To solve the problems associated with size inclusivity and poor garment fit requires a quantification of fit. To that end, my research relies on the following personal definition of garment fit:
Garment fit is the mathematical quantification of fabric grain around a body. While elements of fit are subjective, as measured in a garment pattern they are quantifiable. Therefore, by isolating the objective aspects of fit, the subjective aspects may also be quantified and a mathematical description of garment fit achieved. Garment fit is therefore fit reality (body shape) plus fit preference (ease).
Therefore, the first step in assessing fit as good or bad is to isolate the subjective and objective aspects associated with it.
To that end, I have defined the objective aspects fit, as those relating to the body and called them fit reality, and the subjective aspects of fit as those relating to ease and called them fit preference. Fit reality refers to body dimensions. Fit preference refers to pattern dimensions in excess of the fit reality otherwise known as garment ease.
While not common knowledge, the apparel industry has been built on methodologies using merely an approximation of fit reality. Understanding this, it becomes apparent that an approximation of the body could only ever result in an approximation garment fit. Hence, industry wide problems associated with garment fit and anthropometric assessment are directly related to an inability to quantify the body.
To support this claim I offer the following:
- Scanning for the acquisition of measurements is widely used in machining industries because of its accuracy yet many manufacturers refuse to utilize this technology claiming measurement inaccuracies. I would like to suggest that noted inaccuracies are a result of the translation of body scanned measurement data to pattern rather than a result of flawed data collection. Speaking to the points above, if measurements are translated such that they reflect merely an approximation of shape, how can the resulting pattern be used as an indication of scanner accuracy? Traditional methods of pattern-engineering do not accurately translate measurement data to a 2D block pattern.
- Automated fitting applications have difficulty assessing sizing for body types outside of garment sizing norms. Again, since only an approximation of body shape is possible (using traditional pattern drafting practices) fitting assessment relies on comparing the approximation of customer to the approximation of brand fit. Such analysis compounds errors such that data analysis results in little more than guessing. The most obvious example of this being using bust girth for bra size. How can bust girth be an indication of breast volume for cup size when the manipulation of said volume changes the measured girth of the bust?
- Sampling using the 3D environment has limited integration due to claims of questionable realism on outlier figure types. Once again, if only an approximation of body shape is reflected in the garment pattern, only an approximation of shape will be translated to the mesh that reflects the virtual garment.
- Garment design involves the manipulation of a base block pattern into a desired shape which when constructed will reflect a desired image (usually the designer’s sketch). A block pattern reflects a basic 2D pattern shape with minimal ease. Sub-blocks with ease may be made from the base block to save the repetitive task of adding a commonly used ease amount. The fit of the original block will be inherent in all derived patterns or sub-blocks. To adapt a block or pattern to fit a specific individual (made-to-measure) both the inherent fit reality and fit preference of the pattern must be considered and adapted. Desirable, MTM garment fit can not be achieved using traditional shaping methodologies merely approximating body shape because without the fit reality quantified, only a guess can be made regarding fit preference.
- Mass garment customization suggests that any garment pattern can be adjusted (parameterized) to fit any person. Traditional methods of pattern parametrization have difficulty accounting for outlier body types. Once again, traditional pattern-making merely accounts for an approximation of body shape. Pattern parameterization based on an approximation of body shape is not conducive with the requirements of mass garment customization. Traditional practices of using limited landmarking and measuring will need to be replaced with a more robust algorithmic approach to body shape assessment.
The Clone Block™ is a computationally efficient and accurate accurate method of producing a 2D mathematical representation of body shape.
Generated from innovative landmarking and measuring protocols it is both a mathematical assessment of individual body shape and a method of directly relating body measurements to a 2D pattern. It works on all genders and all body shapes. In other words, any pattern can be customized to any body shape. This is where we need to be; measurements are extracted from a point cloud and a pattern is parametrized for body shape. This has not previously been possible because traditional pattern-making cannot precisely account for body shape. Traditional practices rely heavily on fittings to perfect garment fit. This inability to quantify body shape has inhibited automation of garment fit.
Foundational Influence of the Clone Block
Digitization of the apparel industry has been a uniquely complicated process requiring the blending of the diametrical opposed disciplines of engineering and art. Technologies proven effective in many other industries await widespread apparel integration.
