CONTOURED GARMENTS FOR WOMEN WITH BIG BUSTS

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1 CONTOURED GARMENTS FOR WOMEN WITH BIG BUSTS Dr Noopur ANAND & Riti MEHROTRA Abstract: Contoured garments can be defined as garments which are snugly /closely fitted to the contours of the body for example halter neck, bra top, off-shoulder or single shoulder garments etc. The difference between the basic fitted garment and contoured garment is that basic fitted garment fits only on the periphery of the body but contoured garments additionally fit around the hollowness of the body created by the bust mound. This fitment happens by using multiple contouring darts above, below and in-between bust. In apparel retail these contoured garments are only manufacture for the women having Cup Size A or B. The women having bigger cup sizes like C, D, E etc. will find it difficult to get well fitting contoured garments. This paper has attempted to establish the growth in contouring increment to accommodate big cup sizes which would help manufacturing of well fitted and comfortable contoured garments for women with big busts. Key words: Contoured Fit, Contoured Darts, Contouring Increments, Band size, Cup Size. 1 Introduction Good fitting garment is a garment which is neither too large nor too small and conforms to the contours of the body without binding, sagging, straining or wrinkling 1. [1] Proper adjustments are required in all the three dimensions i.e. length, girth and dept to achieve a good fit in a garment made of woven fabric. Fitting in garment length and girth is relatively easy to achieve and basically requires taking measurement from correct landmarks on the body or from the size charts. Greatest challenge is achieving suitable depth. Depth in a garment made of woven fabric is achieved by darts. Darts are made by folding of the fabric in such a manner so as to give height to the fabric which enables two dimensional fabrics drape a three dimensional body. Darts are required primarily on top of the body both in front and at back to fit the garment close to the body as shown in Fig 1. In front, darts are required around bust to accommodate bust height and around front top hip level to accommodate tummy shaping. In back, of darts are required around the waist to shape-in hollow of back; over the shoulder blade to take-in curve on shoulder and back hip to accommodate hip shaping. Apart from this, darts are also required in elbow of the sleeve to shape in the natural arm swing of the body. These are the main areas wherein the darts are essentially required in pattern to make a fitted garment with woven fabric. 1a 1b 1c 1d Figure 1: Fabric folded-in to form a dart under and over the bust in front as shown in Fig a,b,c and in back as shown in Fig d to fit the garment close to the body But when the snug fitted garment in a woven fabric is to be made to fit body like a glove i.e. countered fit, there is need for reducing the pattern within its frame to fit hollowness above, below and in between the bust mounds and shoulder blades 2 [2] (Armstrong 2009). This reduction with in the basic frame of pattern happens by use of multiple contoured darts in multiple areas around the bust. The selection of these darts for implementation during pattern making can be done basis the style of the garment i.e. whether the requirement of contoured fitting is above the bust (at neckline and/ or armhole); in between bust; under-bust; shoulder etc.

2 4a: Gapping on neckline 4b: Gapping on neckline & armhole Figure 2: Pull Lines around chest 4a: Gapping on 3a neckline 4a: 4b: Gapping Gapping on neckline 3b on neckline & 4b: Gapping on neckline 3c & Figure 3: Fitting problems the armhole 4c: Gapping on armhole garment- Gapping armhole on 3a neckline; 3b armhole; 3c both neckline and neckline Fig 4: Fitting problems in the garments The styling of the garment indicates the areas where contouring is required and those are the contouring darts which are used during pattern manipulation for example if the garment has scooped neckline above the bust level contouring is required to be done above the bust around neckline area ;if the garment neckline is scooped and is below the bust level the contouring will be required to be done between the bust in addition to the one done around neckline; if the same garment also has a deep armhole in addition to the earlier two contouring is also required to be done around the armhole area.till sometime back the only usage of countered darts was in lingerie (brassier) where in they darts were used in totality 4c: i.e. Gapping single on armhole dart made by addition of all the small 4c: Gapping on armhole contoured darts (as the contoured fitting was desired everywhere i.e. above, below and in between bust). But now in recent times contouring darts are used to make body Fig 4: hugging Fitting problems garments in in various styles. The demand Fig the 4: Fitting garments problems in the garments and popularity of such garments have gone up, few garment examples in this category are halter neck, handkerchief top, empire-line garments, bra top garment, off-shoulder garment, single shoulder garment, garment with scooped neckline or armhole etc. Although these garments are very liked but such garment fits only a limited range of women i.e. the women having difference between the bust base and top of bust as 4-6 inch i.e. (as per lingerie sizing A/B cup size).the women with bigger bust rise (i.e. cup size C,D,E and more) are not able the wear this garment as the dart intake is not enough to give desired height to the pattern to accommodate this bigger bust height hence the garment becomes tight over the bust 3 [3]Fig 2. Apart from this there are fitting issues around neckline, armhole and under bust area as discussed later in Fig 3. This can especially be of concern as the studies show that the cup sizes of average women is becoming bigger. A study of American women according to the New York Times, WWD, NY Daily News, and prominent bra retailers like Tomima of Her Room indicates that 10 years ago 34B was average women s bust size which grew to 36 C till 5 years back and the current average is 36E 4 [4].This paper explores this relationship between the contouring dart and cup size. It establishes the incremental growth in the each of multiple contouring darts with growth in cup sizes. 2 Contouring: Principles and Application 2.1 What is contouring? Contouring refers to fitting a pattern closer to the body than the basic pattern 5 [5] (Knowles 2005). Contouring is a technique of reducing the patterns within its framework to fit the contours of the upper torso closer than does the basic garment, the pattern must be reduced to fit the dimensions of the body above, below and in between the bust mounds and shoulder blades 2 (Armstrong 2009). Figure 4: Garment verses Body

