[Module 5] Creating the Working Template | 4b. Bodice for Stretch to Fit Fabrics

A negative ease Working Template is smaller than the Base Template and therefore smaller than the body it was made for. This kind of ease allows for stretch/jersey or knit fabric to stretch across the body so that they stretch to fit and don’t just hang there in a floppy manner. You would not use a negative ease template for a non stretch woven fabric.

All stretch fabric has a different amount of stretch horizontally, vertically and also diagonally so some experimentation may be required here to access how much negative ease is required for the desired fit of the final garment alongside which grain you will be cutting on as often the stretch is also different in different directions on the same fabric. When creating a Negative Ease Working Template draft it is useful if you know what fabric you are going to use, and if you have gone through the modules in order then you will have assessed fabric and design options already.

On top of this each individual has an element of comfort that they are willing to deal with when wearing clothes that stretch across the body. Obviously a larger body will be showing off lumps and bumps when wearing a negative ease garment.

Suggested measurements can be made for drafting but it is recommended that a Test Garment be made out of the actual fabric that is going to be used for the final garment.

This is the only Test Garment that I would recommend using fashion fabric for as that is an expensive test. However it is so difficult to find cheaper fabrics that match any fashion fabric in stretch both ways, and you only need the fabric to make a bodice usually unless you are going to make something like a mermaid dress where you will have to decide if you are going to try to source a cheaper option for testing or not. Don’t forget that once the Negative Ease Working Template Draft is tested that you will be able to use it for any number of Flexible Patterns and therefore multiple garment options so it is worth doing.

A negative ease Working Template has less seams to sew as you don’t need them to assist with fit, although later if you wish to add in style lines for design then that would be personal choice.

To draft a negative ease Working Template you typically end up drawing and redrawing lines until you arrive at the end result. If it makes it easier for you keep changing pen colours or ensure that you cross off old lines prior to moving on to the next step.

The sample photos here are for a size 10 with a D Cup Bust.

Front Draft

  • As before copy off the Base Template for the Front Draft and drop the Neckline 1/2" and move out the High Shoulder Point 1/4" in the same way as drafting the Working Template for Bodice Tops- Dresses and Jackets.

Here is the Draft traced out.


Here is the Neckline dropped ½”. ​​

Here the High Shoulder Point has been moved out ¼”.

Cross off the Waist Shaping on the Draft as it is not going to be used in the Front Draft as a seam (this step is also a common step to use in Flexible Patterns if you don’t have a Waist Seam).

​​But you need to reflect this change in the length of the garment across the top of the Draft to get rid of the excess to avoid folds of fabric pooling at the Waist in the garment.

Drop down the Neckline another 3/8”, drop down the new High Shoulder Point and the Shoulder End Point to reflect the size of the Waste shaping removed across the body. This would be 3/8” down for the High Shoulder Point and around 1/8” at the Shoulder End Point. Unless your Waist Shaping was a different size to the Waist Shaping that was suggested when making a Base Template in which case drop down this amount at the new High Shoulder Point and measure the width of the Waist shaping directly under the Shoulder End Point as the appropriate amount needs reducing.

  • You could move out the Shoulder end point if you would like experiment with this by 1/8” to 1/4”.

  • Redraw the Shoulder Line.

  • Redraw the Neckline.

  • Darts are not required for shaping in a negative ease garment so in the Shoulder so you will need to cross this out.

The Shoulder length will need to be adjusted accordingly and moved in by the amount that was removed in the Dart. Mark in the amount then draw in the new Armhole line merging with the current Armhole.

  • Darts are not required in the Armhole or the Side so they will need to be closed out.

Cut down a Dart Leg on the Armhole and cut down a Dart Leg on the Side.

  • Close up the Armhole Dart by bringing the pivoting piece up with the bulk of the dart going underneath to the back and tape down.

This creates a gap in the Side Dart. Place a strip of paper to close the gap and tape the Dart down.

Measure how big the Dart now is including the Gap that was created when the Side Dart opened up and raise the Lower Hip Line by this amount and redraw the Lower Hip line in a curve to this point.

  • Consider dropping the Armhole up to 3/4” as your garment would not usually go this high in the Armhole.

  • Redraw the Armhole to the new Base Armhole point.

  • If the fabric has lots of stretch lengthwise then consider decreasing the garment in length above and or below the Waist by anything up to 1” in total. A recommendation is to start with ½” and test this in the Test Garment.

In this example ¼” was taken off below the Waist and ¼” taken off above the Waist To do this draw a Cut Line across the draft parallel to the Hip Bone Line.

Draw another line across the draft line ¼” above and parallel to the Cut Line.

Draw in a guideline perpendicular across both lines to help you join everything back up (which is a good habit to get into for pattern alterations).

​​Then Cut along the Cut Line.

Line up the Cut line with the second line at the measured point and tape the piece down all the way along.

  • You may need to redraw the Side Line to smooth it out.

  • This was then repeated above the Waist to remove the other ¼”.

  • Remove the Waist Dart by measuring the Dart and marking in from the Side Waist by the same amount.

Then redraw the lower Side Line.