Numerous reasons for slow adoption have been cited, but it is a lack of quantification of garment fit that lies as the foundational inhibiting factor. The Clone Block offers an approach to block pattern development that offers an origami 2D representation of body shape, is congruent with traditional practices of pattern-making, suitable for technological interface.
Technology alone will not bring about digitization of the apparel industry or solve the challenges facing garment fit. Digitization of the apparel industry requires century old measuring and pattern drafting practices be replaced with a more complex algorithmic approach to body shape assessment and block pattern development.
1. MASS GARMENT CUSTOMIZATION
- 1D measurements permit sizing table comparisons.
- 3D aesthetic review of body shape permits assessment of design suitability.
- 2D measurement assessment permits a critical garment fit assessment without try-on or sampling.
2. DATA ANALYSIS
Body scanned measurement data offers under-utilized point cloud data. Retrieving unique landmarking and measuring points from this data permits a Clone Block assessment to identify the garment requirements that relate to body shape. This has tremendous implications for brands addressing global demographics. Reassessing body scanned data for new demographic garment fit insights would provide tangible evidence of the Clone Block shaping requirements of given demographic data.
3. AUTOMATIC LANDMARKING
The method of measuring for the Clone Block relates well to body scanning and has much to offer regarding automated landmarking. Further, the shaping algorithms offer checks which help with identifying hidden body areas.
4. VIRTUAL GARMENT DESIGN
- The fall of fabric grain on the body is predicted.
- The positioning of design lines on the body is reconciled to body shape.
5. FIT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENT
Assessing fit preference without fit reality quantification results in nothing more than a best guess regarding garment fit. Hidden ease negatively affecting fit preference can only accurately be assessed with a quantitative approach.
Intelligent Shaping™ brings the art of bespoke fit to mass customization.
Using Clone Block™ technology, Intelligent Shaping™ replicates the heuristic techniques of bespoke tailors to account for fabric grain, layer thickness, ease preference, and customized shaping to achieve superior fit.
While developed for integration with CAD software platforms, Intelligent Shaping™ can be used as a standalone, body shape inclusive, parametrization software for custom block pattern developement (.dxf format).
By incorporating the landmarking and measuring markers used in the Clone Block™, any pattern can be made mass customization ready. Intelligent Shaping™ was developed for virtual garment design. It is the 3D to 2D (or 2D to 3D) interface that monitors the relationship of the pattern and body shape during the design process.
Intelligent Tailoring™ is a computationally efficient method of comparing 1D body measurements against garment dimensions for highly accurate assessment of garment fit. Unlike traditional size prediction applications, it utilizes both Clone Block™ and Intelligent Shaping™ algorithms for precise analysis of fit preference.
Owner, Researcher, Developer, designer
Emma Scott is a garment fit and pattern-engineering consultant with a unique background. Thirty years of garment design coupled with MTM manufacturing experience, anthropometric research and CAD expertise give her a unique perspective on the workflows and processes required to automate the apparel industry. After training in computer programming, she took an about-face to train in bespoke pattern making and garment design. Determined to bring the perfection of bespoke fit to a wider audience, she expanded to Made to Measure (MTM) bridal and evening wear manufacturing. When CAD MTM could not address the precise level of fit her business needed to further expand, she turned to R&D and translated the heuristic components of garment fit and pattern engineering to algorithms. She is currently publishing her research, consulting to industry, and integrating her methods into apparel technologies.
Throughout my career the following philosophy has been my driving force. While it has frequently been used in marketing, this statement speaks to the purpose behind my custom design work and my vision for the apparel industry at large. In my career, I had the privilege of dressing women as graduates, brides, mothers of the bride and groom, athletes, award recipients, personalities, and as themselves in everyday roles. I had the privilege of witnessing women transform before my eyes when clothed in a suit of armour that reflected their soul and suited their body. It is this suit of armour that I wish to make available to the public at large.
“I do not believe that appearance is a reflection of inner beauty. I do however, acknowledge the impact that external aesthetics have on our own self-esteem, and on the way others view us. Considering this effect, I feel that clothing choices should not always be driven by industry and seasonal trends. I believe
…Fashion Should Empower, not dictate.”
Emma Scott 1997
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