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Size and fit: The development of size charts for clothing — Part 3

Alison Beazley (The Manchester Metropolitan University, The Department of Clothing, Design and Technology, Hollings Faculty, Old Hall Lane, Manchester)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 1 January 1999


A survey of 100 young women's body measurements was undertaken during 1992/93. The findings are the basis of Part 3, which aims to explain how size charts are developed for garments; to evaluate the measuring equipment used and to compare the size chart body measurements with those proportionally derived by traditional formulae. A size chart is the artificial dividing of a range of measurements which are concise and consistent. There are different types of size charts. Some are of body measurement for specific proportion and shape. Others are for garments including ease allowances which vary according to the garment style and type of fabric. Size charts can be developed in three stages commencing with the raw survey data, which is then rounded to the nearest 1.0 cm or 0.5 cm and finally ease allowance is added for the finished garment. During the survey some measurements were repeated using different measuring equipment so that a comparison could be made to select the most suitable for pattern construction. The use of the anthropometer is limited as it can only take linear measurements. However, it is helpful when analysing body proportion, whereas the tape measures attached to the harness and a metal tape measure can record the contour surface of the body, which is more appropriate for clothing. The adjustable square and angle were a little difficult to position correctly but were useful to check the formulae used for pattern construction. A comparison is made between the survey body measurements and traditional formula to derive body measurements which are difficult to take. The dividing of the height by eight heads is useful for length proportions. The derived neck shape and survey measurements were comparable. Head measurements suitable for hoods were similar for all bust and neck sizes. Only the height showed any progression in size. This concludes the three articles which explain the taking of body measurements, methods of analysing the data and applying it to clothing pattern construction. It is hoped that this will aid those in industry and education who wish to undertake research and to develop new technology.



Beazley, A. (1999), "Size and fit: The development of size charts for clothing — Part 3", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 66-84.




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