The client for this design situation is a young
man in his early forties who is small in
stature and of light build. He dreams about
climbing mountains, bush walking and other
vigourous outdoor activities but due to
health constraints he instead enjoys regular
walks to exercise, aid digestion and pray. He
is practical person who is prepared to buy
quality products that work well and last but
he would purchase them when they are on
special as he likes to get value for money. He
dresses neatly yet conservatively with much
of his clothing purchased from the
opportunity shop. He often has difficulty
buying clothing because of his body shape
and would prefer to dress in natural fabrics
rather than synthetics.
For anyone who walks in the rain it is easy to throw on a coat over what you are wearing and
venture out. The problem arises when the water accumulates on the front of the coat and runs
down and saturates the front of your legs. What is required are some waterproof
pants/leggings/gaiters that are compact, light, quick, easy and safe to put on.
There are a wide variety of people who could use this product for recreational purposes but I am
concentrating on the leisure/fitness/pet walkers who want to exercise even if it is raining. The
product would be used seasonally when it rains and would market between 50 and 150 dollars.
- It needs to be waterproof
- Durable and hard wearing
- It is the correct size
- Keeps legs dry
- Can be easily and quickly put on and taken off
- Cost under $150
- The types of material that area available. Taking into account weight, flexibility, waterproofness,
durability, cost and colours.
- How to hold the product up using elastic, a belt, clips or draw string.
- How to make them quick, easy and safe to put on and take off using zips or clips.
- The products style, shape and colour.
- The product does not restrict movement and is comfortable to wear.
- That the design keep as much water off the feet as possible.
The quality of the product will be evident by;
- Seams that will be sown neatly, straight and uniformly.
- No extra puncture marks in the fabric.
- Waterproof tape that is consistently and evenly attached over the seams.
- The use of quality zips, buckles, straps and snap buttons.
Investigate Different Aspects:
Styles and design
Tools and processes
To maintain the fabrics waterproofness and breathability the garment needs to be properly
maintained. As over time the fabrics ability to enable water to bead up and roll off is diminished.
When the ultra thin treatment that changes the fabrics surface tension the Durable Water Repellency
(DWR) is gone it allows water to be absorbed through the fabric. And although there is a layer of
material protecting the breathable membrane its breathability can be reduced by the accumulation of
dirt or body oils. Therefore regular maintenance is required to maintain its performance.
The maintenance involves washing the garment in warm water using a pure soap or a specific soap made
for breathable waterproof fabrics that will also help restore the garments DWR. Or another way to restore
the garments DWR is by applying heat. This can be done by placing the garment in the dryer on a warm
setting or by ironing on the lowest steam setting. If due to the age of the garment the DWR is not restored
then a spray on DWR treatment can be used.
These waterproof breathable fabrics are very specialised and only used in only a small range of garments
for outdoor recreation. None of the garments is manufactured in Australia making it difficult to source the
fabric. A company who repairs outdoor recreation garments, ‘Remote Equipment Repairs’ has a few
sources to purchase fabric but was only willing to give me one suppliers contact details. It appears form the
samples that ‘Recreational Fabrics’ supplied that they have a limited range that may be several years old as
it does not include the more recent fabrics now available on the market.
Design and Styles
The pants vary in;
Cut - Tapered or straight legs.
Construction - One piece elastic waste, draw cord, buckle or zip and button, waterproof zip or
Features - Pockets, half, three quarter or full side leg zips, reflective tape, adjustable ankle tabs,
snow gaiters, thigh venting, stretch knee panels, reinforced ankle and seat areas, articulated
knee, zipped fly.
Colour - Mainly grey or black, some navy blue and brown.
Style - Depends on application. Generally a looser cut for bush walking and a tighter cut for
climbing or skiing.
Pants - Mont Pants-Swift Chaps Gaiters
Hydronaut Pro Gore-Tex Oil Cloth Gore-Tex
Tools and Processes
The most important process other than ensuring the quality and fit of the of the
garment is to make sure that it is waterproof to keep the wearer dry. Care must be
taken in the manufacturing process not to make any unnecessarily holes in the fabric
that would allow water through. All stitching seams need to be waterproofed after
manufacturing. There are two methods to achieve this. The first is by using a
polyurethane sealer that is applied over the seam and cures over several days. This
sealer can also be thinned down using a solvent and then pressured into the thread
and holes. Or alcohol can be applied to the seam and then the sealer which also
makes it more workable. The second method is using a seam sealing tape. It is
placed over the seam and then heat and pressure is used to melt the glue to adhere
to the fabric . This can be done using a machine to ensure even temperature and
pressure or done using a household iron and a little practice.
