Adding ease to the bodice shell

If you have already completed the basic pattern of the bodice, you’ve probably realized that this pattern can not be used as such but you need to test it on your body and add ease to be able to move in. I will develop this point here.

The construction method of the bodice pattern comes from the pattern-drafting book of Teresa Gilewska. This pattern is made according to the exact measurements of your body. Once the theoretical pattern completed, you should make a canvas bodice to check that the vertical lines (waist line, bust line, hips line, underarm line) and horizontal lines (darts) fall in the right place.

You might have a louching back or a generous chest, sloping shoulders or two asymmetrical sides. The canvas shell allows precisely to correct the theoretical pattern and get a proper basis for further work. This canvas shell is very tight on you so I advise you to put a zip on the center front to be able to close it. You should also have someone that checks the back. Once your adjusted the bodice shell, report the changes on your basic pattern.

In terms of ease, you should consider the volume of your final model.
In the following drawing, the values of the ease are minimal, that is to say, you’re going to get a tight but wearable garment.

The following values are minimum measures as presented in Teresa Gilewska’s “Flat Pattern-Drafting, volume 1”.



To add minimum ease to your bodice shell, you need to:
– lengthen the neckline with 0.5 cm on the front and back
– descend the front neckline with 0.5 cm
– lengthen the shoulder line with 0.5 cm
– lengthen the arm-to-arm line with 1 cm in the back and with 0,75 cm on the front
– lengthen armhole line with 2 cm
– move down the armhole line with 2.5 cm
– lengthen the waist line with 1 cm
– lengthen the hips line with 1 cm

The ease you add depends on the model you want to realize. If your model is wider than the adjusted model, note down the desired width of bust, waist and hips. Divide the difference between the desired width of the garment and actual measurements of your body by 4 and add the figures on the half-front and half-back basic pattern (without ease).

If you want to have large armholes, descend the armhole line.

If you want to put shoulder pads in your jacket or coat, extend and move up the shoulder line with 1 cm.

Your bodice shell is now over. Keep all pattern versions and mark on the date and details (with or without ease). I hope you found this post useful. You are free to give feedback on this method.


2 thoughts on “Adding ease to the bodice shell”

  1. I would wish to know how to cut sleeve that will have printing at the shoulder, how would the measurements look like? So that the sleeve can stand. Thanks

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