[Module 4] Create the Base Template | 6. Draft the Back

The following instructions will take you through creating the Back Base Template draft step by step as you did for the Front draft.

The Back Base Template can be drawn on the same sheet of paper as the Front if the paper is large enough, and the Lower Hip line can be drawn in line with the Front Lower Hip Line but not all guide lines are going to line up with the front once it is drawn mainly because the front has extra Darts taking up space on the paper.

Drafting Below the Waist

Step 1

Draw a line parallel to the right edge of the paper lengthways approximately 1- 2 inches from the edge. Or start a new sheet of paper to do this if you prefer.

I simply line up my ruler with the edge of the paper and draw down the other side, shift the ruler up and complete the line.

This line is going to be the Centre Back so label it somewhere in the middle.

Step 2

Set the paper portrait so that the line drawn is on your right.

At the bottom draw another line perpendicular and squared off from this Centre Back line a couple of inches away from the bottom of the paper. Again I line up my ruler with the bottom edge of the paper and draw down the other side along the length of the ruler.

If you are drawing the Back draft on the same piece of paper as the Front then this line may have already been drawn out.

This line is going to be the Lower Hip line so label it.

Check the measurement of the Back Lower Hip from the calculations table then measure this out from the Centre Back and mark the measurement.

This side of the diagram is going to be the Side of the pattern so label this side as the ‘Side’. Write down the measured amount next to the lines label.

​​Step 3

Find the measurement for the Lower Hip Depth.

Measure up from the Lower Hip Line along the Centre Back Line and mark this measurement on the Centre Back Line.

Step 4

Draw a perpendicular line at this mark squared off from the Centre Back Line, draw it a couple of inches longer than the Back Waist measurement actually is.

Label this line as the Waist and write down the Back Waist measurement and the Back Waist Dart width and also write down the amount for Centre Back shaping which is 3/8”, the same as the Waist shaping next to it, obviously you can change this amount if required, this may change anyway during fitting the Test Garment.

Step 5

Calculate Back Waist + Waist Dart + Waist Shaping (3/8”).

If the Back Waist Dart works out to be < or = 0 then use ¼” for the Waist Dart.

Always consider using a Waist Dart as it is going to break up the pattern and allow you more flexibility in shaping/fitting and creating a Princess line seam.

Step 6

Measure this amount along the Waist Line from Centre Back and make a mark on the Waist Line at this point.

Step 7

Mark the Waist shaping amount 3/8” from the Centre Back on the Waist Line.

Then from this point mark half of the Back Waist measurement this will be the Back Waist Dart Centre Line eventually.

From that point mark the Dart Width measurement (i.e half of the Dart with marked each side of the Dart Centre Line, you can see how one side of the Dart Centre Line has been measured and marked in the photo).

Step 8

Here you can see how both sides of the Dart, the Dart Legs have been marked either side of the Dart Centre Line. Draw a perpendicular line from this point squared off from the Waist Line down to the Lower Hip Line.

Step 9

From the Dart legs on either side of the Centre Dart line mark points 3/8” below the Waist line.

This will be an allowance for Waist shaping.

Draw short lines down to these two marks from the Dart legs.

Measure and draw a line 3/8” lower than the Waist line from Centre Back to the new line for the inside Dart leg.

(This line is parallel to the Waist line).

Draw a line from the new line under the outside Dart leg to the Side Waist point, this will be a diagonal line.

You can change the amount for Waist shaping if you wish, I like 3/8 as it is an amount that is not too fiddly to work with but not too wide that it takes out too much fabric, this amount may change anyway in the back after a fitting, lots of people have a sway to the back and this will be accounted for in the fitting. Having this Waist shaping in place gives you a Guideline when fitting the Back and a starting point to work from if a sway back is pronounced. I have to take out inches at this point for my garments to fit properly and get rid of those extra folds you can get at the Waist Centre Back. More about that when we look at fitting.

Step 10

Measure a mark on the Centre Back Line down from the Waist for the Hip Bone Depth.

Draw a line perpendicular from this mark and squared off from the Centre Back line a couple of inches longer than the Back Hip Bone measurement.

