloper block so I could start drafting my own patterns! I also want to learn how to use my block to help alter readymade patterns to fit better.

I wanted to draft this cowl blouse for this lovely silk I bought at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco.   I traced my sloper and followed the directions in Suzy Furrer’s pattern drafting book to make the cowl blouse. I altered it by making the hem 1.5 inches below the waist. The rest I did by following the directions.


Here’s the first pass that I whipped up in muslin. It won’t have the same drape but it give me a good start. I felt it was a little loose in the back so I think I will do the darts.


Before cutting that beautiful silk, I’ll make one more sample out of less expensive fabric but one that I might still wear. I am going to drop the hemline another inch and then add a 1.5 inch hem allowance.

Not bad for the first sample.  I am going to do another one that includes the cap sleeve pattern that I will draft for it.  This process has helped me discover where there were challenges in construction as well.

I decided the hem needed to be longer and I added cap sleeves.


Cute so far.  The final silk blouse had some challenges.  It was harder to sew than the polyester.  I used a tissue stabilizer to help feed the fabric.  I also has some problems with the hems  I have such a hard time with hems on bias cut fabric.  I think i need to just do a narrow hem and leave it at that.  I used french seams for all of the side seams except where the zipper is.  I used two layers of fabric for the sleeves so folded back on each other there is no hem.  I also added a small pleat into the cap sleeve for a little mote room.  You can’t even tell its there really but it helps with movement.  I tacked down all the facings so they didn’t flap.


Over all for a first drafting project this pattern turned out really nice!  I am so excited to wear it with my Style Arc Erin Culottes.

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 5: the Sleeves


I decided to try a couple of sleeve tutorials as I always have Suzy Furrer and Craftsy to fall back on!

So I drafted a basic sleeve from Suzy Furrer’s book because she drafts a sleeve off the basic bodice sloper. It is a very custom sloper where the armhole curve for the back and front are often different for someone like me that has somewhat forward sloping shoulders.

Then I drafted a sleeve from Madalynne. Her tutorials are well written and thoughtful. The sloper went together easily and the back of the armhole measurement is slightly longer than the front. The only issue may be that that is doesn’t fit my bodice sloper because it is not drafted off those measurements.   It was drafted off my commercial size for the sleeve cap and then incorporated my bicep measurement and sleeve length. The layout of the blog could have been a little better as I had to constantly scroll back up to the pictures to follow the instructions.


Next was a sleeve from Trantanphat. It was a totally different type of sleeve with these interesting darts at the elbow. What was unique about this tutorial, other than the darts was the fact that you enter your measurements in the first page and they calculator figures out all the other measurements for you. (It does a lot of the math!) This is kind of handy and speeds up the process immensely.   Again, this one is not based on the sloper measurements so it will be interesting to see how they fits.


These should be interesting to fit into the sloper that I have from my Craftsy class.  I did use Clothing Patterns 101 tutorial for my cap sleeve. The easiest sleeve yet! We’ll see how they turn out.  There are also some good tutorials from Threads and Craftstylish.  I read those but didn’t draft them.

Now to test fit these into my sloper bodice!

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block 4.5: the new Bodice Muslin


Here is the Suzy Furrer bodice in final form on the dress form! Now I have a great set of bodice blocks. I am going to finalize them by fusing with interfacing on the back so they can stand up to a lot of use.


So I learned that you make a moulage first. It is a sloper that has like a second skin fit to get the person’s exact body shape. Then she turns it in to a sloper by adding just a bit of ease to make a close fitting garmet. Suzy says you need to add this ease every time so if you do it once you have a good sloper to start all you designs from.


Here’s my sloper finally done on poster board (get 2 for $1.00 at Dollar Tree!) I hang mine on a clip pant hangar in the closet or on the wall to protect it. This was so good and so much fun that I think I will go back and make new skirt and pant slopers from her book that I bought or just buy the Craftsy Class for those too!

