en es ru de fr pt it zh ar nl sv iw hi pl tr

Tutorial 1. Pattern Calculation before Cutting

Tutorial 1. Pattern Calculation before Cutting (Beginning).

Pattern Pieces.

I start working on a new garment - a dress with separately cut cups.

Here is a technical drawing and pattern schemes of this dress:

Individually cut corset cups are the main peculiarity of this garment. The dress itself is going to consist of the main material and a lace overlay.

The make-up of this dress is simple and classic but at the same time very popular.

I am going to sew a short straight dress but you could choose any other design for it.

You could alter the cups itself. Their lower line could be straightened, rounded, or lifted upwards. You could also alter the neckline. The most important is to know how to quilt these cups and attach them to the base of the dress and this is what I am going to teach you.

You could also alter the base of your dress. It could be a bell-shaped dress or an absolutely straight long pencil dress or a dress with a separately cut skirt.

The main material can vary. You could for example use a chiffon material gracefully draped underneath the cups, i.e. make an Empire dress that is much loved today.

As you can see you can modify the make-up of your dress the way you wish!

There is only one remaining principle: the way of cutting and quilting cups, and joining them with the main body of the garment.

The pattern I use and offer you consists of the following pieces:


1. Central piece of the front with a bend.

2. Two side pieces of the front.

3. Two back pieces with a laced-up centre.

Note: I do not recommend using a side zip on such dresses. It is quite hard to make a neat side zip because of the thickness and roughness of the side cut. Besides, a fastener like this won’t be able to hold the dress up and straps will also be necessary. For these reasons I would highly recommend you using a zip or - much better - a lacing fastener going along the centre of the back. In this case straps can just be a decorative element because they won’t be functionally required in a design like this.


4. Front part piece with a bend. I use and offer you a pattern that needs no waistline notch here and will however fit the client perfectly even if you use no-stretch fabric.

5. Two back pieces with waistline notches.

Altering a Standard Pattern.

And as usual I start working by taking measurements and calculating the pattern.

I take measurements off my client (Kate) basically the same way I did it for the corsets.

You will need the following measurements:

- «bust middle» - distance between the protruding points of the bust;

- «bust front» - central bust line at the front;

- «under-bust front» - under-bust line at the front measured from side to side;

- «bust circumference» - full circumference of the bust-line (BC);

- «under-bust circumference» - full circumference of the under-bust line (UBC);

- «waistline» - full circumference of the waistline (WC):

I take the WC measurement without pulling the measuring tape. There is no tummy-control effect meant in this dress and that is why the waistline circumference is measured with the measuring tape in a free state.

- «stomach» - full circumference of the stomach line (S):

It is necessary to mark the distance between the waistline and this measurement. In my particular case the distance from the waistline is 4.7 inches.

- «hip circumference» - full circumference along the hip line (HC);

- «clip» - explained in detail in the free tutorials;

- «side length» - length between the waistline and the upper point of the dress along its side seam.

I write all taken measurements into the table (column 2):

Bust front18.1
Un.B. front14.6
S35.8 (4.7)
Clip3.5 2 2.4

The third column of the table is used for writing down the measurements of the pattern in use:

Bust front18.119.3
Un.B. front14.615.7
S35.8 (4.7)37.4
Clip3.5 2 2.44.2 3.5 2.9

All these values are a result of measuring a ready garment sewn after these patterns and I do recommend you using them. I would like to point it out once more that if you want to measure the print-out patterns included into this book - then you should sew a mockup first and then test it and take measurements along the relevant lines the same way you would take measurements off a client. Your measuring tape may pass through a little differently than mine. Therefore you should measure the patterns along the same lines that you use for taking measurements off your clients. So just put your mock-up on a mannequin and measure it again.

Re-calculation of a Standard Pattern.

I start re-calculating my standard pattern after Kate’s individual measurements. All calculations are carried out the same way as they were for the corset.

The first measurement under comparison is the “bust middle” measurement.

You won’t have to make any alterations if the measurements of the pattern coincide with those of your client. In this case the whole column 4 of the table should be left out.

However in my case Kate’s measurement is 7.1 inches corresponding to the value of 7.9 inches on the pattern which means this pattern does have to be changed along the middle, along the crease line.

