Plan of Action (Top 004)

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 relevant)
  • doing any calculations
  • looking at any references (in this case the skirt of a shop purchased dress) and writing down the measurements and/or making sketches with notes.

Basically, you want to make sure you study the design and have all the information you need at hand.  I do not need to write down things like "draw the neckline", as that is obvious.  These notes are information that aren't available on my block, and I will refer to them as I make my pattern pieces.

This not only helps me to create my pattern, it also helps you if you are following along; you can see an overview of what I am planning to do, and then you can follow along with the step-by-step directions to see the process in detail.

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, interfacing etc. 


There are 16 Pattern Pieces for Dress 004.  The dress is fully lined.

  1. Bodice Front Yoke
  2. Bodice Front
  3. Front Waistband (also Waistband lining and interfacing)
  4. Bodice Back Band
  5. Bodice Back Yoke
  6. Back Waistband (also Waistband lining and interfacing)
  7. Skirt Front
  8. Pocket Back
  9. Skirt Back
  10. Bodice Front Lining
  11. Bodice Front Interfacing
  12. Skirt Front Lining
  13. Pocket Front
  14. Bodice Back Lining
  15. Bodice Back Interfacing
  16. Skirt Back Lining

Notes/Plan of Action for creating Pattern Pies

Now in this section it is important to remember I'm walking through my thinking process.  Most of this would be in the form of notes (e.g. Don't forget waistband finishes 1.5cm above waist!) rather than the sentences and explanations that are given below.  A lot of what is given below is for you rather than for me.

Bodice & Waistband

  • The neckline depth is x cm. (This was taken from a dress that had the neckline depth that I thought would work with this design).
  • Although this dress has an Empire Line, it is not the standard Empire.  I will be creating a narrow straight waistband just under the bust, and it finishes about 1.5 inches above the waist.  This means the skirt does not fall from the waist (I must remember this when creating the skirt!).
  • The waistband is a straight square waistband 2.10 inches (5.5 cm) wide.  It finishes 1.5cm above the waist.   I will use the Empire Line markings to make the Bodice Pattern Piece, but do not need to reference the block for the waistband pattern piece.
  • Although this isn't a low neckline, some contouring will be required. (Since my block has contour markings on it, this will be obvious when I draw the neckline on the block).

Skirt and Pocket

The design and details of this skirt and pocket is taken from a shop purchased dress that I liked.  The skirt falls from above the waist and is a Dirndl-like skirt.   Dirndl skirts are completely square, and this has a very slight A-line, so it's not strictly a Dirndl skirt,  but the principle is the same. The waist of the Dirndl skirt has a lot of ease that is gathered into the waistband, and the hem area measurement is the same (similar) to the waist measurement.  No waist shaping is required.  It produces a very square looking skirt. 

These are the ''notes'' that I took, in the form of a drawing on an A4 piece of paper.  This drawing notes show the Front Skirt, but the Back Skirt is exactly the same in terms of measurements, but doesn't have the pocket.


And this is the skirt that I am referencing.  As the pattern is very busy, it was hard to see the pocket on this photo, so I have shaded the pocket details with an overlay so that the pocket shape can be seen.

original skirt

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