3 The Fig 4 shows a basic garment draped on the body. It also shows that the garment fits the peripheries of the body and hangs loosely round the bust mound. The hollow areas around the bust mound i.e. above the bust around neckline and armhole, under the bust and in-between the bust does not come in contact with the garment and hangs loose in these areas. Ones part of neckline or shoulder area is trimmed away garment looses stability and will fall away from body which results in looseness and gapping as indicated in 5 [5] (Knowles 2005). Fig 3. Fig 3a, 4b, 3c show the fit defects like looseness and gaps in a garment around neckline and armhole area when the contouring principles are not used. 2.2 What are principles of contouring and how are they applied? Principle of contouring establishes the method of reducing the pattern with in its frame to shape in the hollowness around the bust and the shoulder 2 [2] (Armstrong 2009). Figure 5: Methods of measuring contouring increments This principle establishes the areas wherein the reduction can be done in pattern to address the hollowness above, below and in between the bust. It requires establishing the multiple contouring increments on bust base (point of breaking out of bust mound). Contouring increments and there purposes are as follows: 1- Deep Neckline contouring principle is used to address hollowness around neckline above the bust 2- In-between bust contouring principle is used to address hollowness between the bust mounds 3- Under bust contouring principle is used to address hollowness under the base of the bust 4- Deep Armhole contouring principle is used to address hollowness around armhole above the bust 5- Armhole ease contouring principle is used to bring garment closer to the body at underarm point for sleeveless garment. This may be used as ¼ for all sizes in medium weight woven fabric. 6- Shoulder slope contouring principle is used to address shoulder curve i.e. hollowness on shoulder line. This may be used as 1/8 for all sizes. 7- Side seam ease contouring principle is used to remove all comfort ease from the garment on side to make it snuggly fit the body on side. In this any ease used in the block on bust girth has to be removed generally ½ For the study only first four principles have been focused on as these are the only contoured dart increment which get impacted with change in the height of the bust. This height of the bust mound is quantified as cup size. Fig 5 shows how the measurements can be done for the contouring increments. Fig 6 Shows how the increments are applied on to the pattern

4 Figure 6: Application of Principle of Contouring on Front Bodice Block 3 What is Cup Size? How was it calculated for this study? Cup size determines the height the bust mound and is the difference between the bust base or rib cage measurement and the Bust girth or top of the bust measurement, more this difference bigger is the bust mound height. This cup size nomenclature has been used for data collection and later for providing inferences. Cup Size is calculated as follows (Ann Haggar [6], Kristina Shin [7] ) : i. Determine bust base or rib cage measurement by measuring around the ribcage just under the bust in ii. iii. iv. inches. Landmark 1 as shown in Fig 7 Determine band size by adding 4-5 inches to the rib cage measurement to get even size value. This value is the Band Size. Determine bust girth or top of bust measurement by measuring around the bust at its fullest point. Landmark2 as shown in Fig 7 Determine the cup size by Subtracting band size (2) from the full bust (3) and tallying the value given in the Table 1 to get the cup size. Figure 7: Body landmark for calculating 20-22cm cup size Fig 7: Body Landmarks for calculating cup 22-24cm 4 Objective size of study Table 1: Calculation of Cup Size Bust Table Girth 1: Calculation Rib cage measurement of Cup Size Bust girth- Band Size Cup Size Bust Girth cm Bust girth 1 A Cup size Rib Cage measurement cm Band size 2 B cm cm 1 3 A C cm 4 D 14-16cm 2 B cm 5 E 16-18cm cm 3 C 6 F 18-20cm 4 D To establish the growth in contouring increments for the different cup sizes 5 Methodology 2 1 Two fold approaches was taken to calculate the contouring increments with growing cup sizes 5.1 Step 1- Actual data collection. This was done by measuring the four contouring dart increments of Deep-neckline, Deep-armhole, in-between bust and under bust individually on dress form and ladies of size 34 & 36 having cup sizes of A,B,C,D as per the 5 6 E F