Label this line Hip Bone and write down the measurement next to the label.

Step 11

To work out the Waist Dart length measure the distance between the Hip Bone Line and the Lower Hip Line and work out approximately what 2/5th of that measurement would be. An easy way to work this out is to change the measurement of inches into eighths as we did in the Front. Lets say the distance is 4", that would be 4 x 8 (the number of eighths in an inch). 4 x 8 is 32, so that is 32 eighths 32 / 5 because we want to break this number into fifths, is 6 with 2 left over (ignoring the leftovers because we want an approximate amount) 6 is 1/5 so 2/5 is 12 eighths or 1 1/4" Make a mark at this point on the Centre Dart line.

This point denotes the end of the Waist Dart.

Draw in the rest of the Dart legs for the lower part of the Waist Dart from the line marked 3/8 below the Waist down to this new measured mark.

Step 12

Measure the width of the dart on the Hip Bone Line and add that measurement to the length of the Hip Bone Line.

Mark this point on the Hip Bone Line measuring from the Centre Back Line.

This is to ensure that the Hip Bone Line is measured correctly not including the space that the Dart takes up.

Step 13

Measure the distance between the Hip Bone Line and the Lower Hip line and work out approximately 1/5th of the measurement. Remember to make it easier transfer the inches measurement into eighths.

Mark the 1/5th measurement down from the Hip Bone Line on the Centre Back line.

If you have not done so already extend the Back shaping line down to the bottom of the Waist Shaping, this is a short straight line parallel to the Centre Back Line. Then join from there to the new mark made at the Centre Back Line. This line will be drawn on a diagonal.

This will form the Centre Back shaping for below the Waist.

Step 14

Draw the side by joining the end of the Lower Hip Line and the Hip Bone Line using a straight line.

Step 15

Draw the side by joining the mark on the Hip Bone Line to the Waist Line using a straight line.

Drafting the Neck Area

Step 16

Mark on the Centre Back the Centre Back Length measurement up from the Waist Line.

At this mark draw a line squared off and perpendicular to the Centre Back, the line will be around 10” long.

Label this line the Base Neck Line and note the neck measurement for the Back Neck Width.

Step 17

Mark a point along this line from the Centre Back for the Back Neck Width measurement, label the point ‘z’.

Draw a line perpendicular and squared off to the Base Neck Line at point ‘z’. The length of the line is the measurement of the Back Shoulder/Neck Intersection measurement. Label this new point ‘x’.

Step 18

At point ‘z’ lay down the ruler to draw a 1 inch line at a 45 degree angle going in a right and up wise direction on the right side of the last line drawn. Can you see how the 1/2" squares on the ruler line up with the Base Neck Line and the Back Shoulder/Neck Intersection to get that perfect 45 degree angle. The mark is made right on that diagonal line like a little 'T'.

Label the end of this line ‘y’.

Step 19

Draw the neck line in. Join ‘x’ to ‘y’ to the Neck Base Line, flattening the line off at the Neck Base Line 1/2" before getting to the Centre Back Line to allow a smooth transition across the Back of the Neck.

You can do this by hand or use the French Curve to do this in two passes from the top to the middle then from the middle to the Base Neck Line.

You may need to smooth out any peak in the middle. As I am using pen I have put short lines through the curve I no longer need but if you are using your pencil just rub it out until you are happy with the curve.

If you can’t hit y because of the gradient of the curve then don’t worry it is just a guiding point.

Drafting the Shoulder

Step 20

Calculate Shoulder Length + Shoulder Dart width.

Place the ruler at point ‘x’ and pivot the ruler down to the Base Neck Line for the calculated measurement.

Label the line Shoulder Line.

Step 21

Mark a point halfway along the Shoulder Line for the centre of the Dart.

Mark the Dart legs on either side of this point each should be half the Shoulder Dart Width measurement away from the Centre Dart mark.

(If you don't have a Shoulder Dart as you may be drafting for a child for example just mark the centre of the Dart).

Step 22

Measure the distance from the Bust Point to the Waist on the Front draft.

