Your business started with a vision. Now it is time to get in touch with clothing manufacturers and let them do the magic to turn your ideas into a saleable product. The reputation and success of your business will depend on how well it is executed so ensuring you prepare the specifications in advance will get you off on the right foot.
Once you find the right apparel manufacturer for your brand, open and concise communication is required to translate your ideas into wearable garments. So what is the best way to share your vision?
It will come as no surprise that sending rough sketches to a manufacturer just won’t do the trick. If you already have some experience in the clothing industry or have done some basic research, you will probably have heard of a ‘Tech Pack’ by now. If not, take a look at how this tool can benefit your fashion business. A tech pack is a link between your ideas, design and final product. Think of it as a guidebook of your brand for garment manufacturers.
In this article, we will demystify tech packs and make sure you have the right knowledge and confidence to address this important stage of launching a clothing brand. A standardised way of communication between you and your clothing manufacturer is key to ensure efficient and qualitative garment production. The good news is that once you polish these technical specifications, the final result will not disappoint.
Why do I need a Tech Pack?
A tech pack is one of the most crucial fashion business tools when taking your ideas through to the production stage. It is important to have a detailed tech pack on hand when you are engaging in a conversation with a manufacturer, and don’t be afraid to put down more detail than might seem necessary. After all, you don’t want to be financially responsible for any errors.
Creating a Tech Pack
Supplying your clothing manufacturer with the correct specifications leaves less room for misinterpretation. It’s important not to leave anything to chance, so creating a comprehensive tech pack will harmonise the production process.
Take a look at the key areas that a complete tech pack should cover and details of how to complete each section:
- Sketches and descriptions
- Styleboard and inspiration
- Fabric placement and garment construction
- Colour choices
- Materials list or Bill of Material (BOM)
- Seam-to-seam measurements
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But don’t get discouraged just yet. With our step-by-step instructions, you will overcome the initial confusion and create a transparent dialogue with your clothing manufacturer.
Sketches and descriptions
Your tech pack should start with a black and white flat sketch that shows the front and back view of the garment. Make it as simple as possible, and do not use any colour. You can also create digitised sketches on software such as Adobe Illustrator to create your images.
Further information: The Role of Computer-aided Design in the Tech Pack Template
Styleboard and inspiration
This section is a styleboard of your brand. Here, add images and patterns that inspired you to create the original ideas. This can include textures or prints, and cuts and styles that represent your vision and you might also want to add some comments to ensure it is clear that your images are translatable to the manufacturer.
Fabric placement and garment construction
This section highlights the desired assembly of the clothing and should include construction diagrams. Sketches of your clothing should be marked in relation to what type of material you want to be placed in certain areas including everything down to the small details such as label placement. For example, use stripes to indicate the use of one type of fabric and dots for another type. Label what each pattern corresponds to in a comprehensive key under the illustration.
Use as many arrows or notes as needed to get the message across but when writing comments always decrypt any abbreviations or acronyms you might have used. When it comes to garment assembly, it is vital to have clear codes for each type of print/fabric to avoid misinterpretation.
Identifying the specific colours that should be used is vital to get the look and style of the garment correct first time. You should include the colour name, number (Pantone colour or original number) and colour swatch. You can also add print colourways if your design does not include solid colours.
Materials list or Bill of Material (BOM)
Detailing the fabrics for your designs should be included on the materials list or Bill of Material (BOM). This highlights every aspect including shell, lining, pockets, fasteners and labels, and can be broken down into five sections as illustrated below:
- Placement – where the material will be used or in what position it will be sewn into the garment.
- Comments – detail any critical information about the use of the material.
- Material – be sure to indicate fibre content, what material it is made of and the identification numbers.
- Supplier – identifying who is supplying the fabric.
- Colour Number – experts say there are 150+ shades of grey, this makes you appreciate the importance of mentioning the exact colours required for your design.
This is often classed as one of the most technical aspects of the tech pack but is critical to securing the right fit, style and sizes for your garments. This section usually contains five columns and assists in producing the pattern and first fit sample.
- Point of Measure (POM) – each piece of a garment must fit with each other just right; otherwise the final product will not be assembled well. Note down the types of measurements that must be used for each part of the style.
- Description – indicate how the measurement must be done. This part must be very specific, as manufacturers must have clear information on how each point should be measured. HPS (high point of shoulder) will be the main starting point for most vertical measurements, and you must not forget to mention it in the description.
- Requested – you must have had an idea of the final size of your product. In this section, you put the actual measurements. If you need help deciding, do not fill it in, but instead, contact the clothing factory to assist you. You can always adjust the values after the first fit.
- Tolerance (+/-) – this section indicates the most and least a measurement is allowed to be over/under the requested measurement. Production must stay within the range.
- Fit comments – add any important notes to accompany the measurements provided.
Bringing your fashion brand to life
A tech pack contains a lot of information that can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you require assistance, asking advice from your clothing manufacturer or a technical designer will assist in turning your ideas into workable specifications. Before you send your tech pack to the clothing producer, make sure you review the information and feel confident in your brand blueprint to avoid any issues or miscommunication.
Create a tech pack with Sewport
Sewport’s innovative platform has a variety of tools and services to help you create your own tech pack to share with clothing manufacturers. This comprehensive and easy-to-use feature helps to detail the specifications (as mentioned above) to easily communicate your ideas to suppliers. There is also a range of other features too including Sewport’s handy toolbox, which provides guides on garment type and fabric consumption.
It’s free to sign up and take advantage of these tools, just create an account here to get started.
You must be exhausted by now. The good news is that you almost crossed the finish line and are ready to produce your first sample!
The Sewport team hopes that this breakdown of the tech pack convinced you that it is a worthwhile and achievable task. Whether you decide to create a tech pack with our handy tools or hire a professional, it is always useful to understand what the final tech pack must contain to make the production process simple and straightforward.