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Optimized fit for plus-size women
13
Feb '10
Full-figured women will soon have available to them new shopping opportunities – thanks to one of the research projects (AiF-Nr. 15144 BG) overseen by the Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V. (Textile Research Board). Under the auspices of the project, the body measurements of the full-figured are being comprehensively measured and evaluated scientifically for the first time. As a result of this effort, the garment industry will have current body measurement data, guidelines for optimised designs, and realistic busts in the form of virtual size models. These make possible optimised tailoring to meet properly the needs of plus size women.

The trend is clear body proportions within the population are changing in the direction of fuller figures. Newly gathered information on plus sized bodies will now allow to be rectified what has up to now been a lack of fitting products in the garment market. This flaw occurred because in size surveys that have been carried out until the present time the proportion of plus size subjects was always too small. Larger large sizes were always simply extrapolated from average sizes 36 to 44. Yet the homogeneity of body proportions decreases as the body's volume increases, so that to make garments to fit people with fuller figures well, ideally, personal measurements are required.

A prerequisite for the joint research project of the Bekleidungsphysiologische Institut Hohenstein e.V. [Hohenstein Institute for Clothing Physiology] and the Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology at Dresden's Technical University was the evaluation of a total of 4000 data sets of women ranging in size from 44 to 64, whose measurements were recorded with state-of-the art 3D scanning technologies in the course of several size surveys.

Based on current data for body dimensions and the results of surveys of the test subjects, the Hohenstein Institute subsequently prepared a comprehensive market analysis and market share tables to provide an important aid in decision making when planning size selections to suit the market. In the newly compiled body size tables for sizes 48 to 64, what is new is a fresh definition of target-group specific sizes, above all, for example – "natural waist measurement", "horizontal-natural waist measurement difference". In addition, tables of dimensions for pattern development as well as 3D size models for the sizes 48 to 60 have been developed. These are the first to reflect the actual body sizes of the target group.

Another result of the research project is the availability of generally valid guidelines for optimal and functional designing of women's outerwear for those who have full-figures. These provide an important foundation for the makers of ready-to-wear clothing who want to stake their claim to new markets in the growing, plus size segment. The research results have been rounded off by classification of the newly determined body sizes in the European size system according to the European norm EN13402 as well as determination of the size coding according to the system set by CEN.

Hohenstein Institute

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