Drafting Empire Princess Dress




Using the hip-length dress foundation as a guide, draft pattern as follows:

1 and 2) – Empire waistline


A to B – Equals 1/3 of A to C
D to E – Equals A to B, less 1”

B to E – Square across to dart; then connect to point E



F to G – Same as D to E on front H to I – Equals F to G, less 1/4″ G to I – Connect.

For closer fit empire waistline, (just below the bust), make dart 1/2″ wider (1/4” on each side of the dart), and extend point of dart up to the level of the side dart, as shown by dotted lines.

Separate the front and back sections as shown in diagrams 3 and 4.

3 and 4) To eliminate the side dart, draw slash line from point of side dart to empire seam line; then slash and spread, closing the side dart as shown in diagram 4. This also provides the additional amount needed for the front pleats.

5 and 6) Draft square neckline in front and back; then draft the dropped shoulder outline as shown by dotted lines.

To keep bodice from standing away at square neckline, reduce 1/4″ at top of center back and front neckline to nothing at lower edge of bodice as shown in diagram 7 and 8.

Skirt length – Equals the prevailing style length, measuring from natural waistline to hem of skirt. Draw straight lines down below hip to required length; then curve bottom lines

slightly as shown by dotted lines.

For a sweep of 4 yards, draw slash lines at the skirt seams to waistline; then slash and spread as shown in diagram 7 and 8. Making the necessary allowance for the required sweep (about 5” at each spread)

7 and 8) To complete the pattern, add seams and a skirt hem; then make corresponding notches.


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