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7th Sept 2021

The Atelier: A home for both traditional crafts and cutting-edge technologies.


Over the course of this mini-series on clothes and pattern cutting, I have aimed to show that everyone can participate in fashion and express their individual style. So far, we have explored how clothes appeal to the various senses and creativity of the wearer, and how reimagining pattern blocks can lead to innovative clothing designs. The atelier is the space where makers collaborate to make clothes, going beyond their individual expertise. In this last post, we will look at the innovation different disciplines can bring to pattern cutting in this experimental space.<\/p>\n\n

Flat pattern cutting has natural limitations for designing clothes for a shape as complex and dynamic as the human body. For starters, the measurements that guide pattern cutting are a mere snapshot of the human form, taken from models standing static and upright. The proportions also assume we’re perfectly symmetrical and fit nicely into the eight head theory prevailing in Western culture. In reality, our bodies are constantly moving, growing and changing. Digital technologies are providing new ways to bridge this gap between design and reality, improving the experience of wearing clothes and expanding inclusivity in sizing.<\/p>\n\n


Computer simulations can mimic the interplay between materials and physical movement, providing an efficient and safe virtual environment to test fabric interactions during everyday activity. Body suits and 4D scanning technology also overcome the lack of precision in standardised measurements, capturing data on large populations of real people. Recent examples used 4D scanning to map changes that occur in an individuals’ body, too: women were tracked whilst running to create better sport bras<\/a>, and pregnant women were periodically measured to predict changing clothes sizes more accurately<\/a>. Finally, producing better fitting garments has become an option available to the masses, through algorithms which produce pattern blocks from personal measurements<\/a>.<\/p>\n\n

Aside from providing more data and simulating design solutions in a virtual environment, digital technologies can create the better-fitting garment itself. 3D printers and laser sintering can create clothes directly into the final form they will take, unrestricted by methods used to cut and join flat fabric into a 3D shape.