Building patternmaking theory: A case study of published patternmaking practices for pants

Ellen Carol McKinney, Elizabeth Bye, Karen Labat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Garment development is an iterative process centred on patternmaking to resolve fit and production problems. Each time a sample garment is revised adds time and expense to garment development. Understanding the relationships among garment fit variables is essential to advancing the process of garment development especially with respect to programming computer-aided patternmaking systems accurately. Fit experts utilise their practical knowledge, but it is generally unrecorded, while patternmaking texts provide information on body-to-pattern variable relationships that is not well documented. Building patternmaking theory can ground the practice and lead to a better understanding of body-to-pattern relationships. This study compared published patternmaking specifications for ease, shaping devices and crotch curve shape against pants patterns custom-fit by experts for seven female participants of similar body size and age representing purposefully selected body shapes. In contrast to the singular directive specifications in the patternmaking texts, variation was required for all cases to achieve acceptable fit, with some variations related to body shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-167
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


  • body shape
  • ease
  • pants
  • patternmaking
  • theory development


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