Free Downloadable Sloper Patterns and a Website for Free Resources (!!!)


I’m super excited to say that I have FINALLY designed and fleshed out a website that I feel good about. And on this website, you will find the *free downloadable sloper patterns* that I have been working on for approximately a year and a half. Why so long? Let’s just say that there are a lot of opportunities for screwing up some seemingly minor thing in the process of choosing sizing, developing grade rules, drafting, applying said grade rules, and modifying for cup sizes, not realizing it for a very long time, and then having to go back and start completely over because one thing affects 37 other things! 🙂 Which is not to say that I can guarantee these are perfect, but I’ve learned so much in the process of creating them that it has been time well spent, and I hope they can be useful.

These are the starting point for my pattern line, and I’m making them available as a potential fitting aid for my future patterns for anyone that chooses to use them, but mostly as my way of trying to contribute something that I hope can be useful to the online sewing community. The online crafting/sewing crowd is so inspiring and generous with encouragement and help and tips and tricks that it’s been a huge part of making this craft what it has become for me. So thank you, friends!

I’ve put every single size in my range up on my website as separate pdf files, and there are B, C, and D cup size variations for each one. They can be used for determining sizes and fit for my (upcoming) patterns, or they can be used as a sort of two dimensional dress form for working out exactly the fit you need for any pattern, or they can be used as a base for your own pattern drafting. I have some resources like a finished measurement sheet, a body measurement worksheet printable, and a tutorial on measuring yourself and adapting the sloper to your measurements on my website here. Feel free to share them with anyone that might find them helpful!

A nested version of the pattern that includes all sizes is available on my Etsy shop here, if you’d prefer it for grading between sizes or your own drafting purposes.
A sloper is the basic starting point for pattern design. Also known as a fitting shell, it is a baseline with enough wearing ease to allow for movement and breathing, but no design ease and no details. (It isn’t quite the same as a moulage, which fits even tighter, like a second skin, and it isn’t the same thing as a block, which is a basic pattern for a specified style, with design ease included, that can then be elaborated with details.) Slopers don’t include seam allowances.

Patterns almost never fit right out of the envelope. This isn’t a failure of the pattern. All patterns (except bespoke ones) are drafted to an average set of measurements that falls somewhere in the middle of the vast spectrum of human shapes and sizes and body types. Unless your body dimensions happen to be very close to that average set of measurements used in drafting, your pattern will need adjusting to better fit your body. A sloper or fitting shell can help you to work out and keep a physical record of those adjustments.

A sloper is like a two dimensional dress form. You can use a sloper as a basis for designing your own patterns, or you can use it as a fitting aid to adjust patterns to your body measurements and preferred fit. In adapting a sloper to your own measurements, you establish a known minimum requirement for garments to fit, and you can establish the fit adjustments that you know you need to apply to every garment, instead of figuring them out anew for each pattern. The sloper provides a baseline for fit, where the pattern uses additional design ease, design lines, and detailing to give style, structure and movement to garments.

I wanted to draft my own set of slopers as a starting point for a few reasons. First, I wanted to start from a more realistic shape than the body model commercial companies usually assume. The industry standard body model is usually hourglass shaped, though statistically, most women do not have this shape. I wanted to use as a starting point a somewhat fuller waist and hip measurement than the Big 4 for a more rectangular body type, which statistically is more common, at least in certain European population samples. In developing grade rules, I tried to incorporate statistical measures of actual bodies rather than dress form increments or standard grades for tricky areas like shoulder length. My hope is that this will yield a better, more realistic fit, but the downside is that finding the right one for you will probably require taking your measurements and may not translate directly from what you’re used to using in a pattern from one of the Big 4 companies.

I also wanted to draft my own slopers to start with a very fitted baseline, and going forward, I want to offer patterns that are very clear about the amount of ease they include. Mostly this is because one of my recurring struggles in sewing from commercial patterns, especially trying to sew a historical range from late 19th century to 30s and 50s patterns to contemporary ones, is that the amounts of ease change so much over time and between manufacturers that it’s hard to know how something will fit without making a muslin of everything. And making muslins isn’t the best use of fabric and to me is the. most. boring. thing. ever. Personally, I prefer patterns that don’t include a ton of ease, and patterns from the Big 4 almost always have too much for my liking. So in my future drafts, I expect to use ease standards closer to the lower end of the industry standard range, and I intend to be super clear about that ease so that sewers know what to expect without having to try it and see quite so much.


