- 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"
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,
Because of apparent individual differences, each dress was
successful for a given time, for a certain person, for a particular