Introduction to the Theory.
Children's Body Proportions (Girls).
This is Tatiana Kozorovitsky and I am happy to welcome you to this book dedicated to sewing beautiful dresses for girls.
The book has the following structure: I will first introduce my four young clients to you and then explain the key peculiarities of children's body proportions and how they affect the design of children's wear. And afterwards, we will start working with certain dress models.
Let us begin! Please meet the little ladies for whom I made these lovely dresses.
Sophia-Liellele, 3.5 years old, height 100cm:
Sonja, 6 years old, height 115cm:
Vicky, 9 years old, height 130cm:
Noa, 11 years old, height 150cm:
As you can see, each girl represents a different age group. And each age group is known for typical body proportions.
The purpose of this book is not only to show you how to draft patterns and sew particular garments for girls but also to teach you to understand children's body proportions and work with them correctly. Good sewing skills are not enough – the garment must look harmonious on the child.
I totally understand most parents’ desire to dress up their children from young age. Many mums today love it when their little daughters wear exact copies of their own dresses.
Children's body proportions, however, possess typical features specific to each separate age group which must be taken into account in the drafting and sewing process. A copy of a grown-up woman's dress may look unnatural on a little girl.
Age-specific peculiarities of a child's build are the key factors in determining correct proportions in children's wear.
Some standard age groups are:
- Infants (aged 1 and under);
- Toddlers like Sophia-Lielle (aged 1-3);
- Preschoolers like Sonja (aged 3-6);
- Primary scholars like Vicky (aged 6-11);
- Secondary scholars like Noa(aged 11-14.5);
- Adolescents (aged 14.5-18 years).
In order to determine a child’s body proportions, you need to know how many times his/her head fits into his/her total height.
Few people notice that a child’s head stays almost the same whereas the body undergoes noticeable changes in the growing-up process.
The head-to-height ratio is what makes children’s body proportions different in different age groups.
Let us take a closer look at each age group we are going to deal with in this book.
Children go through a stage of active growth at ages 1-3. Their typical head-to-height ratio is 1:4 or 1:4.5. A basic choice for a girl is a trapeze dress flared from the underarm, with or without yoke.
A dress of this shape hides the protruding belly and a yoke can make the body look more proportionate.
The stage of active growth continues. By the time a girl turns four, she becomes slenderer, her legs are longer, her chest flatter and broader, and her belly does not protrude as much as before. The head-to-height ratio changes to about 1:5 or 1:5.5. The best choice is a trapeze dress slightly or noticeably flared from the waist. The desired effect is achieved by either raising or lowering the waistline with the help of decorative elements or by dividing the dress in two parts: a bodice and a skirt.
At this age, the child's body proportions get more balanced out because the growth process slows down. The body looks slenderer because the legs grow longer. The belly hardly protrudes and the waist becomes more pronounced. The head-to-height ratio is 1:6 or 1:6.5 by the time the child turns 10.
The best choice for a girl of this age group is a straight dress or a dress flared from the waist. I would also recommend slightly raising the waistline (not too much though).
The child's body continues to change and enters another stage of rapid growth. A typical head-to-height ratio for 11-12 year olds is 1:7 or 1:7.5. Girls begin to develop breasts, their hips and calves widen, their waist becomes more pronounced. The typical features of a girl's developing body allow us to place the focal point of the composition at the top of the garment where you can achieve the desired amount of volume by adding yokes or ruffles. The waist can also serve as the focal point when accentuated with a belt or a skirt flared from the waistline. The waistline may be slightly lowered in this case.
Although this age group is not represented in this book, I still want to say a couple of words about it. The body acquires its proper shape at this age. Girls' breasts develop very fast and their hips widen. The head-to-height ratio is 1:7.5 or 1:8. Arms and legs are still thinner and the body shorter than an adult's though. A properly developed body allows you to work with all kinds of styles and patterns. The Corset Academy is currently working on a separate book dedicated to a dress for a 14 year old girl.