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How to Make a Pattern for a Top: 1/2

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In this video series you will learn how to make a pattern for a Top.

A top is simply a garment covering the upper part of the body, usually ending no further than the waist.

Here, we shall make a short-sleeve top with a slit cut into the back neckline and a sweetheart neckline in front.

We shall start by making a pattern for the front and back pieces of the top.

To make a pattern, you will need: A Pattern Sheet Markers in 3 different colours A Ruler And, a pair of Scissors .

Take a pattern sheet and spread it flat on the table.

Remember that patterns are often cut ‘on fold’ for symmetry.

You therefore need to fold the pattern sheet once along its length so it forms a rectangle with two longer sides.

If you would like to adapt the garment to your own size, you will need the following measurements.


Start making the pattern by marking the following points, so the basic design of the pattern is ready.


Mark point B, half an inch below A, which is the top corner along the folded edge.

AB = 0. 5 inches .

Shift the ruler further along the width of the sheet and mark another point half an inch from the top edge.

Make a mark half an inch from the edge.

Now, place the ruler along both the points and mark point D, 7 inches from B.

BD = 7 inches .

Now, mark point E, 23 inches from B, along the folded edge of the pattern sheet.

The line BE represents the shoulder-to-hem length of the Top.

Mark point F, an inch below E, to define the hem allowance along the base.

BE = 23 inches EF = 1 inch

Now, mark point G, 6 inches below D, to set the armhole depth.

DG = 6 inches .

Mark point I, 10 inches from the folded edge, past G, to set the bust line.

HI = 10 inches .

Shift the ruler towards the base of the pattern.

Mark point J, 10 inches from E, followed by point K, 10 inches from F.

Now, draw the lines FK and EJ, representing the hem allowance line and the hemline, respectively.

Once this is done, draw the line HI that runs through G.

Proceed to draw the line DG.

We shall now mark the points defining the necklines, armholes and the shoulder line.

Start by marking point X, 2.5 inches from B, towards D, to define the width of the neckline.

BX = 2.5 inches

Now, mark point Y, 3.5 inches from B, along the folded edge.

Y marks the depth of the back neckline.

BY = 3.5 inches

Mark point L, 5.5 inches below B, to mark the front neck drop.

BL = 5.5 inches

Now, mark point M, 2 inches from G, towards D.

MG = 2 inches

Mark a point N, 0.3 inch from D to help define a slant in the shoulder line.

BN = 0.3 inch

Draw a line connecting B to D.

Now, draw a 5.5 inch line down from X to the point O, such that XO is parallel to BL.

XO = BL = 5.5 inches

Draw a line connecting O to L.

Shift the ruler further up and draw a line from Y to a point P, parallel to OL.

This line will help define the back neckline.

Draw a line connecting N to X.

You may now draw the arcs representing the front and back necklines.

Draw the first arc, as shown, from X to Y, to define the back neckline.

Now, draw a second arc from X to L to define the front neckline.

Note that in order to set the sweetheart design, we have drawn the front neckline wider than the guidelines, with a little slit at the center.

We shall now mark the points defining the armhole curves and the rounded end of the hem.


Mark point Q half an inch above J, and point R, half an inch below, as shown.

JQ = 0.5 inches JR = 0.5 inches

Next, define the back armhole by drawing an arc from N to I.

Now, define the front armhole by drawing a line from I to N, passing through M, as shown.

Note that the front armhole is wider since we need more flexibility to move our arms towards the front of the body than the back.

Note that the back armhole is usually cut longer because it needs to cover the hump of the back.

You may now draw the side seam of the garment.

Starting from the armhole, draw a dotted line that slants inwards, before turning it back outwards towards the hemline, as shown.

This curve will give a nice fit to the Top.

For more precision and clarity, you can now draw a line running through these dots.

Once this is done, draw an arc from point Q towards E, as shown.

Now, draw a parallel arc from point R towards F.

These two arcs define the rounded ends of the hem.

Now, mark a point S, 2 inches above Q along the side seam.

This point will be used to mark a notch that will define the opening of a slit.

QS = 2 inches

We shall now shade the allowances for the hem, the side seam and the armhole of the Top.

Using a different coloured marker, shade the hem allowance, as shown.

Don’t forget to include the curved end.

Once this is done, use a third colour to mark a series of equally spaced points half an inch outside the side seam and armhole lines.

This space represents the seam allowance.

Seam = 0.5 inches

You may now proceed to cut the pattern along its outline.

Start cutting from the folded edge along the hem allowance line.

Follow the seam allowance lines all the way past the shoulder and off the edge of the sheet.

Remember to cut out the curved end of the hem.

Now, cut along the back neckline arc, from Y to X.

When this is done, correct the shoulder seam allowance, by cutting it parallel to the line XN.

To avoid confusion, fold the pattern sheet along the shoulder seam line.

Shade the fold using the third colour so that all the seam allowances are marked consistently.

You may now open the folded pattern and verify its dimensions.

You have now learnt to make the pattern for the front and back pieces of a top.

RECAP AB = 0.5 inches CD = 0.5 inches BE = 23 inches BF = 24 inches BD = 7 inches DG = 6 inches BH = 6 inches HI = 10 inches EJ = 10 inches FK = 10 inches BX = 2.5 inches BY = 3.5 inches BL = 5.5 inches GM = 2 inches DN = 0.3 inches JQ = 0.5 inch JR = 0.5 inch QS = 2 inches SEAM = 0.5 inches

To learn how to make a pattern for the sleeves, watch the next video.


Next video

Sikana - How to Make a Pattern for a Top: 2/2
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