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Evaluating the Figure: Introduction

Clothing manufacturers and pattern companies design with a standard figure in mind. This established standard is based on the statistical average of many figures. It is often an “ideal” figure with proportions, contours, symmetry, and posture that are considered perfect. Standard figures vary according to the company of origin. An individual’s figure is similar to a standard figure, but usually varies from the standard figure in one or more body areas in terms of height, width, depth, and circumference. Figure variations from the standard may be the result of heredity, ethnic origin, growth patterns, posture, disease, or accident. These variations cause fitting problems in both ready-to-wear and personally made clothing.

You can determine personal figure variations by conducting an objective evaluation of the entire figure. An awareness of major figure variations will aid in the selection of clothing styles to enhance the appearance of the figure. The awareness of figure variations should alert you to the need for possible pattern alteration and garment adjustment. An accurate evaluation should enable you to relate a fitting problem to its cause and to the resulting adjustment required.

Prior to an objective figure evaluation, most people assume a pleasingly proportioned and balanced figure. An effort must be made to see the figure as it's , not as you imagine or would like it to be. An inaccurate image of the body can lead to the selection of clothing styles or fit that exposes, calls attention to, or emphasizes an undesired variation.

To be effective, a figure evaluation must be realistic and objective; body assets as well as variations must be recognized. This is a surprisingly difficult task for some people who tend to feel dissatisfied with their individual body build, particularly in comparison to a statistical average or ideal. Self- consciousness and low self-esteem may result. Learning to recognize body areas that conform to the average and to create proportional balance is very important. Acceptance of the self is vital in developing the desire and ability to select styles and accomplish pattern alterations that will effectively and artfully camouflage or minimize figure variations.

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Friday, 2009-10-16 18:35