Methods of evaluating the figure vary according to the situation and equipment available. Wear appropriate clothing during the evaluation; form fitting under wear, swimsuit, leotard, or shorts and T-shirt. Possible methods of evaluation include the following techniques, using an assistant when necessary.
1. Observe front, side, and back views of the figure in a full-length mirror. Compare the figure to the standard figure illustrated and discussed on the following pages (see Figure 3-1). List variations to be considered in the fitting procedure and in the selection of clothing styles.
2. Trace the front and side views of the full-length silhouette on paper. Compare the traced figure with the illustrated standard figure (see Figure 3-1). List variations to be considered in the fitting procedure and in the selection of clothing styles.
3. Photograph the front, back, and side views of the full-length figure; 5-by-7-inch prints are ideal. Evaluate the figure as illustrated and discussed on the following pages.
4. Pin a basic fitting pattern together and try it on the figure. Evaluate the fit.
5. Construct a basic fitting garment and try it on the figure. Evaluate the fit.
6. Measure the figure and compare personal measurements to standard measurements (see Section 8).
When using methods 1, 2, or 3, begin your visual observation of the figure at the head and move down the body. This allows the evaluation to proceed in a natural, continuous direction. The eye should not jump back and forth to various body areas, but should proceed smoothly down the figure. Observe front, back, and side views to detect all variations. When using methods 4, 5, or 6, begin your observations at the waist as discussed in detail in Section 8.
Determine the general body frame or bone structure first. Body frame can be small, medium, or large. Determine the weight range considered standard for the size of the body frame. Then evaluate the proportional relationship of each area, front and back, to the previous area and to the whole. Identify figure areas that may be larger or smaller than the average or ideal (body length, arm length, hip width, and so forth).
Observe body conformation next; you can determine the degree of angularity or curving of the silhouette by the amount and distribution of body weight. Identify specific variations that may influence overall garment appearance: angular hip bones, protruding abdomen, hollow chest, and so forth. If you observe a variation in one area, examine other areas of the figure for a corresponding or related variation (such as rounded upper back and resulting hollow chest).
Each figure is unique. Establish an accurate mental image of the figure and posture. This will alert you to the need for fitting and alteration procedures and will aid you in the selection of appropriate clothing styles.
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