Perspectives of Anthropometry in Garment Pattern Making

Last Updated on 28/12/2020

Perspectives of Anthropometry in Garment Pattern Making

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


The skeletal structure:
The student of garment and fashion industry should posses a good working knowledge of the parts of the body, the various types of figures, physical properties, the effects of movement, and the relation of various fitting and draped garments of the body. Proper knowledge on anthropometry is very essential in garment pattern making. In this article I will disccus on anthropometry in pattern making.

“…… is evidently absurd to attempt to cover correctly even a simple form, as a cube, without a knowledge of it: and how much more absurd to attempt to dress or drape the human form correctly and tastefully without such knowledge “(Wampen, Anthropometry, 3, 9-10).

The parts of the body:

  1. The bone structure (skeletal structure)
  2. The muscle structure

The form of the body is determined by 1. The bony skeleton and 2. The overlying muscular system. The general configuration of the body is mainly determined by the bone – structure which supports the body vertically and gives rigidity to the trunk and limbs.

In certain parts the bone structure lies deep under the surface beneath a mass of muscular tissue – e.g., the seat, where the massive gluteal muscles gives to the part a shape different from that of the underlying bone structure.

In other parts the skeleton lies near to the surface and is merely overlaid by a thin layer of muscle.

The shoulder (made up of the blades is rear, the upper ribs in front, and the collar bone) has its form mainly determined by these bones.

Human body parts for pattern making
Fig: Human body parts for pattern making

The muscles give the rounded and agreeable form to the human figures, but they only give a finish to that form which the bones have originated.

Taking the figure as a whole when covered with muscles, the rough outline is similar to that of the skeleton though in detail, “the corresponding parts are some what different”.

The form of the body, then is determined by the bony skeleton and the muscles attached to it. These are subjects to a number of influences which determine the attitude of the body, and which will be noted in their order.

The body may be divided under the following headings:

  • Head
  • Arms
  • Trunk
  • Legs

When dealing with physical proportion it will be necessary to say something of the head:
Head part is the primary important to assess the total height of the human body in connection with its Eight Head Theory. If the heaf height is 8” and the proportioned body height is to be calculated as 8*8 = 64” or the total height of a person from the top or the bottom portion. This is known as ‘Eight Head Theory’.


  1. Head top to chin
  2. Chin to mid chest
  3. Mid chest to navel
  4. Navel to hip
  5. Hip to mid thigh
  6. Thigh to knee
  7. Knee to calf
  8. Calf to toe (or) bottom legs.

The spine, which supports the trunk, consists of small bones (vertebrae) which are so combined with each other that the whole spinal column is flexible.

In the normal it describes a slight outward curve downwards from the nape, then inwards to the waist, and again slightly outwards below the waist.

The parts of the spine connecting the trunk and the head contains seven vertebrae; the seventh, lowest and most prominent of these is the bone known as the nape of the neck, an important starting on it in garment pattern – drawing.

The second arts, the dorsal vertebrae, are twelve in number, and lie between the nape to waist.

The third, and the lowest part, the lumbar vertebrae, five in number, connects with the large bone structure or the loins, the pelvis.

The vertebrae are largest in size in the lumbar region, less in the dorsal and smaller in the cervical.

The spinal support of the trunk and head, then, is certainly situated in the back, very near to the surface of the body.

The bone structure or the chest (thorax) comprises the ribs, which are joined to the spine t the back.

The upper ribs are joined in front to the breast bone (sternum). The vital organs of the chest are protected by this bony cage or ribs.

In the back of the chest are the shoulder blades (scapulae), the shape and position of which should be especially noted.

Between the blades, in the centre of the back, determined by the blades and the middle hollow, is of particular interest, in view of the problems of garment fitting involved here. Its form, at rest and in movement, is of vital importance.

The end of the shoulder (the acromion of the blade), where the ball joint connects the upper arm with the blade and the collar bone, lies very near the surface of the body (as do all the larger joints) and thus directly influences the form.

The armpit (axilla) has no bone to locate its position. In view of their importance in the drawing of a pattern, the position of the following parts of the body should be specially fixed in the mind:

  • The nape (seventh cervical vertebrae) ,
  • The fonticulus (sternal notch) ,
  • The shoulder blades (scapulae) ,
  • The acromion or the blade (shoulder end) ,
  • The armpit (axilla) ,
  • The ilial points (crown of the pelvis) ,
  • The knee-cap (patella).

Types of development:
The muscles, as the final determinant of shape or form, should be carefully studied from this point of view, over – or under development of any, or all, or the muscles will have a very decisive effect on physical shape.

The following muscles are so intimately connected with the correct fitting of garment, that their position, and possible development, should be especially noted :-

  • The trapezius (the neck),
  • The deltoids (arm and shoulder),
  • The greater pectoral (chest) ,
  • The latissimus dorsi (the lower blade),
  • The gluteal group (the seat),
  • The vastus extermus (the outer thigh),
  • The gastrocnemius (the calf).

It is a well-known factor that through motion and exertion, physical as well as mental powers are developed; and therefore it may truly be inferred that exercise has an especial influence over the muscles, the effect of which is to strengthen them, and in undergoing such a change they also became larger. The reverse of this is likewise equally true.

Where there is neither motion nor exertion there is no development , and as a natural consequence neither increase nor strength to be expected, but that rather the muscles may become diminished and weakened.

Some muscles on the human body become developed at the same time that others remain undeveloped. This occurs in cases where the occupation or the person in such onto occasion too great relocation in these muscles, while the others are in much action and exertion.

The muscles partly fix the form or the human figure; and further, as an irregular or unequal development of them is detrimental and even destructive to its normal form, it follows that may partly conclude from the occupation of the person his especial form of figure.

1.Army menStrong – built up , erect figure.
2.Police menStrong – built up , erect figure .
3.Business menStocky build , corporal figure.
4.Clerical menNormal body structure , stooping figure.
5.Agriculture field menStrong body structure active to do physical work.
6.Police womenStrong , active physically good appearance.
7.Domestic womenLean structure (or) heavy structure (or) stocky build body structure depends on their work habit.
8.Clerical womenShort and stont , stooping structure due to their work habit of sitting a longer time in one place.
9.Athletic womenStrong , good physical appearance, active in nature.
10.Old aged men/womenStooping structure. Appear with old look less activeness due to retired like.

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