Maternity Dress Designs with Selected Expandable Features
The purpose of this study was to develop some comfortable, expandable maternity garments which were suitable for both home and street wear. These designs were intended to follow the art principles of good design, namely: balance, rhythm, proportion, scale, and emphasis. The first phase in the exploration of maternity designs involved a questionnaire which was completed by 68 pregnant women who were patients at the Corvallis Clinic. The purpose of the questionnaire was to gain ideas for desired characteristics in current maternity garments. From the answers received it became evident that the most desirable aspect of a maternity garment was comfort; the preferred style was of one-piece construction. Four designs were developed and constructed in size 12 and size 14. Through the cooperation of a Corvallis, Oregon, obstetrician nine women in this size category were selected to test the dresses. All of these women were due to have a baby between mid-September and mid-October, 1967, and were between 5'5" and 5'7" in height. Each design was worn by each participant four days at two different time periods: between the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, and between the 7 1/2 and 8 1/2 months. At the end of each time period, the dresses were collected, laundered, and redistributed. To evaluate the tests, a questionnaire was given to the wearers at the end of each test period. Each ranked the dresses in order of preference for three specific properties: comfort, expandability, and style. At the end of the second test period, the author interviewed the wearers to evaluate the testing process. As a result of the tests and comments by the participants, some guidelines for maternity designs are suggested: - Set-in sleeves are preferred to cut-on sleeves. - A contrasting trim, or other definite emphasis near the face is desired. - The neckline and shoulder area should fit well, but not snugly. - Excessive fullness in the dress should have an adequate means for being controlled until needed. Both of the two preferred designs had a medium amount of fullness; neither needed adjustment by the wearer in order to expand. Individual size seemed to influence design preference, however. Because of apparent individual differences, each dress was successful for a given time, for a certain person, for a particular property.
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