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Title: The application of existing digitally-controlled flat-bed weft knitting to fashion knitwear for the individual body shape of women, particularly those above UK standard sizes
Author: Haffenden, Victoria
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2012
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The primary aim of this practice based research was to develop, for the first time, a new combination of knitting methods which created knitted garments for larger size women that uniquely did not rely on stretch to fit their body shape. Through working with real women, an innovative capsule collection of custom-fitted knitwear toiles incorporating 3D knitted shape was produced which positively demonstrated the originality, effectiveness and significance ofthe outcomes. This research therefore focused on developing knitwear with an improved fit for the individual body shapes of a cohort of women over a UK size 16. In 2004, publicly available information from SizeUK indicated that the average women's size in the UK was a size 16. However following a literature search, and in conjunction with primary data from this research, it became evident that women over a size 16 were experiencing dissatisfaction with clothing fit. This disjunction formed an early driver for the research idea and helped to form the research framework that spanned three main areas: clothing fit, larger female body shape and mass knitwear manufacture. The research has been necessarily set in the wider context of debates on larger women's self-image and their relationship with fashion. Interviews and an online survey provided primary data on clothing fit, clothing choices, shopping experience, body image, body cathexis and self perception in relation to clothing. A case study research method was developed that resolved ethical issues which arose when working with participants. Prior to knit sampling, a hierarchy of desirable technical and aesthetic knit qualities was established, and a design process comparable to that in industry adopted in order to place this research in a 'real' commercial context. The knitwear was developed from manually acquired measurements and 3D body scanned data, using specific measurement protocols developed by the research for measuring larger size. Objective and subjective evaluation of the knitwear employing wrinkle-analysis, fit and comfort tests informed a final design development process that ran parallel to commercial examples. Amongst the final outcomes of this research is a library of visual digital templates derived from the knit programming, which offers a transferable new resource for future industrial developments of this process. Their particular and unique value is to contribute information to the emerging field of mass-customisation of knitwear and larger sized clothing as recommended for EU development by the SERVIVE report of 2010. This research concluded, as a significant contribution to new knowledge in the field of larger sized fashion knitwear, that improving the fit of knitwear for larger women by removing the fit-by-stretch factor (a major style and psychological drawback for these consumers), enhanced wearing experience and enthused the wearer towards the garment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W000 Creative Arts and Design