Measure up from the Waist on the Centre Back the same distance and mark this point.

If you are drawing the Back draft on the same paper as the Front then just extend this line out from the Front Bust Line.

There is a good chance that we may alter the position of this line on the Back later when trueing up the pattern.

Step 23

Draw a line from this point perpendicular and squared off from the Centre Back or extend the line from the Front draft. Mark a point on this line for the Back Bust Line measurement.

Important Note;

This calculation may have been adjusted whilst drafting the Front, check your table for your notes to get the correct calculation (if you view the next photo you can see the circled area marked in red, this excess measurement was previously added to the Back Bust line measurement so this extra measurement is not lost). This may change again anyway during the fitting.

Label the line Bust Line.

Drafting the Side

Step 24

Draw a guideline square and perpendicular to the end of the Back Bust Line.

The line will go centrally through the Bust line and be around 6” in length.

We will use this guideline to determine the side length and the Base Armhole position.

Step 25

Find your Side Length measurement. Place the ruler at the end of the Waist Line with the ruler at 0 and pivot the ruler up where it meets to a point on the guideline for the measurement of the Side Length measurement and mark the end of the line.

Draw a line to join the Side Waist to this new mark for the Side Length.

You may lose a little off the Back Bust line, in the photo it looks like around 1/4" has been lost, but you will be able to adjust any side issues at point of fitting so don’t worry about this for now.

Note that the Back does not have a Side Dart so this line will be shorter than the Front draft so do not panic.

Finalise the Darts

Step 26

Draw a long line from the inside Shoulder Dart to the inside Waist Dart.

If the Client is tall you may need a long ruler for this or line up with two rulers.

(If you don’t have a shoulder Dart just draw the line to the Centre Dart point marked on the Shoulder earlier).

Step 27

Draw a line 1” down from the Bust Line on this new line drawn and mark the point. Draw in the outside Waist Dart to this point and extend the centre of the Dart to this point also.

Step 28

On the inside Dart Leg on the Shoulder Line measure down the value for the Back Shoulder Dart Length and mark this point.

Join the outside Dart leg point on the Shoulder to this new marked point.

Skip this step if you don’t have a Shoulder Dart.

Drafting the Armhole

Step 29

The Base Armhole starts where the Side Length was pivoted to the guideline off the Bust Line, so label this point the Base Armhole.

Draw a line from the Base Armhole back and square to the Centre Back.

Label this line the Base Armhole.

Step 30

Find the Cross Back Depth measurement. Measure down the Centre Dart Line from the Shoulder Line for the Cross Back Depth measurement amount

Draw a line through this point squared off from the Centre Back, the length of the line should go over towards the end of the Base Armhole Line.

Label this line the Cross Back Line.

Step 31

Find the Cross Back Measurement.

Measure from the Centre Back Line along the Cross Back Line for the Cross Back Measurement and make a mark at this point.

Step 32

Draw a line from the Cross Back point squared off the Cross Back Line down to the Base Armhole Line.

Where the Cross Back and Base Armhole line intersect draw a 1” line from this point at a 45 degree angle up and to the left.

Label the end of this new line ‘a’.

If you can’t progress at this stage because the Cross Back Line is below the Armhole Line then the chances are that the Armhole is too high and you may have already adjusted the Front Armhole as well. You need a pivot point for the Armhole otherwise you won’t be able to draw the Armhole in. This following is a little bit of a fudge to get the Armhole drawn in but will get you to a point of finishing the draft and then this will be an area of concern for the fitting.

If this is the case mark the Cross Back measurement along the current Armhole line then draw a new Armhole line ½” lower than the current one. Then draw the Armhole from the Shoulder End point to the Cross Back measurement on the 1st Armhole line down to the new Armhole line flattening off at the Base Armhole. You will now skip Step 33 if you have had to do this work around.

The client will be able to get the Test Garment on and you will be somewhere in the vicinity with the Armhole but no doubt will need to make a few adjustments with the Armhole position and shape so make a note on the draft that this will need attention. Otherwise if everything worked out carry on to the next step.

