Case Study as a means to Document and Promote Creative Pattern Cutting Processes

McKinney, Ellen
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Practical experiences of traditional and emerging processes in creative pattern cutting can be successfully documented and promoted through case study. Case study is a comprehensive research strategy for investigating an empirical topic by following a set of pre-specified procedures (Yin, 1994). The case study method is different from research methods such as experiments and surveys where statistical generalization is used to extend the results to a larger population. In the case study method, analytic generalization is used to generalize from the case study to theoretical propositions. This paper explores reasons and solutions for undocumented pattern cutting knowledge. Pattern cutters mentally store their experiences and processes used in cutting patterns; however, rarely is this information documented and shared. Reasons include complexity of the knowledge, difficulty in identifying and documenting specific interactions of measurement, shape, ease, fabric, and personal preference, and the fact that successful design methods are traditionally regarded as trade secrets or the genius of an individual. Case study offers a framework for identifying current practices and documenting the knowledge of the creative pattern cutter. Historically, the legal and medical professions have used case studies to document practice and learn core principles of the profession. Case study has the potential to be used effectively in research of creative pattern cutting practice.


Proceedings of the First International Symposium for Creative Pattern Cutting. February 6 - 7, 2013. Posted with permission.