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Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper

Accelerate your fashion design evolution. Create a moulage and use it to make a custom-fit bodice sloper — the foundation for personalized patternmaking.
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Take your fashion design education to the next level in this follow-up to Patternmaking Basics: The Skirt Sloper. With Apparel Arts founder Suzy Furrer, you'll create a moulage, or a precise fabric blueprint of the upper body. Learn to draft both your front and back moulage based on accurate measurements, cut your muslin and assemble it. Then you'll go step-by-step through refining the fit. With your moulage patterns perfectly customized, you'll put them to use as you find out how to make a bodice sloper, complete with wearing ease. Suzy will even discuss design options that can be created from your bodice sloper, and how to transform your woven sloper into a knit sloper.


Suzy Furrer



Suzy Furrer has decades of experience in the fashion industry. She is the founder and director of Apparel Arts (established 1996) and Apparel Arts Productions ( Suzy developed a comprehensive curriculum to give students in-depth training for both professional and personal sewing. She is the author of "Building Patterns, The Architecture of Women’s Clothing."

By This Expert

Meet Suzy Furrer

01: Meet Suzy Furrer

Suzy Furrer shares her patternmaking background and explains the moulage and sloper you'll be making.

4 min
Measuring for Moulage

02: Measuring for Moulage

Whether you're designing for yourself, a friend or a client, Suzy shows how to get key measurements without making your model uncomfortable. Measuring a dress form poses its own challenges that you'll learn how to address.

24 min
Calculating & Setting Up the Moulage

03: Calculating & Setting Up the Moulage

Using your own measurements or the example Suzy provides, you'll fill out the provided worksheet to plan your moulage. Then draft along with Suzy to create the "bones" of your moulage on pattern paper.

25 min
Drafting the Front Moulage

04: Drafting the Front Moulage

Drafting the moulage may seem complicated, but Suzy shows you how to go from A to B to C and beyond to get precise measurements, darts and shaping laid down on paper.

45 min
Drafting the Back Moulage

05: Drafting the Back Moulage

You'll continue drafting the back of the moulage and truing it up so it will line up with the front. Suzy demonstrates the importance of making a shoulder adjustment for the best fit.

41 min
Tracing, Cutting & Sewing

06: Tracing, Cutting & Sewing

With your moulage laid out, you can now trace it on pattern paper and prepare your muslin. Suzy gives some tracing and cutting tips, adds seam allowance and provides the order of construction for stay-stitching, sewing seams and sewing darts.

29 min
Fitting & Troubleshooting

07: Fitting & Troubleshooting

Now that your muslin is sewn up, you can check it on your model or dress form. Suzy points out all the key areas to check and how to adjust them. You'll then transfer those adjustment to your moulage, redrawing and cutting to achieve the exact duplicate of the body you're designing for.

29 min
Drafting the Bodice Sloper

08: Drafting the Bodice Sloper

It's time to draft your sloper! To the precise measurements you've established in your moulage, you'll add some ease throughout the garment. The sloper you create can be the foundation of countless designs, from blouses to dresses to coats.

26 min
Truing the Sloper

09: Truing the Sloper

Polish your sloper by truing up your lines and darts both front and back, then place the pieces together to ensure a smooth transition between them.

27 min
Transferring the Sloper to Tag

10: Transferring the Sloper to Tag

Trace your sloper on heavier stock such as oak tag for durability, and transfer all your darts and critical measurements.

20 min
Bodice Sloper Design Options

11: Bodice Sloper Design Options

Now you're ready to start designing! Suzy points out the many points in the sloper front and back that can be modified according to your designing desires. But what if you want to work with knits? No problem! With a few simple changes, your sloper can be modified to use with stretchy fabrics, too.

37 min