Let me calculate:

7.1” – 7.9” = -0.8”

However this value should be divided into 2 sides - the right and the left one.


- 0.8” ÷ 2 = -0.4”

I write this value of -0.4 inches down into the table (column 4, line 10).

Bust front18.119.3-0.4
Un.B. front14.615.7-0.4
S35.8 (4.7)37.4-0.4
Clip3.5 2 2.44.2 3.5 2.9

The “bust middle” measurement of the pattern is bigger than Kate’s. It means that I need to remove 0.4 inches (the value is negative) from the standard pattern to adjust it after Kate’s measurements.

And therefore the crease of the fabric is going to lie 0.4 inches inwards to the central front piece of the pattern.

When I start constructing a pattern after Kate’s measurements the standard pattern should go beyond the boundaries of the fabric crease by 0.4 inches.

Since I have shifted the pattern by 0.4 inches, the 0.8 inch value (0.4 inches from each side of the pattern) is going to be removed from all circumferences of the corset: bust, under-bust, waistline and stomach.

I am going to write the -0.4 inch value in all lines of column 4 in order to keep this in mind.

Let me remind you that the value is -0.4 inches for each side of the pattern.

Now I want to determine where the front side seam will be.

There are two measurements determining the location of the side seam: “bust front” and “under-bust front”.

Bust front:

It is 19.3 inches on the pattern and 18.1 inches according to Kate’s measurements.

It is clear that the side seam is going to shift.

Let us calculate this shift.

I have already adjusted down all circumferences by 0.8 inches when calculating the “bust middle” measurement and shifted the pattern by 0.4 inches against the fabric crease.

And therefore:

19.3” – 0.8” = 18.5”

(18.1” – 18.5”) ÷ 2 = - 0.2”

So the side seam along the bust-line is going to be adjusted down by 0.2 inches.

I write this value into the table (column 5, line 2).

Under-bust front:

Let me calculate the location of the side seam.

It is 15.7 inches on the pattern and 14.6 inches on Kate.

I calculate it the same way keeping in mind that the bust middle has been reduced by 0.8 inches.

15.7” – 0.8” = 15”

(14.6” – 15”) ÷ 2 = -0.2”

I add this value into the table (column 5, line 3).

It is now perfectly clear that the side seam is shifted by 0.2 inches.

However I am going to adjust down the whole pattern by 0.2 inches to keep the beautiful side shape of the corset, this lovely curve, thereby reducing all circumferences (bust, under-bust, waistline, stomach) by 0.4 inches.

I add the -0.2 inch value into lines 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of column 5.

Bust front18.119.3-1-0.2
Un.B. front14.615.7-1-0.2
S35.8 (4.7)37.4-1-0.2
Clip3.5 2 2.44.2 3.5 2.9-0.7 -1.6 -0.5

Clip measurement.

To the scye:

Since there are 4.2 inches on the pattern corresponding to 3.5 inches of the client’s measurement then I do the following:

3.5” – 4.2” = -0.7”


Since there are 3.5 inches on the pattern corresponding to 2 inches of the client’s measurement then I do the following:

2” – 3.5” = -1.6”

To the neckline:

Since there are 2.9 inches on the pattern corresponding to 2.4 inches of the client’s measurement then I do the following:

2.4”– 2.9”= -0.5”

I write these values down into the table (column 5, line 9).

Side length:

It is 7.9 inches on the pattern corresponding to 7.5 inches according to Kate’s measurements which means the side length should be reduced along the scye by:

7.5” – 7.9” = -0.4”

This value is also recorded into the table (column 5, line 11).

I start calculating alterations of the side seam of the back.

There are naturally no more “bust front” or “under-bust front” measurements now.

Our next measurement is “bust circumference”.

It is 36.6 inches on the pattern and 33.5 inches according to Kate’s measurements.

I have already taken into account the alteration along the middle of the bust-line (-0.4”) and the front side seam (-0.2”).

This value makes up 1.2 inches for two pattern halves.


36.6” – 1.2” = 35.4”

(33.5” – 35.4”) ÷ 2 = -1”

The value is added to the table (column 6, line 4).

Under-bust circumference.

