Pattern Theory and Body Scanning: The lost dimensions to pattern practice and why we need to find them again

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Pattern cutting has long been considered a craft, where a maker uses their skills to create a block that reflects a garment’s shape. Usually, modern cutters are guided by one approach, which through use they modify to create patterns that suit their requirements. The cutting of patterns has not always been this way; tailors explored the discipline as an engineering science, with detailed knowledge of the body and its anatomy. One major change is that tailors would cut a pattern for each client; now, however, we create standard blocks and modify them to the size, shape and proportion of the wearer. To really empower clothing production, we need to bring back engineering science, whilst leveraging the many benefits of modern approaches to pattern cutting. This research explores the evolution of pattern cutting as a discipline and then with reference to technology (body scanning) outlines, where theory and practice need to be developed to capitalise on technology, whilst remaining conscious of the individual and their unique size, shape and proportion and how this drives the requirements of the pattern.
Body scanning allows us to capture data of the body that has historically been difficult to capture. With it, we can explore shape and also collect new measurements, as well as define dimensions, which were not possible previously. Using this data allows the challenging of existing techniques, as well as the proposal of new ways of creating patterns. This exploration further enables the identification of key themes in pattern theory, like subjective and objective elements in pattern drafting, and provides a foundation for proposing the theories that are required to evolve pattern cutting practices.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019
EventFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice - University of Bolton, Bolton, United Kingdom
Event duration: 23 Jan 201924 Jan 2019


ConferenceFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address