Pattern Drafting and Free-Hand Cutting Skills Acquisition by Informal Dressmakers and Tailors and Their Apprentices in Koforidua, Ghana
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Apparel can be made using various methods and processes. Among these methods are pattern drafting and free-hand cutting. The method used could determine the appearance, and how well apparel fits on a figure. Clients now demand better products as they have difficulties with the fit of apparel made by their informal dressmakers and tailors. The level of dissatisfaction with the fit and modification of apparel by clients of informal dressmakers, tailors and apprentices has increased. The purpose of the study sought to examine the fit and style modification of apparel using pattern drafting and free-hand cutting among Ghana‟s Informal Dressmakers and Tailors Association (GIDTA) in Koforidua. The study sought to test the hypothesis that there was no significant relationship between dressmakers and tailors‟ demographic characteristics and method used in apparel construction. A cross-sectional survey design was employed. The study was carried out in the New Juaben Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The total target population for the study was 843 informal dressmakers, tailors, apprentices and clients. Stratified simple random sampling was used to select 281 participants. Instruments for the study included questionnaires, interview schedules, an observation checklist, photography, audio recording and video recording. Thematic analysis was done on the qualitative analysis while quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi-Square using SPSS. The study found that apart from gender all other demographic characteristics influenced the methods of apparel construction and consequently the apparel fit and style modification. Additionally, it was established that there was significant relationship between age, level of education, type of training and years of experience influenced the method of apparel construction. Hence, the study rejected the null hypothesis which stated that there was no significant relationship between dressmakers and tailors‟ demographic characteristics and method used in apparel construction. A practical aspect of this research involving making apparel by the two methods revealed that apparel by pattern drafting had better fit and generally more accepted by assessors compared to free-hand cutting. This was supported by Pearson‟s Chi-square results which revealed significant relationship between demographic characteristics and choice of method used apart from gender which results were insignificant (X2 = 13.78, p > 0.05). Further, it was determined that between free-hand cutting and pattern drafting methods of apparel construction, the latter was better but less used technique. The study recommended that the association of informal dressmakers and tailors should conduct periodic training to encourage the use of pattern drafting in apparel construction. Additionally, the IDTA should include pattern drafting methods in training of apprentices. Also, the study recommended that, policy makers should inculcate teaching pattern drafting in the school curricula at the basic level. Additionally, training manual was developed out of the findings to boost the skills of the informal dressmakers and tailors in Ghana. The study noted that future study be carried out to compare the formal and informal training and their influence on apparel outcome in Ghana.