In this post, I’ll be breaking down on how I drafted and constructed the bodice of the Yule Ball Dress. Now, this will be a really condensed version because I literally had to make at least half a dozen versions of this top. By the end of I had something to be proud of and lots of tips when I recreate this bodice in the future.
I drafted this top in two ways and had to use both to get a very accurate fit. The first technique uses just a dress form. The second technique uses drafting on your own body. First, I used by dress form that was wearing the same bra I would wear with the dress. I used tape at first to get an idea. I pinned fabric smooth over the tape lines and bra. Finally, I copied the tape marks in marker on the fabric and cut out each triangle piece. This was my unfitted pattern.
Then I pinned fabric onto the torso portion of my dress form and drew on the shape I wanted for the bottom part of the bodice. aka, the part without the triangles. This part of the bodice is really simple. It has a very simple slope upwards under the bust and a small point on the hem that goes into the skirt. You can see both on the reference picture below. This is the shape I ended up using.
When I made a mockup of just my dress form pattern the triangles were so badly fitted that I didn’t even take pictures. They were not lying flat against my chest and looked as if they needed several darts just to look alright. So I decided to use my second method of drafting to make something more accurate.
So, I had to draft the triangle portion again. This time, I wore the bra and uses double sided tape to securely place mockup fabric on my chest. This looks very weird and is probably something you want to do alone. XD From there, it’s just the same as drafting from a dress form.
The key to drafting this pattern is where you put the smallest triangle. The triangle has to hold most of the breast up, like a bra. So the point of the triangle should go to the apex of the breast. In other words, the nipple. Then you place the other two triangles equally spaced apart until they are at the height you prefer. If you are more full chested you’ll want to extend the end of the top triangle to create a band, like a bra. This will stop any excess fabric and get rid of the need for a side dart.
I ended up blending both the dress form and body drafted pattern to create something that fitted somewhat better than the first. I then cut into the good fabric. Here is my mockup. I needed to take some of the excess fabric from the bottom portion around my torso. But that was fixed by taking it in on the side seams. The wrinkles of extra fabric were further reduced when the bodice is weighted down by the skirt.
And here are my pattern pieces. The only portion missing is the adjustment to make the band coming from the longest triangle.
Construction of the bottom portion of the bodice was simple. I just put right sides together and sewed up the side seams. If you’re brave enough for french seams on satin be my guest. XD Your bodice should now look like this:
For the triangles this would definitely be the time to use some iron on interfacing. Which, I dID NOT DO! And I literally hate myself for it because I think the lack of interfacing is what caused all of my problems with this bodice. But as usual, this was trial and error and I pass my wonderful advice onto you.
The triangles are a little more challenging to sew together. I got some help from googling around on some quilting sites. Turns out that quilting triangles is really difficult and there’s several techniques that help. I’ll link the ones I followed to sew the triangles below:
Tips on position pinning:
If your triangles have a bit of a curve, this seam tutorial might help:
Finally, the triangles and torso portion get sewn together with a simple straight stitch. I used iron on hem tape to stick down the raw edges at the top. I didn’t have time to figure out a lining. This tape is literal gold and you can fins something similar here:
I used an invisible zipper on the center back and used the regular method of inserting it. I then added hooks and eyes to the top of the band. You can see those peaking out in my final photographs.
The straps are made from bias tape strips. Basically, you cut a strip three times the width of your strap on the diagonal of your fabric. I made my strips 1.5″ wide and measured the bodice on me to decide the length. To make bias tape you need to iron these strips in a special way. First, you iron the strip in half using a lot of steam. Now, when you unfold it there should be a crease in the fabric. Take each end of the strip and iron it until the edge touches this crease. Finally, you iron the strip in half again.
Now you should have a very thin spaghetti strap.
The Ruffle Sleeves
The ruffle sleeves are drafted, cut and hemmed the same way as the ruffles on the skirt. You want to do all of that. Then you insert the ruffle into the fold of the bias spaghetti strap and sew it in place.
Adding it All Together
Finally, the last part of the bodice is to hand stitch the sleeves wherever is most comfortable and you’re done.You should now have a bodice that fits well!