To grade a pattern means to manipulate an existing pattern at various points in order to make it fit a smaller or larger size. This How To shows the technique used for making a bodice pattern larger. The technique illustrated here can be used when making any pattern larger.

Technique Materials

pattern, paper, ruler, pencil

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  • 51mw-_npwgl_large

    Dec 18, 2012, 04.17 PMby high-tic

    I love that post&i wanna ask is the lines in allocated grades works as pattern alterations Alternations? Thanks alot

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    Dec 3, 2009, 03.44 AMby soulonfya

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    Dec 3, 2009, 01.01 AMby Ashlee Villanueva

    i am super confused. i dont really understand the formula aspect of it. and also…the lines on step one are not on my original sloper. so i really dont know what to do anymore.

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    Nov 6, 2009, 07.48 PMby blinggirl

    I know this is prob obvious, but do I need to add the seam allowance back onto the pattern at the end? In step one it says to remove the seam allowance before grading, so to me that would mean that I need to add it back to the pattern after grading as the very last step?

  • 025d2487c45de094cc46c81d840c5465a7a4a4fc_large

    Nov 3, 2009, 05.27 PMby laneandme

    Ok slide 3 HAS to be incorrect. It states: “To calculate how much the allocated grade will be, you must divide the overall grade (3 inches in this example) by four. Why four, you ask? This is to ensure the overall grade is evenly distributed among the four parts of the pattern/body, the left front, the left back, the right front, and the right back. Then, to distribute the allocated grade with each of the lines illustrated in step 1, you must use the formula written below. A-B= ¼ of allocated grade = 3/4” (1 cm) C-D= ¼ of allocated grade = 3/4” (1 cm) E-F= ½ of allocated grade = 1 ½” (2 cm) G-H= ¼ of allocated grade = 3/4” (1 cm) I-J= ¼ of allocated grade = 3/4” (1 cm)”

    However, for this example we were adding 3 inches to the overall pattern. So the overall grade (3 inches) divided by the number of pattern pieces = .75 or 3/4 of an inch allocated PER PATTERN PIECE. THEN that 3/4 of an inch is allocated crosswise over each piece. So then AB= 1/4 of the allocated grade or 3/16 in, CD =1/4 allocated grade or 3/16 in and EF =1/2 allocated grade or 3/8 right? Then GH and IJ would be 1.5 each. Top to bottom you must add the 3 inches to each piece but when going around the body the three inches would have to be distributed between each of the pattern pieces. Right ..otherwise by the example provided you would have added a whopping 12 inches to the circumference of the pattern. The original example formula in these directions adds the TOTAL grade to EACH piece instead of the ALLOCATED grade to each piece. Someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    1 Reply
    • Me_8d1_large

      May 11, 2010, 06.48 AMby chadrific

      You’re on the right track, they really should not have graded up two sizes since grading is confusing and that just makes it more confusing. In this example they are using the total grade to that piece from their original piece to the new piece (i.e size 38 to size 42) which is a total of 3 in. If they had just done one size the allocated grade would 1.5. So you’re right and wrong at the same time. You’re right because, if this was graded consecutively it would measure to your calculations, you’re wrong because they skipped a size (they probably did this to keep the numbers larger so there’d be an obvious difference in size).

      ….um i hope that cleared up something…

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    Apr 28, 2009, 10.31 AMby jhelen

    This is great info, but I am very small. Do you have any tips for grading a bodice pattern smaller?

  • 57f32d48bdb201a791e1afa6bd8b328f8f42bd83_large

    Feb 16, 2009, 01.07 PMby esmode

    plz try to clarify cuz its very difficult to be understood

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    Jun 24, 2008, 11.54 AMby cloud9

    Please Post pattern grading a sleeve to make larger /longer! Have a vintage pattern that want to resize up.

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    May 12, 2008, 09.11 AMby rsharma

    Your schematics don’t show where in the pattern the grading lines are placed. For example, does the line AH go from the centre of the neckline and parallel to the waist? Similarly where are GH, EF, and CD located?

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    May 6, 2008, 01.09 AMby rito

    does any know how to grade a basic bodice with shoulder and waist dart via the x y coordinate methods?

  • 3dfa97e5c8b92b48b06288d375eca243b77d89a9_large

    Mar 19, 2008, 03.27 PMby cassidyscowgirl

    I’m working on the Danielle dress grading it up a couple of sizes. I don’t see the lines that you are talking about on the pattern pieces. Where would you find the measurements to to put them on the pattern? Hope that makes sense.

  • 2ec794ad0aab31308b80ae690170adc92f1f5e0e_large

    Dec 14, 2007, 12.25 AMby marmota-b

    Thank you! I hope I’ll understand it when really trying it… that’s the best proof of understanding. :-)

  • Pics_046_large

    Dec 12, 2007, 07.17 PMby katrena

    the gap at the bottom of the bodice is a dart correct?

  • Pics_046_large

    Dec 12, 2007, 07.14 PMby katrena

    i wonder could i use this with burda pattern 8043?

  • Pics_046_large

    Dec 12, 2007, 07.05 PMby katrena

    i really like this how to* this will be a challenge for me because i get a little nervous when trying to do projects like this*

  • 2ba13c62ae70a1fc6e7400a042f099ab1def5162_large

    Dec 12, 2007, 02.10 PMby nayantara

    Yes you can use this on all pattern pieces, even if they are split up (if there is a yoke, bust, under bust piece).

  • Grossmama_anastasia_2_1994_large

    Dec 8, 2007, 04.12 PMby staticstasy

    Can this be used on specific parts of the garment (on the bust for example) if it doesn’t match with the other measurements of a specific size?

  • Dcf4c013e3f956eff231edd5069aad331e6f9fcf_large

    Dec 7, 2007, 09.19 PMby zahra


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