Haute couture

A bodice is a composition of apparel traditionally for women and girlscovering the torsion from the neck to the midriff. The term Haute Couture generally refers to a specific type of upper garment common in Europe during the 16th to the 18th century, or to the upper portion of an ultramodern dress to distinguish it from the skirt and sleeves. The name bodice is etymologically an odd plural spelling of” body” and comes from an aged garment called a brace of bodies( because the garment was firstly made in two separate pieces that fastened togetherconstantly by lacing).

Bodices are a traditional symbol of folk dress in modern times in many European countries

History of Haute couture bodice

Starting in the 16th century, women used divisible sleeves as a fashion accessory. A trim or other decorations might be added. By the 18th century, women were wearing a variety of accessoriesincluding fichus and partlets, with their bodies.
In the 19th century, in the corridor of Europe, styles reflected original folk dress, so that the bodice in France was frilled, in Austria took the form of the dirndl, and in Bulgaria, it had a gold stomacher.

Old styles of the bodice

Haute Couture bodice

Other styles seen in the 19th century include

  • Casa-quin bodice,
  • Fleece– bodice is inspired by men‘s frock fleeces,
  • Long cuirass bodice, which was also called the Joan of Arc bodice,
  • Pointed Marie Stuart’s bodice,
  • The modest Circassian bodice,
  • Bag bodice, which was popular in Canada,
  • Agnes Sorel’s bodice, which had a high, square-cut neckline and was worn with bishop sleeves,
  • The casa-que bodice,
  • Antique bodice, which, despite its namewas the new fashion in its time,
  • Pleated Grecian- style Norma lei,
  • Anglo-Greek bodice with wide lapels,
  • The Bebe bodice with its girdle,
  • Empire bodice with its scarves,
  • The beribboned bohemian-style baby bodice,
  • Elizabethan bodice, which reflected the styles popular in the Elizabethan period, but which were worn during the late Puritanical period.

Bodice definition

Women’s laced and outer garments are worn like a blouse and fitted part of the fabric around the waist up to the shoulder. A sort of corset or inner stays, worn by women or somewhere for men with a laced part in front is called bodies or pair of the bodice.

Here described a very simple method of bodice pattern that can be easily drawn and can be sewed with minimum sewing knowledge. You can experiment with darts and can adjust them according to your requirement, change necklines, add sleeves, or any ornamentation to make them your own.


Basic bodice with darts

Dart is a very important tool for fashion pattern makers and designers to bring out Haute couture women’s dresses. There are four methods for dart manipulation:

  1. Direct manipulation on pattern and fabric and in case dart will be visible and seen on both pattern and fabric.
  2. Indirect manipulation, the dart will be manipulated on the pattern, and its effects will occur on the fabric, but it would be visible and seen in the fabric.
  3. Dart manipulation by cut, is that we cut the fabric through the dart, and according to technique the dart will disappear from the fabric, but its influence will remain on the fabric through the cut.
  4. Transmitting the dart, means we close the main dart on both pattern and fabric, and we move the dart to our desired place according to our style or model, and thus, the main dart will disappear from its original place and it will occur on our desired place on both pattern and fabric to produce our new beautiful dress.

Basic bodice pattern

How to calculate the right measurement for Haute Couture back bodice bust size before cutting the fabric?

The bust area is very important for ladies who seek to distinguish their beauty, as they have different bust sizes, according to Haute Couture tailoring measurement, the calculation of this area will be according to this formula: C to C1 = 1/4* bust circumference + ease allowance (1.7)

Tool and material needed in drafting pattern,

  1. Tape measure
  2. Pencil
  3. Ruler
  4. French curve
  5. Pattern paper

An article of clothing for women called bodice covers from the neck to the waist of the body. The term bodice comes from pair of bodies basically made from two pieces and frequently sewn with lacing.


