This is the process I used to create a Torso Pattern in my Pattern Drafting Procedures class.

(Before I could make the torso, I had to measure the body form  at various points.  To do this, I referred to “Patternmaking for Fashion Design”, pg. 34.  After I’d measured the body, I created a pattern of the bodice and skirt; then I traced/transferred it onto stiffer paper called OAKTAG, similar to manila folders.  These stiff patterns are called SLOPERS.  Here’s a couple pictures of my MUCH USED slopers, to give you an idea of what they are.)

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I used my front and back slopers to create this basic torso. I first started by drafting two squares (one for the front torso and one for the back), leaving room for the slopers to fit on the top. The top and bottom of each square was the width of the hip arc plus 1/2″ (front hip arc for the front sloper, etc.). The sides of the squares were the measurements for the hip depths, front and back. Next, I marked a dot 3/4″ in from the top left corner of the front square, and 3/4″ from the top right side of the back square. I placed the CF line of the front sloper against the top right corner, so the vertical line travels from the side of the square seamlessly up to the CF neck. I did the same thing with the back sloper, so the CB line was continuous. Then, I traced the slopers around from the base of the CF up and around to the middle neck, and marked that line. I placed a pin in the BP, and pivoted the sloper to the left until the side corner hit and overlapped the top of the square by a bit (1/4″ to 1/2″). I traced new side lines around to the dart point. I next repeated the last four directions on the back. Then, I cut a vertical slash line from the bottom of the traced torso up to the middle of the armhole, and spread this to the side to meet the DOT previously marked. I traced this new line, and repeated it on the back. Then, I curved the hip lines out and down with hip ruler. On front, I measured 1″ below the bust point. I marked it, then drew a horizontal line 1 & 3/4″ from that point towards the side. I drew lines down (perfect horizontal lines) past the waist point ending 3″ below the hip. I marked dots on either side of the vertical lines along the waist, 1/4″ on either side (total of 4 dots), then connected these dots to form two long diamond-shaped darts. On the back, I measured 1″ down from the armhole on the side. I squared out to the CB line (perpendicular to CB line, not side). Mark dots 3 & 3/4″ from the CB along the waistline AND along the new line. Here, I marked 2 & 1/4″ past those dots along the lines. Then I connected the dots, top to bottom, extending 5 & 1/2″ past the waist. I drew the diamond darts, added seam allowances, graininess and the needed notches. DONE!!

Here is a picture of my newly created torso patterns, along with all-in-one facings.


1. Cut out your pattern very carefully, making sure to mark all darts and notches.
Cutting Pattern
2. Sew all darts carefully, making sure to cut a slit inside the widest part of the diamond darts to allow spreading. Press.
3. Match side seams of the back pieces to the front piece and stitch together. Press open.
4. Stitch facing (if made) pieces together. Press seams open.
5. Lay torso face up on ground. Lay facing onto of torso, face down. Match seams and notches.
Shell to Facing
6. Stitch along neck and armholes, avoiding shoulders. Clip into curves to allow for spreading.
7. Turn right side out and press along neckline and armholes. Arrange dress correctly in front of you, with the back at the back and set down as if closed.
8. Reach up through inside of front shoulder opening. Carefully grab back shoulder with that hand and pull back out, keeping it in line for how seams should match.
9. Pin seams together around edges (you’re sewing a tube shape). Stitch around tube. Now repeat with other shoulder. Trim excess.
10. Pull right side out again. Press.
11. Stitch in the ditch to secure, and finish the back how ever you choose. 🙂
Finished Torso


So next, I took my muslin to class to fit to my dress form.  Here’s a few pics of the results:

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This is the all-important first fitting.  So, as you can see, even though I’d carefully measured everything to create this first garment, it still had a few things wrong with it.    It was getting there, but there were a couple tweaks that needed to be made.  The hips were AWFULLY tight, (I couldn’t pin the seam down the back!!) and the bust point darts were a bit too high (both top and bottom darts needed to move down to center over the bust points).  You can see that there’s pulling and bunching all over, and it just doesn’t look quite right.  Back to the drawing board!!

I took my patterns home, lengthened and shortened the bust dart points where needed (marked on the muslin as it was on the dress form), and added a bit more fulness to the side hip area, both front and back.  ONCE AGAIN, cut another muslin from my altered pattern, and went back to class.


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I was definitely happier with this next fitting, but if I were to be completely honest, I’d still say it has room for improvement.  I would probably take in the back underarm seam just a tiny bit; I think that might help to smooth those pull lines behind the arms.  And my iron sure doesn’t do a great job… I just bought a new one, and that should help with my next projects.

This process is the BASIC, MOST ESSENTIAL process for creating a garment for someone that fits well, flatters their figure, and looks professional.  Figuring out how to smooth the fit in different ways will definitely help me out in the future when creating my costumes and dream dresses!!

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