Free Pattern Drafting Calculator for Your Measurements....and my commentary on drafting patterns for dummies;-)

August 21, 2013

Check out this downloadable block pattern drafting calculator from Burdastyle user Biz Natch. What it basically does type in your measurements and the calculator gives you coordinates telling you where to put your neck point, armhole point, bust dart point, etc....Then you connect the dots. Voila! Your own block patterns! Sounds too good to be true, right?
I will admit, when I first saw the calculator (ie Excel document) it looked as confusing as a building schematic. But here are a couple things that might help put it in more "layman's terms". First download the file here at Mediafire. Then open it.

See the tabs at the bottom? Those are just the various calculators for each piece of your body (ie female bodice calculator, male bodice calculator, sleeve, pants, etc.). Go to the tab that says F Bodice 1.

Now, see that on FBodice 1 AND every other page there is a top and a bottom table? If you are using US (Imperial) measurements ignore the bottom. If you are using metric measurements ignore the top. In fact, just delete them. Things looks a lot simpler now! I also got rid of the male tabs because I never make male clothing. You can always redownload the file if you need it later.

First off in column B type in your own personal measurements. The numbers in the other columns will change as you type in your own measurements.

Now, you can start! Think of it as coordinates on a map. First you must draw your axis'. On the left side of your page draw a vertical line from top to bottom. I recommend using an 18"x24" newsprint pad. Then draw a horizontal line at the top of your page, as close to the top as possible.

Look at the measurements under the column "Lines". We are going to mark horizontal lines on our paper according to these measurements and label them accordingly. The "Lines" column will refer to dots that are measured down. And the "P1,P2,P3,P4" columns will refer to dots that are measured to the right. Get it?

First off, line A. It has a 0 next to it. That means it lies over your top line. So mark your top line "A".

Now, look at the number in the "Lines" column next to "B". Ignore NP for the moment.

Measure down your vertical line using that measurement and make a mark. Then draw a line across your page to the right. Mark that line B. Repeat for lines C-F.

Now, look at the number under P1 in row A (P1 stands for "point 1", each horizontal line that you just drew ie, A, B, C, D....has one or more points on it).

Using that number under P1 measure from where your axis points meet out to the right along your A line. Make a point. Mark it A1.

Now, look at the number under P1 in row B.

Using that number under P1 in row B, measure along your "B" line (to the right). Make a point. Mark it B1. Repeat for C1, D2 and F1.

For Line E you must make several points. These will be your dart marks. Measure them the same way you did your previous lines using the measurements from the spreadsheet next to row E, under column P1, P2, P3, P4.

For your neck point (NP) refer to the calculator to see what measurement is listed under "Lines" next to NP.

On your drawing sheet measure DOWN using that measurement and make a dot. There is nothing listed for P1 which means your neck point (NP) will rest along your vertical line. Mark it NP.

Now comes the fun part! Simply connect the dots! For your curved lines use a french curve. If you don't have a french curve you can download a template for free here via The Sewing Notebook. (PS If the former link doesn't work, try the latter). See my pictures below for connecting the dots.
Neckline using a french curve.


Armhole using a french curve.

For the darts, the instructions say to measure two inches down from line D and two inches up from line F. Make a mark.

Then connect all the dots as shown.


Voila! Done. If you want to try the bodice front just do it the same way you did the bodice back starting on a new piece of paper. It's a bit different but I'm confident that as long as you got through this first piece you can get through the next one! Be sure to follow the instructions in the spreadsheet. Then if you can get through the front bodice go ahead and try the other bodice pieces in the F Bodice 2 tab. Then try the pants!

14 {comments}:

Sewing Princess said... Best Blogger Tips

thanks for the link. i must say that though it's useful you may still need to adjust the bodice to make it fit.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Sewing PrincessTrue, I've had to alter almost every pattern I've "bought". It's almost assumed that unless I've made it already, it isn't quite perfect yet.

Amber Bockman said... Best Blogger Tips

Love this, especially for a pants!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you! The programm is really usefull and puts some headache aside with measurments for begginers :)

darlene said... Best Blogger Tips

what is "narrow back"?

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Awesome! Thanks :)

Karen said... Best Blogger Tips

I just downloaded MediaFire from your link but it does not seem to have the calculator with it.
Is it still available?
If not I'll uninstall MediaFire.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@KarenYou shouldn't have to download mediafire. It should just ask to download the file. It should be a green button that says "download".

Kayli said... Best Blogger Tips

So if I download this program, I can use it to create my own pattern for a ball gown? Or does it generate slopers? Sorry if this seems like a silly question...

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I've found this useful online pattern generator:

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I'd like to know that, too. Is it the measurement from armpit to armpit, or something else?

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

The link does not download :( Green button opens new tab but error message pops up.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Help! I don't get how F Bodice 2 works. My point B1 is longer than point B2. :(
But I really can't actually find points B1 and B2 in the chart. Maybe they forgot to write it down.

Oh and another question! What's "narrow chest" and "Narrow back"? Thank you!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

i have seen several of these spreadsheet options... they all say "excel". but can they be opened and used in other spreadsheet programs? i have open source program (yeah, cuz i'm cheap and don't want to pay the price for excel just for a couple small sheets) that says it opens excel sheets...... what would preclude using those?

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