What to Do with a Block Pattern

pattern fundamentals Aug 21, 2018

Recently this question popped into my inbox: Once I have a block, what do I do with it? I get this question a lot so I thought it would be good to address it so everyone can get the benefit of my answer.

Before I do, here’s my definition of what a block is:  A block, sometimes referred to as a sloper, is the foundation of all other patterns. A block can come in the form of a bodice block, a skirt block, or a pant block for either woven or knit fabrics, but in essence, it is the most basic form of a pattern drafted to a specific set of body measurements and fit to a specific body shape. In my definition, a block includes wearing ease, which is the minimum amount of ease needed to accommodate regular day-to-day activities like breathing, reaching, sitting, and walking. This wearing easy can be anywhere between 2” and 4” or 5 to 10 cm and depends entirely on what you feel comfortable in.

Once the basic bodice block is drafted and refined to fit, it’s ready to be used as a starting point (or a building block) to creating other pattern designs in any style your heart desires. The theory is that if the block fits, any garment made from it will also fit. In the fashion industry and even in pattern companies, this is how consistency in sizing and fit is established for specific brands.

For sewists like you, a basic bodice block drafted to your measurements and refined to fit your shape means you get to skip all the fitting issues that arise for you in commercially made patterns.

Now for the sake of full disclosure though, there is a step in between that rarely gets mentioned which is probably the reason this question is asked so often. Watch the video for all the details and another way you can use your well fitting block.

Resources mentioned in this video:

How to Get Started with Pattern Making:  follow the links to free downloads and free video tutorials.

Designed to Fit: The Bodice Block:  an online course that walks you through the drafting, refining and fitting of a hip length bodice block.

The Custom Stretch Knit Bodice Block: an online course that walks you through the drafting and refining of a made to measure stretch knit bodice block (and more).

Threads Magazine: The "Fit with Your Sloper" article is in issue 190 April/May 2017 starting on page 42, you may get lucky and find it in your local library.

Lynda Maynard DesignDe-Mystifying Fit: A method of using your bodice block to adjust commercial patterns to fit you.

I hope you enjoyed the video! If you're using your block in a different way, tell me in the comments! Sharing your ideas might just help someone else.

All My Best,