Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Analyzing the Results

On April 16, 2013, the students met to discuss the results of their product testing sessions. For the past week, the students and faculty worked with volunteers who filled out a survey and were then body scanned both with and without the product. In examining the difference between wearing and not wearing the product, a slight improvement in shoulder slouch was revealed. The class tried to determine the significance in these changes in points of measure with and without the product, but the low sample number made this difficult. As such, they could not identify any major trends in the data. The class also determined potential variables affecting the results including worn undergarments and breathing in versus breathing out at the time of the scan.

In the second half of the session, the class worked on creating product styles in Lectra's PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software. In their final tech pack, students will include product description and objectives, colors, sizes, size specifications with graded measurements, construction specifications, and bill of materials for fabrics and trims. They also added new fabrics to the database that were used in their products.

Next week, the students will be participating in Fashion Week. They will be exhibiting a poster describing the project and their products at the dessert reception on Monday.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Making Progress


The first week in April, the students began recruiting people to test their products. They also prepared for the testing, which starts next week, by reviewing the IRB rules and how to use the body scanner. The groups even developed materials for their product test subjects, such as a video on how to take your own measurements. 
Throughout the week, the students continued creating and improving prototypes in preparation for the testing. 

With the help of Dr. Istook, the students even went down in the pilot lab and dyed the material for the straps black.

This week, the students will begin to gather their data on their prototypes, taking shifts to meet with the participants. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Prototypes Round Two

On Tuesday, March 26, the students presented their second round of prototypes to faculty members. They took the feedback from the first prototypes and improved the garments in preparation for testing on subjects.

As stated earlier, one group was creating a men's posture brace that focused on rehabilitation and improving posture. The previous prototype featured an athletic polyester / spandex blend mesh, an elastic and silicone band, and velcro closure. With their second prototype, the students widened the inner straps, moved the connection point down, and made the outer straps more adjustable. Moving forward, they still need to find a way to keep the loose ends from flapping.
Front of the second prototype for men

Back of the second prototype for men

The other group was creating a women's posture bra that helps with back and neck pain while also being aesthetically pleasing and fashionable (without losing the function). Their original creation was a sporty bra with a deep V-neck neckline, peek-a-boo shoulder, wide elastic band, and fitted breast cups. With their second prototype, the students changed the base fabric, added a lace overlay for aesthetics and to look more like an undergarment, made the elastic banding narrower, and put in a black elastic band to conform to the overall color scheme.
Front of the second prototype for women

Back of the second prototype for women

Next week, the students will begin recruiting volunteers to test their products and hold body scanning sessions for those chosen to participate.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Body Scanning Session

On Thursday, March 14, the students met in the apparel lab to work with the body scanner, a machine which provides non-contact points of measure, and to talk about the upcoming live fit model sessions. First, the class discussed which measurements they would like for the body scanner to extract and how they will use those measurements. They also tried to determine whether the body scanner can be used to determine if the subjects’ posture was improved by wearing the posture garment. Throughout the discussion, the class kept in mind the protocol outlined in the IRB. 

Next the students had the opportunity to work with the body scanner and learn how to use it. They looked at different possible measurements from the body scanner and determined which would be most useful / valuable. They chose from upper-body measurements for the neck, collar, chin, shoulder, arms, chest, and bust. The students also had to determine how to ensure that the measurements are correct (such as with the waist location, as it is not always at the narrowest part of the body).

Lastly, one of the students volunteered to jump into the body scanner and get scanned both wearing and not wearing the product prototype. One problem that was identified was with garments that had black on them, as the machine extracted these areas from the final image. The result was an avatar with long legs and arms and a short torso.  They also worked out kinks with some of the measurements.

Next week, the students will present their second prototypes based on student and faculty suggestions.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Prototype Presentations

On Thursday, February 28, the students presented their first prototypes to faculty members and demonstrated their understanding of the interplay between the anatomy of the body and the garments.

First, Lauren presented her men's posture brace, assisted by her fit model. Her team's goal at the beginning of the semester was to create a product that focused more on rehabilitation (as opposed to the women's everyday bra) and improved posture. They made several changes to the original product including changing the fabric to a more athletic mesh, removing the channel / casing waistband to remove bulk, creating a wider outer cap sleeve, using elastic with silicone, increasing the length of the straps, and making it more manly. Their final prototype used a polyester / spandex blend for the main body part, 100% polyester side pieces, elastic with a silicone strip, and a velcro closure. Throughout the development process, the students realized the complexity and extensive time involved in prototyping. They also learned how important it was to work with the direction of the stretch in the fabrics in order to optimize key areas of the product.  Moving forward, the students would like to change the strap length to accomodate the small/medium/large size runs, use velcro as a way to adjust strap length, change the order of operations to be more productive, and make the straps wider (one inch rather than spaghetti straps). They would also like to accomodate a 10-inch height variable between sizes in order to account for varying torso lengths. The fit model also provided some insight (though the product was too small for him). He would like the product to keep the v-neck (rather than the scoop neck) and to be longer (reaching below his ribs). He also really liked the material.

Secondly, Curry, Morgan, and Laura presented their prototype for the women's posture bra. Their team's goal at the beginning of the semester was to create a bra that helps women with back and neck pain but is more aesthetically pleasing and fashionable without losing function. It was intended to be more preventive ("an everyday bra") than rehabilitative. Such a product would be more marketable, as it would appeal to a wider range of females. They made several changes to the original product including making a deep V-neck neckline, putting the straps closer together for more of a peek-a-boo shoulder, and making the breast cups more fitted. They also used fabric for the side panels that had less stretch than the front and back panels and a wide elastic band across the bottom (to fit closely to the body). The result was a sporty look that looks like a crop top and would definitely appeal to the athletic market. As they continue through the semester, the students plan to make a product that looks more like an undergarment (such as with lace overlays). They would also like to experiment with more structured cups (to make the chest look normal under everyday clothing). They will also need to work with grading in order to accomodate how body proportion affects garment fit. The class ended with a discussion on aesthetic and functional improvements; students and faculty debated the virtues of using silicone on the elastic, a thinner elastic band, a deeper V-neck, and a smaller front piece. Going forward, the students will need to work with more body types / proportions to test fit.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


On February 21, the students worked on their prototypes in the apparel lab. The group creating the men's brace discussed alternative closure methods to the zipper. The group creating the women's product explored alternative necklines that are more feminine (such as a sweetheart). Students also considered their potential fit models in creating their products.

The class also prepared for the presentation of their prototypes to faculty and industry next Thursday. The presentations will include an overview of the search for materials, fabric choices, stich types, testing methods, product goals, and how the students assessed fit and needs. They will also discuss how they plan to  move forward with the product development project after spring break.

The school also just received a new machine that does lapped seams from the 600 stitch class, which the students will be able to utilize in creating their products.

Also, the school received materials donations from Hornewood Inc., Asheboro Elastic, and Cotton Inc., which the students greatly appreciate and will be utilizing in their products.

Testing Round Two

On February 20, the students met with Dr. Michielson to conduct round two of testing (sans machine error this time). Several cotton and polyester / spandex blends were tested.

Reading the graphs produced by the histeresis mahcine helped the students to clearly identify which fabrics to incorporate into their products, based on the elastic recovery. Again, certain parts of the product necessitate specific types of stretch, which the class has identified and will accomodate. In the next session, the students will discuss their fabric choices and make final decisions as they prepare to ebgin the construction of their prototypes.