Underbust drafting tutorial

A visual guide to Marianne Faulkner's underbust drafting tutorial from Foundations Revealed


To make Marianne Faulkner's drafting tutorial easier to understand, I've made some drawings based on her instructions to clearly illustrate the process of underbust pattern drafting. I do not by any means want to re-write her article, so note this guide is only an add-on to the existing article which you can read by clicking on the banner at the bottom of the page.

The measurements used in this drawing according to the original instructions are as follows. The words in brackets are the shortcuts used in the drawing:


A. Underbust circumference, at bra band level/top edge of corset [Underbust]

B2. Desired waist measurement (include 2” gap) [Waist]

C. High hip, level with the bottom of the corset [Hip]

D. Waist to top edge of corset at center front

E. Waist to bottom edge of corset at center front

H. Waist to top at side seam

I. Waist to bottom at side seam


1) Let's start with a basic net for the pattern. CF is on the left. At the waist level, 1.5" is added for dart intake, which will later be taken off when drawing the darts. The number is a suggestion to start with, it can vary with the person's proportions.

Drafting the basic net


2) Next, mark the underbust measurement and placement of the seams. Note: the 1/3 on the drawing means 1/3 of the (1/4 Waist +1.5"). Just the front waist just as pictured on the previous drawing. At the back, 1" is cut off for the lacing gap. In this case, 1/3 is counted from the distance between side seam and new CB seam (after cutting 1" off) at waist level.

I made a slight change to the way Marianne used to locate the side seams - instead of taking 6.5/3 = 2.166666 and making 2-2.5-2 = 6.5 out of it, I used a more mathematical formula which saves you the guesswork Marianne has done.


corset drafting tutorial


3) Then mark 1/4" intake for all seams at the top. Remember, we added 1/2" to each upper front and back of the pattern, so now it will get substracted in the first and second seam, as well as the third and fourth in the back.

Now just connect the points, forming a smooth line. Straight lines are no good, try to make a convex curve at the waist, rounding a little bit at the upper and lower edge. My opinion: the lines in the front should be more straight and the lines at the back more curved, especially at the waist to hip part. The drawing here is perfectly symmetrical, so I didn't make any changes between the front and back. But I'll talk about this later.

corset drafting tutorial


4) Almost finished! Now just correct the upper line by matching the lengths of each seam pair. To do this, square a line from the intersection of the upper edge of the corset with the center of each seam. True the upper edge curve to match the place where the new sqaured line hits the seam line. Done!

corset drafting tutorial

So, what do I think of this tutorial? It's a good start, but there's a big room for improvement. I'm not sure whether it was simplified like this on purpose, but it is worth noting that this tutorial supposes that the front and back of a person is perfectly identical. Which is, of course, almost never the case, unless you have a very protruding belly or very flat bottom. Shortly, it should take into account three more measurements:

a) Underbust from side seam to side seam

b) Waist from side seam to side seam (with some reduction)

c) Hip from side seam to side seam

Measurements a) and b) are less important than measurement c), because using 1/4 UB and 1/4 W to locate the side seam on the pattern usually works on most bodides. But most bodies have front hip smaller than back hip, therefore the finished pattern should look more like this:


corset drafting tutorial - improvement

The numbers given are just a suggestion that mostly works, but of course it is better to use direct measurements rather than guesswork. This whole tutorial can be redone using more measurements and less guesswork, but that is a subject to a much longer, more complicated article. Would you be interested in such a tutorial?


P.S.: I'm not an English native speaker, so please feel free to correct any mistakes.

Foundations Revealed - the Corsetmaker's Companion

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