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New Standard Sizes for Maternity Apparel

Women’s clothing sizes vary greatly among designers. Clothing lines present consumers with vastly differing fits; for example, size 12 clothing is roomy in Alfred Dunner® and svelte in Anne Klein®.

Reporters writing about the issue often call ASTM International for standard body measurements. Despite the availability of ASTM sizing standards—such as ASTM D 5585, Standard Table of Body Measurements for Adult Female Misses Figure Type, Sizes 2–20—designers size clothes according to the preferred size-models of individual clothing lines.

Expectant mothers buying maternity clothing have difficult sizing needs as body dimensions constantly change during pregnancy. Seeking to establish uniform maternity sizes for designers, major U.S. clothing retailers shared their findings on body measurements with representatives of manufacturers, government, academia, and ASTM International. Working under ASTM Subcommittee D13.55 on Body Measurement for Apparel Sizing, the group developed the ASTM Standard Table of Body Measurements for Misses Maternity Sizes Two to Twenty-Two (2-22), now in its final stages of review at ASTM.

The group reached consensus on where, and how much, the body expands during pregnancy and applied this to the new standard, says chairman Debra Klensch, an Air Force clothing designer. They based the standard on the maternity sizing -charts of several companies, the Air Force and Navy, and the ASTM misses’ body measurement standard D 5585.

Generally accepted standard sizes do not exist for maternity clothing, says Klensch, who has run fit and wear tests for the Air Force for more than 15 years: “The standard tables have been developed to ease the consumer’s and retailer’s confusion over sizing, particularly with the growth of Internet shopping at both the retail level and for the uniform services.” Major apparel manufacturers with large catalog sales, whose “fit consistency is crucial to successful sales,” provided valuable input during the standard’s development.

“There is also another body measurement table being developed by a D13.55 task group called a Women’s Plus Size Body Measurement Standard,” she concludes. “A manufacturer wishing to make women’s plus size maternity garments could easily utilize the measurement table changes from the misses to the maternity standard.” 

ASTM Committee D13 on Textiles was voting on the proposed maternity standard at press time. The subcommittee welcomes additional input from industry, universities, and other international stakeholders involved in textiles and design.

Contact Debra Klensch, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for further technical information (phone: 937/255-4919). Committee D13 on Textiles meets March 21-24, 2004, in Salt Lake City, Utah. For membership or meeting details, contact Leonard Morrissey, manager, Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9719). //

Copyright 2003, ASTM