Maintaining design aesthetics : case studies investigating grading for body shape variation : the translation of garment designs to fit fuller figured women : an essay presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Fit problems continue to plague the women’s fashion design industry. Complete garment fit for women whose bodies are not the standard size or shape can be difficult to find or non-existent. Yet, fit is an essential design feature. In this design-led research project, I have used techniques of grading to translate design details into other sizes, while maintaining the design aesthetic. This mode and process of grading and fitting complex designs to a variety of body shapes is sensitive to line, shape and form and ultimately reveals the potential to cater to a wider garment-wearing audience. Selecting various fuller figured women’s body shapes to use for parallel case studies allowed techniques for analysis of shape and its effect on pattern to be developed, and shape-based-grading rules created. A collection of draped dresses developed in the base size acts as a challenging test for this shape-based-grading model. During shape-based-grading, pattern pieces are morphed to reflect the underlying body shape of the fit models in the case studies. Using Gerber Accumark pattern design software facilitates the incorporation of body shape into grading practice and the translation between the 2D and 3D realms. Shape-based-grading is used to develop patterns that fit fuller figured women and yet maintain the design aesthetic. The process of shape-based-grading has been successfully implemented when applied to non-complex designs of fitted straight grained dresses. When applied to an intricate draped dress, shape based grading was successful in achieving fit, however, the design aesthetic was partially compromised by complications related to fabric behaviour. Fabric behaviour was incorporated into the grading for the draped dress, and patterns fully maintaining the design aesthetic are presented for each fit model in the case studies.
Fashion design, Garment fitting for women, Women's clothes, Body shapes, Fuller figured women, Women's sizes