Plan of Action (Dress 002)

If you are just starting out making your own patterns, it helps to first outline a Plan of Action rather than just diving in.  The plan of action consists of looking at the Flat and any specification and making notes about what needs to be done, such as:

  • determining many pattern pieces there will be
  • listing the pattern pieces
  • making notes on what needs to be done for each pattern piece, or groups of pattern pieces where you need to make a change, i.e. if the facing is standard facing, my POA I would list it as a pattern piece, but no notes would be required.
  • doing any necessary calculations (e.g. how much needs to be added onto each pattern piece at the hem area)

You then refer to these notes when creating the pattern pieces.

My plan of action may be helpful if you are following along; you can see an overview of what I am planning to do.

How many pattern pieces

The Flat gives the necessary information for the external pieces, but you also need to think about the internal pieces such as lining, facing and interfacing.


There are 10 Pattern Pieces for Dress 002.  As it is fully lined, some pieces are the same for the fabric and the lining, and in the case of the waistband, the same for the fabric, lining and interfacing.   The skirts lining is the same as the fabric with one difference; the lining is about 3 inches shorter than the fabric.  For this reason I'm making separate pattern pieces for that lining.

  1. Bodice Front
  2. Midriff Front (also for lining & interfacing)
  3. Skirt Front
  4. Bodice Back
  5. Midriff Back (also for lining and interfacing)
  6. Skirt Back
  7. Skirt Lining Front
  8. Skirt Lining Back
  9. Bodice Front Interfacing
  10. Bodice Back Interfacing

Notes/Plan of Action for creating Pattern Pieces

Now in this section, keep in mind that I'm walking through my thinking process.  Although I am showing you images; these actions generally haven't happened - they are just in my head at the moment. I'm showing you the images so that the points make sense.  These notes are made only for the pattern pieces that require some extra work.

Remember I am using my Sleeveless Bodice Blocks.  If you were using your Standard Blocks you would need to reduce the block width and do armhole contouring.

Bodice Front

In the image for the POA Bodice I have removed the label (the block name, etc) and the contour markings that aren't relevant so that it is easier to see the essential information.

 I will outline first what I will be doing, then indicate these on the image below.

  • As I have very large side seam dart, and this design has a waistline seam, I am going to move a bit of the side seam dart to the waist.  
  • Moving some of the side seam dart into the waist will actually make the waist dart at the Empire Line level very large, but as I plan on having 2-inches ease the under-bust level  that will reduce the size of the waist dart.  (Note that if I wanted to keep it close fitting with only 1 inch ease, I would reduce the large waist dart by taking some off the side seam).
  • Although the neckline isn't low, it will still result in a bit of a gape dart and require contouring.

dress 002 POA bodice

Image: Bodice

  • (A) is the original block.
  • In (B),  some the side seam dart has been pivoted into the waist.  The yellow is the block after the pivoting has been done; it is superimposed on the original block so you can see the difference.
  • (C)  has the neckline drawn with a dashed blue line. The blue shading shows the gape dart amount that needs to be moved into one of the other darts.  I will be moving it into the waist dart.
  • (D) shows the final shape, after the gape dart is moved into the waist.  The pink lines show the waist dart redrawn to add extra ease into the under-bust line.

Note:  In this image I have done the two dart manipulations (side seam and gape dart) in separate steps, however the pivoting of these two darts could be done in one step.  They are shown separately here for clarity.

Note 2: The midriff pattern piece will obviously have to be created to match the Bodice (ie. extra ease in the under-bust line).


  • The Skirt Front has three pleats, 2.5cm wide, requiring 5cm extra width per pleats, total 15cm
  • The Skirt Back has three pleats, 3.5cm wide, requiring 7cm extra width per pleat, total 21cm

In the image below shows the pleats for the Skirt Front. (The Skirt Back is not shown).

dress 002 POA skirt

This second skirt image shows how the the skirt will be created.  The additional width for pleats is the 15cm required, less 4cm dart value  Therefore the extension will be 11cm.

dress 002 POA skirt 2

A similar calculation is required for the Skirt Back. I will require an extension of 15.5cm for my Skirt Back.


I do not want (or need) interfacing on the whole Bodice Front and Bodice Back lining pieces - I will create the interfacing pattern pieces as I would facing, as shown by the shaded green pieces in How Many Pattern Pieces image near the top of the page.

If you did not want the dress fully lined, these interfacing pattern pieces could also be used for facing as well as interfacing.

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