In other news, I added my first underwired and nursing bras to my etsy shop, because holy manic nesting impulses channeled into my creative pursuits instead of my godforsaken hoarder house, Batman! Pregnancy makes me feel like a crazy woman, but throwing myself into work is extremely therapeutic right now.

Coming soon to the blog: how to adapt a sloper for maternity, in which yours truly shall snarkily narrate an exploration of the changes pregnancy has wrought upon this physical form and how I deal with them in the flat pattern format. It will also serve as an extreme example of how to adapt a sloper to your body measurements. 🙂

Have you used slopers in your sewing? Have very strong opinions on the amount of ease one way or the other included in commercial patterns? I’d love to hear your experiences! 🙂


8 thoughts on “Free Downloadable Sloper Patterns and a Website for Free Resources (!!!)”

  1. Hi, Amanda, I look forward to working w/your bodice sloper, followed by pants (if you have one). My sloper was made 50 years ago and needs adjustments! I am not sure how to adjust as my printer prints p. 16, with the test square, at 3.25 inches. Should I download to a stick and ask the copy store to print at 90% or is there a way I can do at home. I tried going down one size and it still prints the test square at 3.25 inches. Thank you

    1. Hi Danielle! I hope the sloper is helpful for you. I’m unsure what might be causing the discrepancy in sizing. Usually it’s because of printer settings where the printer automatically scales the page to fit its print size. I would first try to check all the print scale settings to make sure it isn’t sneaking in some automatic adjustment somewhere in printer settings. The other issue I’ve seen people have is that the browser pdf reader or the default pdf program they’re using isn’t displaying layers quite right. The best solution in that case is to make sure you’re using Adobe’s free pdf reader program. (All the files were created in Adobe so some features or formatting things aren’t fully supported in other programs.) So I would try those two things first, but if you do use a copyshop, it shouldn’t be necessary to scale it down in size. At least, I’ve never had that issue come up before, so I don’t think it’s a problem with the file scale, but *probably* a problem with programs working with each other or settings auto adjusting themselves. I hope everything works out easily for you – technical issues are so frustrating. All the best,


    2. Hi,
      I wonder if you could advise on the size I should start with. I have a fairly short torso and high set bust. My FB measurement is 38” and my HB measurement is 36” but my underbust is 30” and I usually wear a uk E cup.
      Don’t know if I should go with a 36B or D or something else altogether.
      Thanks for your help.

      1. Hi Becky! I think the place I would start would be with a 36B, but I’d probably trace the pattern onto the fabric and pin fit it to see how that fits at the bust before cutting. The idea with using the high bust measure is to find a starting point that fits your skeletal frame well, and with a high bust measure of 36” I’d expect the 36B size to fit your shoulders and upper body best. But with an under bust measure of 30” it sounds as if you may have a somewhat small frame, so you may find you need a 34C or D instead, or that you might need adjustments around the waist to get a close fit. It’s hard to know from measurements alone, but the fit at neck, shoulders, and high bust is the trickiest part, so I’d go with whatever fits your frame best there and then adjust the bust and waist as needed. Good luck! I’d love to hear how it goes.

  2. Mine was also coming out at 3.25 x 3.25 inches. For reference, my computer is downloading it to view in Preview. When I went into print settings, I noticed it was set to “Scale to Fit” >> “Print Entire Page”. In a grayed out view, it showed that was measuring to 108%. I then changed it to “Scale” >> 100%. And that did it! Came out perfectly at 3×3 inches.

  3. I’m in the UK and also having print problems. At 100% scale, the square prints out at just over 2 7/8″. I have tried changing paper size from A4 to Letter with no change. Any other ideas please?

    1. Hi Suzanne – I’m sorry to hear the printing is being problematic. I’m unsure why that would be, but what seems to resolve most issues is to use Adobe’s free pdf reader instead of displaying the pdf in a browser, and making sure it’s printing at 100% scale. Since the files were created with Adobe, using their free software to print seems to really help with display quirks. I hope this helps. All the best,

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