Bust measurement (inches) Neck width (inches) Neck depth (inches)
20 2 4
22 2 4
24 2 1/4 4 1/2
26 2 1/4 4 1/2
28 2 1/2 5
30 2 1/2 5 1/2
32 2 1/2 6
34 2 3/4 6 1/2
36 2 3/4 7
38 3 7
40 3 7 1/2
42 3 7 1/2



Front bodice

  • Draw a perpendicular line at one side and top of the paper and mark the point as A with a ruler. so A is the starting point
  • From point A to get point B make sure 3″ is neck depth. So mark that point as B.
  • Then A to C mark 5-1/2″ as chest height.
  • From point  A to D you need one-half of the armhole, for example, the armhole is 16 divided by 2. Mark that point as D
Bust measurement (inches) Depth of armhole
26 6 1/2
28 7
30 7
32 7
34 7 1/4
36 7 1/4
38 7 1/2
40 7 1/2
40+ 7 1/2
  • from point A to locate point E use the figure link for example the figure is 15-1/2″. So note that always start with point A. So mark it as point E
  • Now project the line from points B, C, D, & E to the right with a straight line using Ruller.front bodice

“Practices make a man perfect”

  • For A to F use 2-1/2″ for the neck width that is A to F.
  • And then next connect F to G using Ruller
  • Using a french curve you can shape the neckline. The position of the French curve looks like leopard Chen.
  • Point A to G use one half-shoulder measurement. For example, the shoulder is 13″ divided by 2 is 6-1/2″ So that point G.
  • For points, G to H  make sure 1-1/2″ downward so that point is H. Then draw a straight line downward.
  • Connect F to H is a diagonal line using a ruler.
  • The next step is to locate point I. So from point C going to the right use one-half chest measurement. Let us say chest measurement is 11-1/2 divided by 2 is 5-3/4″ so that point is I.
  • Now connect H to point I with a diagonal line.
  • To Get point J start from D to the right 1/4 bust measurement. For example, the bust measurement is 31″ divided by 4 is 7-3/4″, and then add 1″ to the right, So the point is J.
  • Next shape the armhole using a French curve from point I to point J.
  • Next is point K, from E to K using one-fourth waist measurement.  An example is waist measurement is 25″ divided by 4 is 6-1/4″ plus 1-1/2″ for the dart, So the point is K. Connect J to K in a diagonal line using the ruler.

So its done fron haute couture

  • From the line to the right get the bust height. Sample bust height is 8″ measurement is downward to get point L
  • To get point M start measuring use measuring one-half of the bust distance. For example, the bust distance is 7-1/2″ divided by 2 is 3-3/4″. So the point is M. From point M to the left mark 0-3/4″ so that point is N. And from M to O mark another 0-3/4″ to the right.
  • Make sure the distance of points E to M is the same as the distance  L from the left. Let’s say the measurement form is 3-3/4″ mark at line P is 3-3/4″ to the right of L is also the same.
  • Connect L to M, L to M & L to O using a ruler.
  • As you will see the front bodice is almost done, but you must finish connecting by a dart for the waste line. And you have to fold the dort by folding points O to N and then connect K to E with a straight line using a ruler, so it is very important to connect so that it will be straight in the bodice.

Well we have done our front bodice so it is very easy to follow step by step you can do it by yourself very easily

Back bodice

Let’s move on to the Haute Couture back bodice drafting, you need two trace papers to get a mark for the back bodice. For this transfer, you need to use the front bodice drawing.

  • To start with point A downward 1″ to locate point 1, so that the depth of the back neckline is to shape the back neckline connects point F to 1 using a French curve.
  • To get the back shoulder you have to raise 1/2″ to point H named point 2, then connect F to 2  with a diagonal using ruler
  • To get the back armhole to move one 1/2″ to the right from the point I named 3
  • To get point 4 measure 1/2″ to the left  of J

back bodice

  • And then from point K to the left move 1/2″ to the left and get point 5. connect 4 to 5 with a diagonal line using Ruller
  • Shape the back armhole  starting from point 2 passing through point 3 and reaching point 4 using the French curve
  • Let’s proceed to the back bust of the body. Start from point L and move 1″ upward make sure that is point 6
  • The next point is measured left & right is 1/2″ and marked points 7 and 8. Connect points 6 to M with a straight line, and then  6 to 7, and 6 to 8 with Ruller.
  • So this is the back bodice so complete this back bodice fold the back dart by connecting dart 8 to point 7 and Then using your ruler a straight line connects point 5 to E, to make the waste line straight.

So it is done

To transfer the back body you need to trace the marking on the below page. You should start with A moving to E by marking all red lines. From the tracing paper, you have to transfer the all line for the back bodice. Marking as tracepoint as 1 to 8. Again fold dart 8 to dart 7 and draw a straight from point E to 5 by cline using ruler.

Back bodice

Always remember this is a rough exemplary measurement, you will have to use exact measurements. A basic pattern drafted from the exact body measurement serves as the basis of all the patterns. It can be used to make the style pattern

Fit of bodice

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