Pattern Grading Approaches – Assessment of Grade Rules and Fit as Applied to Merchandise
Over the past decades, as the population has changed in sizing, company fit structures have changed to accompany this growth. Company grades rule charts have shifted to generally accommodate a population that is growing larger, both bigger and taller (Smith & Norris, 2004). In addition to this fit shift, there is continued discussion over the use of vanity sizing strategies of contemporary apparel manufacturers. Whether companies are exercising accurate conveyance of anthropometric population growth, or vanity sizing, these changes filter down through the design and production processes of a company. Hence, while teaching grading in fashion design and production classes, a clear understanding of the meaning of grade rules is critical to success in the fitting functions of pattern-making. For production managers, application of accurate grade rules translates to sales in the extended size ranges, thus impacting the bottom line of a company. The purpose of the study was to include students in the active learning process to 1) gain greater appreciation for the translation of grade rules to apparel in various size categories, 2) compare and contrast grade rule use by various companies, and 3) evaluate similarities or differences between companies and grading strategies.