Garment pattern deﬁnition, development and application with
associative feature approach
, Y.-S. Ma
Dept. of Engineering, University of Waikato, New Zealand
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada
Apparel manufacturing is traditionally conducted using two-
dimensional patterns to produce sample garments to be ﬁtted on a
three-dimensional mannequin. The ﬁtness of a garment is largely
dependent on the experience of the pattern designer. This process
is usually time-consuming and inefﬁcient. There is a demand for
automation in garment industry to overcome the issues of
shortening the time to market and reducing intensive labour
effort . Traditionally, garment production is based on patterns;
hence two-dimensional features are commonly applied in
computer-aided solutions . However, advanced CAD tools allow
accurate modeling of mannequins , hence, early virtual
concurrent design for garment mass customization becomes
Perhaps, computers are more involved in the downstream
applications such as numerically controlled cutting path genera-
tion or automatic machine stitching of garment patterns. The
garment design process still follows the traditional approach
which designs the garment pattern two-dimensionally. Although
the work reported in  can show the ﬁnal garment in spatial
dimensions after putting on the human body, this approach is not
intuitive. This is mainly due to the variation of mannequin
parameters according to the customers; and clothes should be
generated from them, instead of the other way around. In addition,
a procedure of draping simulation is necessary to evaluate the
design . The whole design process is iterative with trial and error
Geometry representation and modeling methods are explored
when garment patterns are designed three-dimensionally. Com-
paring with rigid objects which have ﬁxed topology and geometry,
for a piece of fabric, only topology is ﬁxed [18–20]. Its geometry is
inﬂuenced by the environment and the object underneath.
Different from the two-dimensional pattern designs, curvature
is introduced in the three-dimensional garment patterns, which is
induced by the mannequin underneath. Depending upon the types
of garment design, different kinds of mannequin are used. A detail
digital human body as a mannequin [7–9] is necessary for
designing a ﬁtted bodice since the three-dimensional garment
patterns take up the contours of the body. Otherwise, convex hull
method is applied to idealize the model as a traditional mannequin
for pattern design.
The garment geometry is represented by a set of geometric
surfaces. Various methods are proposed to generate the surface
information. These include surfaces interpolation based on the
spatial curve deﬁned with reference to a mannequin [9,10]. Much
effort is put on the continuity between different patches in the
garment patterns [7,11]. Mesh is another alternative to generate
the pattern geometry [10,12]. The mesh is associated with the
mannequin feature points so that the changes of mannequin size
and shape are reﬂected in the mesh.
Flattening the three-dimensional garment patterns onto a plane
is another challengeable issue. It should be an isometric
transformation from three-dimension to two-dimension with
the assumption that the fabric is non-elastic in most of the cases.
Geometric methods for mapping the three-dimensional pattern
Computers in Industry 61 (2010) 524–531
Available online 1 May 2010
Garment virtual design has been evolved signiﬁcantly with the rapid development of 3D CAD tools,
especially with the convenient availability of NURBS surface modeling capability. Parametric
development of clothes is demanded in line with the trend of mass customization according to the
true measures of customers or regulated sizes of certain markets. Virtual design features with well-
deﬁned associations with the parametric mannequins are enablers. To achieve an intelligent mass
customization approach, the development of surface patches from 3D clothing designs to 2D ﬂattened
patterns become essential. This article addresses the deﬁnition, development and application of garment
features with an associative feature approach.
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