Custom Half-Scale Dress Form as a Patterning Tool

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Half scale forms have been used in education for years, but these forms have not been adopted by the fashion industry or the entertainment industry. Both of these industries have specific body figures that they work with: in fashion it is a fit model (intended to represent a range of bodies) and in theatre and film costuming it is an actor (therefore, a design intended for a specific, individual body). Creating custom half scale forms has not been possible due to the limitations in technology for capturing the 3D image of the individual. We now have the ability, with a hand-held scanner, to capture a 3D image of anyone, anywhere. In this study I worked with several professional experienced cutter/drapers to create patterns with the custom half scale forms and in one case, with a standard full-scale form at the same time. By documenting the process for each method through journals, photos and observation, a comparison was made between the time and material spent on each. A mixed methods approach was used to analyze the data collected from the study participants. At the end of the study we found a slight time savings when using the custom half scale forms, and we started to collect data on material use. The fit results from the final fitting muslins made from the patterns were mixed, and it became clear that the participants did not trust the custom half scale forms enough to create patterns that fit closely to the form. Based on results from the pilot test, in which inexperienced students fitted their patterns much more closely, we believe that with experience the use of these innovative forms will be able to, in many cases, eliminate the muslin fitting stage from the development of theatrical costumes entirely.

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Draping; Fit; Half-scale dress-form; Mobile Scanning; Fashion; theater; scaling; architecture


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Ashdown, Susan P.

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Warke, Val Kevin

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Fiber Science and Apparel Design

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M.A., Fiber Science and Apparel Design

Degree Level

Master of Arts

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dissertation or thesis

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