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Undergraduate Research

fabric dissection pelvis model katrina hass medical art physical anatomy bruce wainman education tool

Fabric Pelvis

Dissection Model

An Open Educational Physical Model

for Teaching Female Pelvic Anatomy

The anatomy of the pelvic floor is complex and often a challenge for students to learn. Cadavers and plastic models have frequently been used as educational tools to help students identify anatomical structures and visualize the spatial relationships between them. However, these types of tools each come with shortcomings that limit the student learning experience. For instance, it is difficult to see many pelvic structures on a cadaver because the layers are thin, adherent, and challenging to isolate. Alternatively, pelvic plastic models are often unable to show each individual layer without obscuring other structures.


This fabric pelvis dissection model was developed in order to better teach female pelvic anatomy. This model combines a three-dimensional printed bony pelvis attached to a wooden board with soft pelvic structures made of textile. The various fabric types and colours help to distinguish each anatomical structure while elastic loops, hooks, and button clips allow each structure to be removable, giving the user a unique way to “dissect” the female pelvis while handling the model.

Previous literature has shown that kinesthetic manipulation helps to reduce the high cognitive load placed on the learner while allowing the user to view structures from different angles. This new fabric and 3D-printed model offers a unique learning experience that would otherwise be hard to obtain. To facilitate mass production of this learning object, the 3D print files and fabric patterns are offered as an open education resource.

Client: Dr. Bruce Wainman

Education Program in Anatomy, McMaster University

Media: Textiles and 3D print

Format: Physical model

Audience: Undergraduate and medical students

Date: December 2018

fabric dissection pelvis model katrina hass medical art physical anatomy bruce wainman education tool
fabric dissection pelvis model katrina hass medical art physical anatomy bruce wainman education tool
fabric dissection pelvis model katrina hass medical art physical anatomy bruce wainman education tool

The fabric pelvis dissection model provides an interactive component that allows the user to “dissect” the female pelvis.



This project was started up by Prof. Caitlin O’Connell and Dr. Bruce Wainman with McMaster students Rachel Elliot and Maggie Walker. They provided the sewing print patterns that served as the templates from which each anatomical structure was traced onto fabric before cut out and assembled. I took over this project and created the fabric pelvis model with guidance from Dr. Wainman. 

Before starting the sewing process, I tried to look at this project from two different perspectives: 1) A student that was viewing the model for the first time and trying to understand its components. 2) A creator that could find ways to minimize the work and make a better structurally sound model. From there I created a a plan with features that would make a successful educational anatomy model for a student to learn from. 

This poster highlights some of the stylistic decisions made in the creation of the fabric pelvis dissection model:

fabric dissection pelvis model katrina hass medical art physical anatomy bruce wainman education tool poster presentation mcmaster university health science

This poster was presented at: 

  • The 2018 Regional American Association of Anatomist Meeting, Hamilton, Ontario (Nov. 10, 2018)

  • McMaster Bachelor of Health Sciences Poster Day, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (Apr. 2, 2019) 

  • The Experimental Biology 2019 Conference, Orlando, Florida (Apr. 8, 2019)

  • The American Association of Anatomist Student and Postdoc Poster Reception, Orlando, Florida (Apr. 8, 2019)

QR Code katrina hass mcmaster health sciences

Scan the above QR code for the open access 3D print files and fabric patterns or click here:  Dropbox Link

An Open 

Educational Resource

Currently, this model is being used as an educational tool in the Anatomy Lab for the  Education Program in Anatomy at McMaster University. This lab serves a number of students and educational programs, such as students in Health Sciences and Kinesiology, Rehabilitation Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Physicians Assistants and Engineering. 

To facilitate mass production of this learning tool, the 3D print files and fabric patterns are offered as an open education resource. The downloadable files include: 

  1. Fabric Pelvis Model Print Patterns: sewing patterns that are the templates from which each structure is traced onto fabric before cut out and assembled;

  2. Fabric Pelvis Model Assembly: a package that displays each textile dissection layer and the fabric-to-plastic attachment points;

  3. 3D Print Files: the files required to 3D print the bony plastic pelvis; and

  4. Pelvic Structures and Associated Textiles: a description of the textiles used, structures associated with each textile, and a short description of each structure.


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