Exploration of the body–garment relationship theory through the analysis of a sheath dress

Robin Carufel, Elizabeth Bye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The apparel industry is replete with assumptions regarding the body-garment relationship. Traditional anthropometry focuses on linear body measurements, which are inadequate to describe and classify the human body-form for apparel pattern development. To enable the development of a body-form based block system, this case study explored the body-garment relationship for a sheath dress to determine if apparel block shapes could be categorized based on distinct body-form variations. A modified version of Gazzuolo’s (1985) body-garment relationship theory guided the development and analysis of the study. Pattern blocks were fit to 39 female subjects, with 16 dimensions extracted from specific pattern components and graphed to reveal between one and five groups per dimension. Visual analysis of the sample’s body scans revealed 27 body-form variations with 99 categorical descriptions. Categorical descriptions were compared to the dimensional values resulting in ten suggestions for a body-form based block system, and seventeen assumptions that require further analysis. In conclusion, this case study discovered multiple body-form variations across a single size, but block shapes could not be identified due to the wide variation in the sample. Future studies should assess a statistically significant sample of individuals with in-depth analysis of a single body region to determine if there are generalizable body-form variations across the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalFashion and Textiles
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Body scans
  • Body–garment relationship
  • CAD
  • Fit
  • Patternmaking
  • Theory


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