Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Textile, Apparel Design, and Merchandising

Document Type



This dissertation research determined the ability of three-dimensional (3D) simulation technology (CLO3DTM and OptiTexTM software) to develop digital prototypes of structured apparel designs using different creative pattern-cutting techniques. The project’s focus was to compare the similarities between physical and virtual prototypes and evaluate differences in performance between the two software programs using fit and appearance criteria. The participants’ evaluations were analyzed with their performance on the Apparel Spatial Visualization Test (ASVT) to determine whether there was a correlation between the level of performance on the ASVT and evaluation of the technologies. It was predicted that participants with higher spatial visualization skills would be able to detect differences between the 3D programs in greater detail.

This research was conducted using qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data were designed using autoethnography collected from observational data simulating eight visual prototypes developed by the researcher and analyzed using thematic content analysis.

The qualitative data analyzed four case studies by discussing the seven stages of the virtual product development. The key themes in each process stage for both CLO3DTM and OptiTexTM were highlighted, resulting in seven themes. The researcher used the themes to analyze and describe the capabilities of the 3D simulation technologies to develop virtual prototypes of structured apparel designs. The quantitative data used a between-subjects design and were collected from an online QualtricsTM survey.

The quantitative sample consisted of 95 valid survey responses that were analyzed using statistical analysis to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses.

The findings indicate that the two digital programs performed differently in simulating the fit and appearance details of the various pattern-cutting techniques. In most cases, CLO3DTM performed significantly better than OptiTexTM. Further, the researcher found out that the participants’ levels of spatial visualization skills influenced the evaluation of the overall fit and overall appearance differently when comparing CLO3DTM and OptiTexTM.



Committee Chair

Xia, Sibei



Available for download on Thursday, April 02, 2026