It is 33.1 inches on the pattern and 29.1 inches for Kate.

It is calculated the same way:

33.1” – 1.6” = 31.9”

(29.1” – 31.9”) ÷ 2 = -1.4”

I write down this value in the table (column 6, line 5).

I don’t think over these values for now, I just calculate and record them.


It is 30.3 inches on the pattern and Kate’s measurement makes 28 inches.

Let us calculate:

30.3” – 1.2” = 29.1”

(28” – 29.1”) ÷ 2 = -0.6”

I add the value to the table (column 6, line 6).

Stomach measurement at a 4.7 inch distance above the waistline.

It is 37.4 inches on the pattern and 35.8 inches on Kate.

I calculate it:

37.4” – 1.2” = 36.2”

(35.8” – 36.2”) ÷ 2 = -0.2”

This value is then added to the table (column 6, line 7).

Hip circumference:

It is 39.4 inches on the pattern and 37.8 inches according to Kate’s measurements.

Let us calculate:

39.4”– 1.2” = 38.2”

(37.8” – 38.2”) ÷ 2 = -0.2”

I write down this value in the table (column 6, line 8).

Bust front18.119.3-1-0.2
Un.B. front14.615.7-1-0.2
S35.8 (4.7)37.4-1-0.2-0.2
Clip3.5 2 2.44.2 3.5 2.9-0.7 -1.6 -0.5

As a result there is a slight dispersion of values.

If I were dealing with a corset I would first of all change the side seam at the front. Then I would choose an optimal value (for example -0.6 inches), mark it along the side seam of the back, calculate the difference between the chosen value and the existing one and re-distribute it between the back curve and the medium curve of the front that divides the side part in half (in a corset consisting of 4 front curves).

There is no back curve on my dress.

Of course there is a notch here but it’s rather risky and problematic to use it the same way I used the back curve of the corset. The pattern of the back is not cut along the curve. Those who have already dealt with fitting a dress along the back know that this notch should by no means be altered!

So there is only one single way to solve this issue and that is using a side seam!

I have figured out mathematically that the location of the side seam on the bust and under the bust is determined by the “bust front” and “under-bust front” measurements. I have calculated that I need to remove 0.2 inches from the bust and from under the bust. This will be enough to balance out my dress correctly and put the side seam in place. But making a beautiful side seam below the under-bust level won’t be possible anymore. I can still evenly remove 0.2 inches along the side seam at the front but it won’t work well at the back: I need to remove 1 inch from the bust area, 1.4 inches from under the bust, 0.6 inches from the waistline and 0.2 inches from the stomach and hips.

Please take a look at how the side seam of the back would look in this case:

Of course this seam is not so scary in terms of beauty! It follows its original outline more or less correctly. But its configuration is totally different from that of the side seam at the front. It is incredibly difficult to join pieces of such a garment together! First, there is no guarantee that the garment will fit the body correctly, and second, unwelcome creases around and about are unavoidable.

Side Adjustment Formula (Tatyana Kozorovitsky’s Formula).

So now my task is to re-shape the side keeping it perfectly identical both at the front and at the back!

Those who don't get along so well with mathematics can choose their own method of value selection. I used to pick values from the table (columns 5 and 6), re-calculate them a few times and select average values. And then I would even out the shape of the sides on the pattern, on fabric, making them identical.

However I quickly got tired of this amateurish approach!

I pondered the issue, noticed a common pattern and managed to make a formula for myself - a universal formula of side adjustment.

I haven’t seen this calculation in any manuals before and therefore I dare claim it is my own formula.

The essence of Tatyana Kozorovitsky’s Formula is very simple if you think it over attentively.


We should find such pattern gain values x and y along the chosen line that would meet the following two requirements simultaneously:

1. Their sum should equal the difference between c and d measurements along this line divided by two. Any BM alterations should be accounted for in this calculation.

2. The difference between them should equal the difference between a and b pattern gain values from the line above in the calculation table.

In other words I have written a system of 2 equations where “a, b, c, d, e” are existing values from the calculation table while “x” and “y” need to be determined.

If it seems somewhat vague and complicated to you now, I promise you: it is going to be crystal clear in the next tutorial.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *