Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear (4th edition)

Rose Otieno (Clothing Design and Technology Department, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




Otieno, R. (2008), "Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear (4th edition)", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 429-431.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Similar to three previous editions of this book (1980, 1990 and 1997), this fourth edition provides a comprehensive guide on pattern cutting for menswear. In the introduction, the author presents a context for evaluating menswear, pointing to the aspects that have influenced design in this area: divergences in fashion for men, the focus in fashion magazines for men, luxury branding and designer labels, infiltration and acceptance of sportswear into formal wear, revolving nature of the suit, new fabrics, engineering and CAD. This is followed by a summation of basic principles of anthropometric data utilisation. Measurement surveys are important as they provide data for the generation of size charts especially for niche markets. While some manufacturers have conducted company surveys, these are usually proprietary and costly. The main guide to UK sizing and labelling has been British Standards. The British Standards have now adopted the European Standards as a new addition: BS EN 13402 Part 1 (positions and methods for measurement), Part 2 (primary and secondary dimensions for garment labelling), Part 3 (body measurement ranges for primary and secondary dimensions) and Part 4 (size coding system). Aldrich presents body measurement size charts, size codes and illustrations for taking measurements and introduces basic blocks for men's wear.

The author then focuses on specific categories of men's wear and presents clearly illustrated drawings for each of the patterns and procedures, and step by step instructions for developing them. Instructions are provided for the basic blocks for the casual jacket, over garment; one‐piece and two‐piece sleeve; casual, tailored and classic shirt. Terms are defined and shaping instructions are given for the jacket blocks. Aldrich provides sequences for adaptation of the main sleeve types and other features such as shoulder pads. Various front openings, collars, jackets, trousers, suits, are presented as well as methods for adaptation from the basic blocks. Basic blocks for unisex clothing, leisure and sportswear and nightwear are presented. New to this edition are the shirt blocks that respond to the current men's fashions for tailored shirts. An apparent inconsistency with the earlier editions, Aldrich utilises patterns with seam allowances; this concurs with the current practice where CAD programs allow working with what she terms “nett” patterns. According to the author, current practice in the industry is to utilise patterns with seam allowances. Further, design students who utilise procedures in this book can have an opportunity to work with patterns that have seam allowances.

Acknowledging the impact of variation in body size and shape, the author suggests that problems of poor fit could be addressed by adjusting the basic blocks. Some guidance is provided on how to correct common figure faults such as variation in back length, seat size, leg stance, chest width and length, shoulder size and slope. Aldrich suggests some guidance on adapting men's shirt and trouser block patterns into women's wear. She presents a method of manual pattern grading for the classic suit jacket, trouser and casual flat jacket blocks.

The section on Computer Aided Design has been updated to take into account the ever‐changing technology and its impact on pattern making. The integration of both software and hardware by different suppliers has increased the connections. The use of powerful computers has increased the usage of this technology in the industry. Most employers expect graduates to have some familiarity with these programs. The adoption of Windows as a platform for programs has enabled the integration of different software and increased connectivity between systems. Concurrent access to the system enables design and production teams to communicate irrespective of site or place. The internet offers the ability to access information and images from anywhere in the world. Direct links between retailers and manufacturers is enabled and 3D software can create virtual stores for marketing and internet and catalogue shopping. Design creation and illustration are made possible. Product data management (PDM) technology offers managing and organising information and images from design rooms; storing information on materials and capacity; and archiving previous data. PDM systems connect various departments; integrate graphic and text style data with other production and financial functions within and between retailers and manufacturers. PDM also generates instruction forms generated in the production lifecycle such as fusing positions and finished garment measurements.

Many companies possess CADCAM technology. Although many programs offer basic operations, Aldrich argues that it is the “integration of using these types of operation with imagination, tacit knowledge and the experience of fabric characteristics that makes the construction of every pattern different procedure” (p. 164). Some software offer viewing of the “virtual” garment sampling and stitching. The author discusses the role of made‐to‐measure in men's wear especially with the use of new scanning technology. Pattern grading offers a faster way of creating size variation through grade rule libraries, utilising existing rules or generating new rules. This area of grading techniques is ever‐changing and varies between programs. CAD programs provide advanced procedures for directed or automatic lay planning and marker making. These allow creation of models, lay planning and cut planning. E‐commerce marker making is also available. Plotting and cutting can be done using high speed using specialised cutting single ply or multiply fabrics or intelligent cutters that allow pieces to be matched perfectly when fabric is distorted.

This book is useful for academics in fashion colleges as it is suitable for both beginners and those who wish to start pattern adaptation exploration in men's wear. For beginners, the clear step‐by‐step instructions and illustrations are very useful. For the more advanced students, the sections on adaptation allow opportunity for further exploration in order to find one's own style. However, the introduction of the approach to utilise patterns with seam allowances may be confusing especially for the beginner and also that most CAD programs currently use patterns without seam allowances. The author provides some advice on their use (p.14).

The greatest contribution of this book is the discussion on computer aided design. The author presents a logical sequence of pattern development showing how the various computer activities are integrated: design creation, PDM, cutting, MTM, grading, lay planning and marker making, plotting, cutting and production. The author presents examples of key procedures from leading vendors' programs. Because most colleges may not have all the programs at once, this provides an excellent summation of what the industry offers.

This book is accessible, is current in the way it links pattern making with CAD technology and remains a useful and guide for pattern making for men's wear.

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