Full Circle Blouse Tutorial

If you saw my tutorial on the Half Circle Blouse experiment, here is the full circle one. This is for fabric approximately 58 inches wide. You will need about 2.5 yards.


Here is my paper mock up pattern. circle blouse pattern

I sketched my pattern out on a piece of paper first. I measured my neck and then added an inch of overlap for fastening, then added seam allowances (I use 5/8” but use whatever you are used to). That was my length for the neckband. For finished width I decided on 2.5 inches so I doubled it and added seam allowances so my total was 17.5 inches long X 5 inches wide. That was my neckband pattern.


Then I drafted the blouse pattern on a piece of paper. I knew my fabric was going to be 58” which is 29” folded. I then assumed I would fold the fabric over from the end to form a square 29” by 29”. Now I had to do some fancy figuring (remember the geometry!) to figure out the rest of the measurements. I know I wanted to gather the neck into the neckband to I wanted the neck opening to be double my neck size so for me that was about 30 inches. In order to figure out how to mark my circle I needed the radius of the neck opening. For those of you who have forgotten your geometry, radius = circumference/3.14. So with a 30” circumference my radius was 4.77 inches. The radius for your hem circle is as wide as your fabric will allow, which for me is 29”.

On the Half Circle Blouse I made the opening for the neck on the side, so the neck and the armhole made it large enough to go over my head. I wanted something different for this one so after the circle is cut I will cut the circle straight up the back and insert a 7 or 9 inch zipper up through the neckband.

I fold the circle in half and match the armholes so I can cut a seam in the back. From here I can draft the armholes using a cup to round them. Face them with single-fold bias tape. I picked a cute calico, no more boring bias tape for me, and whipped up some bias tape for the facings and hem.

IMG_0554I decided to do a little experimenting with this one for more shoulder coverage. Since I had plenty of fabric in the circle to work with, I shaped the armholes a little before I faced them and brought the first 5 inches or so down on the shoulder. I sewed a shoulder seam, hoping to catch the upper edge into the neck band and only gather the neck at the front and back. Let’s see if this works. I did this because on the half circle I really didn’t like that it required a strapless bra because it showed so much shoulder.

Next I insert the zipper into the back. I don’t have an invisible zipper foot so I used my regular zipper foot and put it in all the way up to the neck and finished the seam. I finished the raw edges on the serger. This part was so frustrating and looks so messy I won’t even take a picture. After many tries I kind of gave up and took solace in the fact I will wear a sweater most of the time in this outfit. The fabric was just too slippery and I broke 3 needles trying to get it to work. So what did I do? Whip out the trusty iPad, get on Pinterest, and find a solution. After looking at a few solutions, the quickest one was to use was placing tissue below my slippery fabric to give the feed dogs something to grip and keep the fabric from getting pushed down. It worked perfectly! Yes I had to pull paper off all the time and kept putting more pieces under my work but so worth it as to not have a ratty hem and get the zipper finished. All I can think is how much I could have learned and learned faster if I had had Pinterest 10 years ago!

IMG_0574All that is left is the hem which I faced with the rest of the custom bias tape. It was interesting because it gave it a little stiffer quality and support to the hem than when the fabric hung without it. You can see that the hem kind of sticks out more like a peplum and you can see some of the facing. I love it. If you want it to lay down more and not have that contrast peeking out then do a rolled hem.

I also made a bias cut belt but don’t think it was great. It was wavy and did not come out great but it’s useable. I also can wear it with a regular belt.


In hindsight, the half circle blouse on 45 inch fabric produces a longer hem than the full circle on the 58 inch fabric. So if you want more rear coverage, go with the half circle. The full circle does not really produce more fabric around the body or this fabric was too soft to make much difference or once I spread out the shoulders it wasn’t enough. Now I am thinking what about a half circle on 60 inch fabric? That might make a mini dress or longer tunic for leggings. Anyone ready to experiment?