The types of zips used are also a factor to consider. Again there seems to be two
alternatives. The first is using a regular zip and covering it with a flap that is held in
place by velcro or snap buttons to make it waterproof. Or by using a waterproof zip
(that does not need a flap to cover it) but which is not as flexible as a regular zip. The
snap buttons can be fastened using a specific machine or a hammer, block of wood
and a little practice. A normal domestic sewing machine can be used to sew the
Waterproofness is measured through a hydrostatic head pressure test. Placing a tube over the fabric
or seam then filling it with water until it leaks. The measurement before it leaks is its maximum
hydrostatic head. A hydrostatic head rating of 1000mm is equivalent to rain in 56kmph winds. This is
the minimum requirement in the United Kingdom for a fabric to be called waterproof.
Waterproof fabrics use different methods to make them waterproof. For example the Gore-Tex fabric
uses a microporous membrane with each hole being 20 000 smaller that a drop of water, yet allows
water vapour to pass through. Another fabric Sympatex use a closed hydrophilic membrane that
contains no holes but stiill draws water away from the body through physiochemical process.
Water vapor passing through the fabric from the Hydrostatic head pressure test with a water
inside of the garment while water droplets are filled tube placed over the seam.
repelled on the outside.
Ribs on legs
to run water
to run water
off Waterproof booty to cover foot
Flap held down by snap buttons straps to
Rib on hold up
bottom of leggings
Zips covered by flap to keep
coat to run
Develop Working Drawings:
Design Option 1
Full length leg zip
with snap button
fastened cover flap
No inside leg
Curved cuffs to run
water away from
Assess Each Option:
The client had difficulty coming to a decision as he could see the advantages and disadvantages with
all the options. He observed that option 1 had less material, bulk, heat and more freedom around the
groin but he was not sure how the straps would work, how they would feel and ride when walking.
Option 2 did not have those problems but both the designs having no seat or front could only be used in
a limited and specific range of activities. He would not take them bush walking or skiing for example
because you could not safely sit down or fall over without the risk of getting wet. The main difference
between options 3 and 4 is the length of the zips down the legs.
The other people who looked over the different design options had some rather well formed views of
what they would like in a pair of breathable water proof pants. Firstly they did not like zips and the idea
of having to connect the zip together and then zip down the full length of the leg was not appealing at
all. It was enough just to have a zip from the knee down. For them it was simpler to have pull on pants
rather than get tangled in zips and getting frustrated in trying to do them up. They also would prefer an
elastic waist band with a draw string as they thought it would be more comfortable than a buckle and
adjustable straps. They were not concerned about the bulk around the groin area with and options 3
and 4 but they did have reservations about option 1 with the straps and how they would feel walking
and sitting. They agreed that option 3 and 4 would be more multi purpose and versatile because they
had a seat in them. You could use them in the snow for instance.
The preferred design is option number 1 as it fulfils all the specifications and achieved the highest
score using the Criteria Grid. The reasons for its choice are listed below:
The design eliminated the need for an inside leg seam thus reducing the potential for leaks.
The simplicity of the design means that it is quick and easy to put on and take off. All that it
required is to click the adjustable waist buckle on, join and zip down each leg, cover the zip with
the flap and fasten the snap buttons. To take it off just reverse the process. This can be done with
two feet on the ground. Which eliminates the need to try and balance yourself against a wall as you
try and pull off your wet pants over your shoes (option 3).
The materials used; the fabric, buckles, snap buttons, strap, waterproof tape and zips are of the
same quality of those used in the garments of the leading brands on the market. All that is
required now is to ensure that the workmanship is of the same standard.
With the design finishing at the top of the legs it eliminates the doubling up of material around the
groin and therefore doesn’t restrict movement or generate excess heat. In design options 3 and 4
the wearer would add three layers of fabric over their groin; their trousers, coat and waterproof
The cuffs at the bottom ot the garment are curved over the foot to run the water coming down the
leg away from the feet in an attempt to keep them as dry as possible.
I was originally thinking of using a 2 ply breathable waterproof fabric because it is more pliable
and compact, lighter and drapes better than the 3 ply fabric but I would have had to attach a
backing to it to protect the breathable membrane. Instead I settled for the 3 ply breathable
waterproof fabric which comes with a protective layer already attached.
Detailed Working Drawing: