May 26, 2015

Grading from body measurements pt. 3

This is part three of an ongoing discussion about N. A. Schofield's article Pattern Grading found in the Sizing in Clothing book. Part one is here, part two here. I recommend reading the previous parts of this series before reading this one.

So what were the results of Schofield's experiment? I can't reproduce the actual results here, but it was something like this.

Imagine the square is a bodice pattern piece in one size. The star is supposed to be the same pattern piece but graded to the next size. Clearly, the two shapes have no proportional relationship to each other. The problem is further compounded by a different grade for corresponding pieces.

Imagine these are front and back bodice pattern pieces. Each corresponding pattern piece was graded separately based on the measurement data for that body location. Now imagine trying to sew the front and back together. It can't be done. Schofield freely admits the difficulty in the results. Though she also believes we need to learn how to deal with new shapes in pattern pieces in order to achieve superior fit.

Schofield's experiment left me with a lot of questions. I did not understand completely why she rejected the ASTM measurement data, nor why she went back to essentially raw data. Her grading methodology left me a bit confused. The results were clearly not suitable for industry application. Superior fit is the holy grail of fashion, but I'm not convinced that grading is the entire source of the problem. Superior fit, for each individual might only be achieved on an individual basis. In this case, 3D body scanning and customized clothing is the answer, but is it practical?

I would like to see this experiment repeated. The factors that will impact additional experiments are the measurement data and grading methodology. Why not use ASTM measurement data? Why not use traditional grading methods? I always support those who are willing to test ideas and theories. This was a worthy attempt by Schofield to ask important why and how questions.

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