On the logic of pattern cutting : foundational cuts and approximations of the body

Abstract: Fashion designers are presented with a range of different principles for pattern cutting and the interest in this area has grown rapidly over the past few years, both due to the publication of a number of works dealing with the subject in different ways and the fact that a growing number of designers emphasise cutting in their practices. Although a range of principles and concepts for pattern cutting are presented from different perspectives, the main body of these systems, traditional as well as contemporary, are predominately based on a quantified approximation of the body. As a consequence, the connection of existing models for pattern construction to the dynamic expression of the body or the biomechanic function of the body is problematic. This work explores and proposes an alternative model for pattern cutting that, unlike the existing models, takes as its point of origin the actual, variable body. As such, the research conducted here is basic research, aiming to identify fundamental principles in order to create alternative expression and functions. Instead of a static matrix of a non-moving body, the proposed model for cutting garments is based on a qualitative approximation of the body, visualised through balance lines and key biomechanic points. Based on some key principles found in the works by Geneviève Sevin-Doering, the proposed model for cutting is developed through concrete experiments by cutting and draping fabrics on live models. The result of a proposed model is an alternative principle for dressmaking that challenges the fundamental relationship between dress, pattern making and the body, opening up for new expressions in dress and functional possibilities for wearing.