Step 33

Draw the Armhole joining the end of the End Shoulder Point to point ‘a’ and down to Base Armhole, levelling off at the Base Armhole to ensure a smooth connection across the Base Armhole seams with no peaks or troughs.

I don’t join to the Cross Back Line although you could as I want to ensure I have more than enough fabric at the Armhole for fitting, in-fact you may need to take away excess in the Armhole – I would rather take away than have to add on here.

Use a French curve as before.

Don’t worry if you cannot meet point ‘a’ when drawing the line, it is just a guideline.

Note that the Back does not have an Armhole Dart.

Step 34

Measure the Armhole Line on the inside of the draft by walking the tape measure along the line. Compare the measurement to the Back Armhole measurement.

This area in the draft on both the Front and the Back is where all of the lines come together. I think it is also the trickiest to get exactly right on paper because it relies on so many measurements being accurately taken and drafted on a large bust these two armhole areas can get tricky. But just keep this simple rule in your head, its better to allow more fabric at this point than less, its easier to cut fabric away than add it on.

It is never going to come up exactly and that is fine because this will all get fixed up during the fitting, there are so many things going on in the Armhole that will affect fit the length and angle of the shoulder, the size of the bust, the shape of the shoulder, the shape of the top of the arm, the amount of flesh in the Armhole, the age of the client. You can only judge all of this accurately when you have the garment on and you can see what is happening.

Obviously the closer you can get during drafting the better and if you are only out by a small amount in the measurement say ½” then you could alter the shoulder end height as you may have had to do in the Front draft or alter the Base Armhole position.

If you do make any of these changes you will need to check the position of the Shoulder Dart, and the Waist Dart and possibly re draw the Armhole curve.

If you are out by more than ½” then double check all of your measurements, calculations and drafted lines.

If you still can’t find anything then drop or raise the End Shoulder point and or the Base Armhole as above.

However any measurement you cannot squeeze in or out will need to be dealt with during fitting so all is not lost. Even if you are out by 2” don’t worry the fitting will take care of it.

If you were out in the Front or in the Back stand back and consider by how much. What does this mean about the body, is the person shorter in the Front do they have rounded shoulders etc.

Remember it is better to have too much fabric than not enough to play with during fitting.

If you are any doubt about whether to make any alterations here leave it as it is. When you do the test garment you will be leaving the shoulder seam unsewn and will be able to deal with any issue in the armhole and shoulder position. It will all come out in the wash.

You can see the alterations I have made on this draft in red pen in order to ensure that I accommodate the Armhole measurement to ensure I have enough fabric for fitting.

They may only look like slight measurements changes but they are worth doing to get you closer to the mark.

Step 35

Measure down the inside Shoulder Dart Leg to the Back Bust Line and mark half way down. Draw a line perpendicular and squared off from the Centre Back Line at this point all the way out to the Armhole and label this as the Shoulder Blade Line, this may be used as a guideline for fitting and future pattern drafting.

Step 36

Draw a line from the Shoulder Blade Line at the Centre Back to the 3/8” in mark on the Waist Line from Centre Back for the Back shaping.

Step 37

Label this draft as the Back.

Once the Front and the Back Base Templates are drafted check that the following have been completed;

  • Ensure that the drafts are labelled as follows Master Front Base Template and Master Back Base Template for ease of reference.

  • Ensure that you place the Client name the Date off the Measurements Sheet and the Weight of the Client somewhere on the draft.

  • True up the pattern, refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Truing a Draft which covers everything you will need to know for trueing a pattern including how to add Grainlines and Notches and Awl Points.

Well done! The last two units were the most technical of all but well worth the effort when you consider that every single garment you create will come from these two drafts. The aim is to get as accurate as possible which is a big ask when you are constantly working with a moving target so be easy on yourself. If you have got this far, you have come along way and you should be proud of your achievements....I know you have been working hard for weeks and still have not really touched your sewing machine...I think you have now realized that to get a quality fitting for a garment that you need takes some time and effort, this is a skill worth learning so I thank you for your precious time and your trust in me to get you to this point and to learn this gift!

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