Helen G. Canoyer Professor
T31 Human Ecology Building (HEB)
Ithaca, New York
Fiber Science & Apparel Design


Susan Ashdown joined the Cornell faculty in 1991 on completion of her Ph.D research in perception of apparel fit at the University of Minnesota. Previous to this she completed her MA degree at Cornell, where her research was in functional apparel design.  Overall the questions that inform her research and teaching focus on the interactions between apparel design and technology, and the changes that are occurring in the way that apparel is designed, produced, and distributed using new and developing technologies.

More specifically, her research and teaching are in the field of technical apparel design, with a concentration on sizing and fit of both fashion and functional apparel, and the use of full body three-dimensional scanning in the apparel industry. Issues in patternmaking, automated custom fit, judging apparel fit in research and industry settings, anthropometric measures, anthropometry of the active body, mass customization, interactions of materials and design, and functional apparel design are addressed in her research program. She is also investigating the use of half scale dress forms developed from body scans in academia and the apparel industry.

The focus of my work includes sizing and fit of apparel and the use of three-dimensional body scanning in the apparel industry, anthropometry and changes in surface measurements in active positions, the fit of clothing in active positions, the design, sizing, fit, and function of protective clothing, and the development and use of half scale dress forms in academia and in the industry. 

I am currently leading an initiative to conduct an anthropometric survey of firefighters at 10 sites across the US, and one European site, collecting active and anthropometric scans of the hand and foot, and full body scans of female firefighters

 Vuruskan, A & Ashdown, S. P. (2017). Modeling of half-scale human bodies in active body positions for apparel design and testing. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology. Volume 29, Issue 6, pp. 807-821

Ashdown, S. P. (2014). Creation of ready-made clothing: The development and future of sizing systems. In M.-E. Faust & S. Carrier, Designing apparel for consumers: The impact of body shape and size (pp. 17–34). Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing.

 Ashdown, S. P., (2013) ‘Not craft, not couture, not ‘home sewing’: Teaching creative patternmaking to the iPod generation’, International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 6, (2), 112-120

Petrova, A. & Ashdown, S.P. (2012). Comparison of garment sizing systems. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 30(4), pp 315-329. 

 Ashdown, S.P. (2011) 'Improving body movement comfort in apparel,' book chapter in Comfort in Clothing, editor Song, G., Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.
Ashdown, S.P. & Loker, S., (2010) ‘Mass customized target market sizing: Extending the sizing paradigm for improved apparel fit,’ Design Practice, 2(2), pp. 147-173.

Ashdown, S.P., Editor. (2007) Sizing in Clothing: Developing Effective Sizing Systems for Ready-To-Wear Clothing, Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, England.

Ashdown, Susan P. (1998) An Investigation of the Structure of Sizing Systems: A comparison of three multidimensional optimized sizing systems generated from anthropometric data. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology. Vol. 10, #5, pp 324-341. 


Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Fashion Practice; The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry

Objective 1 leader, NC-170 Regional Research Group

Member, International Textile and Apparel Association

Faculty Fellow, Cornell Institute for Fashion and Fiber Innovation

Advisory Board, Shanghai International Fashion and Science Innovation Project


 In partnership with Charlotte Coffman, Lucy Dunne from the University of Minnesota, Denise Green, and Kristen Morris from the University of Missouri, the website continues to introduce middle school girls to STEM concepts through their interest in Fashion.

Susan Ashdown teaches technical apparel classes, with an emphasis on the conceptual basis for understanding interactions among the body, materials, shape and silhouette, and the environment (both physical and social) in which clothes are worn. The design of apparel is a creative activity unlike any other, and she attempts in her classes to reflect both the craft and the concepts behind the multitude of decisions made throughout the design process.

  • FSAD 2640 - Draping
  • FSAD 4010 - Empirical Research
  • FSAD 4020 - Supervised Fieldwork
  • FSAD 6000 - Special Problems, Grads 
  • Ph.D. 1991 - University of Minnesota, Apparel Design
  • M.A. 1989 - Cornell University, Textiles: Apparel Design
  • B.A. 1971 - Grinnell College, Theater Arts   Site with activities for middle school girls introducing STEM concepts linked with Fashion   Site introducing the Halfscale Forum for apparel professionals
Draping Instruction: Teaching support for apparel patternmaking/draping (with Richard MacPike), 2004  
Body Scan Research: Description of the work of the Cornell Body Scan Research Group (with Suzanne Loker), 2002
Apparel Sizing: Reference list of publications on sizing and fit of apparel, 2001