5 method in fig 4. Then the total contouring increments around bust was also calculated by adding increments of all of these darts. This total increment was then authenticated in step Step 2- Authentication of the data collected: Data was authenticated at two levels one as total contouring darts increment and secondly individual contouring darts increments Verification of total contouring dart increment by use of brassieres: This was done by verifying the total contouring dart increment calculated in first step against the ones being used in brassieres. This was done as pattern making of Brassieres is an established system and uses the total contouring dart increment. In This step the brassier of size 34 & 36 having cup sizes of A,B,C,D were mounted on the graph paper as shown in Fig.8. The bust base and total dart increment inclusive of basic dart and total contoured dart was measured. From this the total contouring dart intake was calculated after removing the basic dart intake. 8a 8b Figure 8: Dismantled Brassier - 8a shows Bust base measurement; 8b shows total dart increment Figure 9: Pattern of Brassier use for measurement of total dart intake Same exercise was also done using the brassier patterns as shown in Fig 9 and the total contouring dart was calculated. This total contouring dart intake was verified against the one measured in step 1. This verification proved the total contouring dart increment calculated by addition of four contouring darts in step 1 was same as the one used in brassier where in a single dart totaling all contouring dart increment is used. The same was also verified by the brassier pattern grading where it was seen that the grade rule for growth between adjacent cup sizes (P.J.Taylor & M. Shoben) 8 [8]was same as per the calculated increment Verification of individual contouring dart increment by development of prototype sample: Verification of the same was done by analyzing the growth pattern between cup sizes for the data collected in step 1. This data was used to predict the individual contouring dart for next size i.e. 38 having cup sizes of A, B, C, D. Halter neck top which requires the usage of all the four contouring increment i.e. deep neckline, deep armhole, in-between bust and under bust was made using these established increments and its fitting checked. The halter neck top thus made was fitting well in all cup sizes which authenticated the accuracy of the contouring increments established. 38A 38B 38C 38D Figure 10: Good fitting halter top in size 38 A, B, C, D respectively made from developed contouring increments.

6 Fig 10 shows the fit of the halter top made from the contouring increments in 38 A,B,C,D size respectively where in there is no fullness or looseness in neckline, armhole,,in-between bust and under bust areas. 6 Results and Analysis : From the primary data collection the contouring increment of deep neckline, deep armhole, in-between bust and under bust was measured for Band size 34 and 36 in cup sizes A, B, C, D and the growth pattern between the adjacent cup sizes were analyzed and calculated. This data was tested by establishing contouring increments for Band size 38 in cup sizes A, B, C, D and making halter neck top with these increments. Well Fitting halter neck proved the validity of the increments. The summarized growth increments are mentioned in Table 2 below. Table 2: Incremental growth between adjacent cup sizes Incremental Growth between adjacent cup size i.e. Incremental Growth between 34 or 36 A&B cup size ; 34 or 36 B&C cup size ; 34 or 36 C&D cup size Bust base spread +3/8 Deep neckline +1/8 Deep armhole +1/8 Under bust +1/8 In-between bust +1/4 Total contouring incremental growth between adjacent cup size +5/8 7 Conclusion The growth of contouring increment between adjacent cup sizes indicates that With increase in cup size the bust base which is the point of origin of bust mound gets wider in radius by 3/8 of an inch per cup size. The Deep neckline and Deep armhole increment per cup size requires to be increased by 1/8 inch because of the increased height of the bust mound The under bust contouring increment increases by 1/8 inch per cup size With the increase in the height of the bust mound per size the distance between the center front line and the top of the bust increases which results in in-between bust increment to grow by ¼ inch In all the total growth increment in countering dart amounts to 5/8 inch (1/8 inch each of deep neckline, armhole and under bust and ¼ inch of in between bust) which matches with the grading increment used in brassier hence establishing the authenticity of the calculated increments. References: [1] New Mexico State University, (2001) Pattern Alteration Available at html [2] Armstrong, Helen Joseph.(2009) Pattern making for fashion design, Dorling Kindersley India Pvt. Ltd., Fourth edition, pp [3] Article: Large Breasts and Clothing Issues Available at [4] Article:The top ten bra brands for full bust and plus size women Posted by Treacle, May 2011 Available at [5] Knowles, A.Lori (2005), The practical guide to pattern making for fashion designers, Fairchild publication New York, pp [6] Haggar, A. (2001), Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear. New Delhi: Blackwell Science.pp64 [7] Shin. Kristina.( 2010), Pattern making for underwear design, pp 4 [8] Taylor J.Patric & Shoben M. Martin (1986) Grading for fashion industry, Scotprint, Great Briatin, pp 76

7 Author(s): Riti MEHROTRA, Bachelors in Fashion Technology National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, Department of Fashion Technology Hauz Khas, New Delhi India Phone: Fax :--- Prof. Noopur ANAND, PhD National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, Department of Fashion technology Hauz Khas, New Delhi India Phone : Fax :---

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