Innovation & Technology of Women’s Intimate Apparel

Carol P was intrigued by the book I’d mentioned, Innovation and Technology of Women’s Intimate Apparel so she requested it via interlibrary loan to see if it was worth the $208.95 price tag (there’s one used copy for $136.52). At list price of $219.95 and a page count of 239, it costs 92 cents a page. And these are little pages, 9″X6″ with .75″ margins (minimally). She still wasn’t sure so she sent it to me. I like. I like a lot but the price is steep. It has a lot of pictures and graphs that I like but some of the math is beyond me (there’s engineering stuff in here too). The summary of my recommendation is, if you’re loaded, buy it -and kindly use the link I provided; I’ll get a commission of about $10. If you’re serious about manufacturing bras and support garments, it’s a useful reference. If you’re not certain, I scanned the table of contents and the index (pdf). If you’re just making soft cup, light support wear, athletic apparel for women or daywear, I think it’d be overkill. If you’re a professional in foundations, I’d think you’d need to have it. Still, the price is steep. And people think my book is expensive?

Here are some features that caught my eye. First of course, an analysis of Vitruvian Man, charted:


I’m not exactly sure what measures these constitute but it drew my interest specifically because I’ve never seen these taken before. I didn’t have time to do a full blown analysis before putting this up.

The two photos below I just had to show you. I have drawn these measuring cages repeatedly, over the past 10 years or so. Never built one but I’m glad to know I’m not totally nuts for having thought of it. Basically, the framework provides fixed points from which -with calipers- one can determine depth. I’d always thought this would be the most accurate measures, I’ve never like tape on body. I guess you could describe this measuring cage as a manual body scanner.

The cage below is a laser set-up, built by the book’s authors. Clever.

The very last picture…I don’t know how to describe but I like it very much and want to look at it a lot. The text describes this as a “planar development”. There are so many holes in my education, I don’t know what that is but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a picture of what I see in my head, how I break down areas of suppression and expansion of bodies or even objects for that matter. Objects make shapes for me in my head, pictures like this but not necessarily little boxes, other configurations too. I showed it to Eric and asked him if bodies or objects made pictures like this for him and he looked at me like I was out of my tree.

I have no problem flattening out all of the areas, joining the commensurate edges to form the three dimensional shape. Shapes just make themselves for me, I don’t have to do anything. I had a very hard time understanding that “normal” people couldn’t do this. I still think it’s strange. I just thought I’d show you an illustration of how I see shapes. These are like toys for me, I could play with these all day. No mystery why I’m a pattern maker I guess.

In summary, this is a professional level text. There’s some math and engineering in it. Even if you don’t get that part, it’d be a reference if you’re into making foundations. Review the index and the table of contents to make a decision. If it matters to you, I will be buying a copy at some point. When I feel I can splurge for whatever reason.

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7 comments

  1. trish says:

    I love the photos of the 2D body mapping… I do see like this as well.

    The thing I love most about the pic of the body is how the “dart excess” areas are different on the two sides of the body. Thus, showing, one size does not fit all… not even one size fits one, LOL!!

  2. Debra says:

    In my younger years when I worked as a marker maker (by hand) for a company called Glamorise Foundations, Inc. in Pa. our New York designer told me that drafting bra patterns could be like drafting a suspension bridge.
    smaller scale of course, but complicated, foundations are a whole other animal.

  3. Catherine McQ says:

    Perhaps you visualize things as what are called wire frame (or wireframe) models. Burda pattern magazines have a wireframe model of a female figure on the page discussing how to take measurements. That type of illustration really helps me visualize how a flat pattern can fit a 3-dimensional figure.

  4. Shirley says:

    In mathematics a plane is a two-dimensional object. So “planar development” just means converting (developing) the three dimensions of a real body into a two-dimensional pattern from that body.

  5. Megan says:

    Wow…it’s amazing how we all see things differently. I just wish someone would make clothing for my body shape. lol I swear I’m shaped weird….abnormally. But I’m sure I’m not alone. But Trish…you’re totally right. A size 12 is not a size 12 for everyone based on body shape. It’s frustrating!

  6. Mindy says:

    This is interesting. I am in need of what points of measure are need to make a technical specification for a bra cup. Do you know if the book has that? All I can find are how to pattern or how to fit bras.

  7. Lee says:

    I am looking for a book that would be useful for a technical designer of intimate apparel. Mainly, something that would give me points of measure to make a spec for a bra (grading, etc.).

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