What is a tech pack and why is it important for fashion design?
What is a tech pack?
A tech pack is a document that contains all of the technical information about your actual product. It's a must-have master document for both fashion designers and production staff when developing new collections since it aids in clearly communicating every little detail of what you're creating to your manufacturer.
Why are tech packs important for fashion design?
Tech packs are important for fashion design because they provide a detailed overview of your apparel product, including all of the necessary specifications that a clothing manufacturer needs in order to produce it. This helps avoid any confusion or misunderstanding between designer and manufacturer and results in error-free samples and a more smoothly-run production process. Without a tech pack, you run the risk of being shorted with a wrong batch, having to re-make a part of your product, or even worse, never actually receiving your final order.
With a tech pack, you get an exact blueprint on how you want your garment to be executed, complete with construction details and desired fit. This document is crucial because it ensures that our pattern maker is able to get clear instructions on how you want your garments to be made. Does your garment have wiring or padding? Will it have adjustable straps? Clothing Manufacturers can help bring your vision to life as long as your tech pack contains all of the elements of your vision.
What should be included in a tech pack?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but after working with hundreds of brands, we think that the best tech packs include
Technical Drawings/CADs: Annotated flat blueprint with a front and back view as well as close-ups of any design elements such as packets, pleats, seams, bartacks, stitching details, and a table with all product dimensions and the size and position of each element.
Materials: Information on each key raw material that goes into your product, including name, colorways, composition, weight, finish, and a suggested supplier if you have one.
Components: information on each design element that makes up your product, such as embroideries, prints, labels, buttons, tags, threads, trims, fasteners and decorations.
Great additions, but aren’t required:
Quantities & sizing: A table with the quantity you want and the size breakdown.
Order details: Desired delivery date, bulk production delivery address and details on how you want your products packaged and packed.
Tech pack examples
The tech pack is typically organized into sections—spec sheet, manufacturer information, fabric and trim details, pattern layout diagrams and so on— with most manufacturers requiring an accompanying sketch or rendering of the product. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what a tech pack looks like:
Detailed Tech Pack for Fashion Breakdown
The most important part of your tech pack is the 2d drawing of your garment. This flat sketch should include a full view of your front and back, as well as close-up views of any design features. The sketches should include initial specs/initial measurements for each element of your design like seam allowance, stiches per inch, button color
In addition to the 2d drawings, tech pack designers may also be able to construct 3d renderings or illustrations of your product. Having 3d illustrations of your garment help manufacturers in understanding what they are making in the best way possible.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
A BOM should include all details of your fabrics and trim, including the name of the supplier, colorway, composition and weight. In some cases, you might even want to provide a swatch or fabric sample for reference.
Having multiple colorways may be key for your business, so make sure to include all of the color combinations you want in your garment in your tech pack. Some brands also list desired shades or tones of certain hues, which are important for maintaining consistency across an entire collection.
Garment Spec Sheet & Points of Measurement
Once your sample is complete, you can list the sample size specs on your tech pack and also include the graded specs for your garments if you have finished marking and grading. A graded spec is crucial because it lists out the actual measurements for each size. If you have any specific points of measurement that you want to be measured during the QC process, list them here as well.
Artwork specifications (if design call for artwork)
If you’re working with a graphic designer, you’ll want to include specific information about the artwork in your tech pack. This would include the size, resolution, artwork placement, and format of your designs.
COMPLETE TECH PACK EXTRAS
Your pattern layout should include a diagram that shows how your fabric will be cut and assembled. This is especially important if your product has any unique construction requirements that need to be followed.
Fit Sample Notes
If you have a fit sample, include detailed notes about how it fits and what changes need to be made. This can be especially helpful for first-time manufacturers who may not be familiar with your product.
Label & Hangtag Layout
Including a label, care labels and hangtag layout will help your manufacturer understand where you want your branding to be placed on your product.
Detailing how you want your products packaged is another way of ensuring that your manufacturer understands the finished product that you are expecting.
Do I even need a tech pack?
Tech packs are a must if you are trying to make something with exact custom measurements and specific design details. If you are working with a clothing manufacturer and have less specific requirements, they may be able to help you create a tech pack based on your general vision for the product. In any case, it is always best to consult with a professional before starting production on your new line!
Take a simpler approach by providing reference garments
If your clothing designs are inspired by something that you already own or have seen in the market, it is also possible to start building your clothing sample from a reference garment instead of a tech pack.
Reference garments need to communicate the fit you're seeking (eg. a jogger reference: is it fitted through the thigh, is it a mid or high-rise, etc), along with the construction details you like (does it have elastic on the ankle, are their pockets, drawstrings, etc). So, maybe you have an existing piece in your closet that you love the fit of, but another garment has the visual accents/detail you prefer. It's also possible to utilize multiple reference garments to get the specification for your new product -- you would just need to clearly explain the specific details and measurements of each garment that you would incorporate into the single garment.
The first step of launching your clothing line
The first step is to get the technical pack or the garment references, and once you have done that, you can begin to work with product developers and sample makers to develop your clothing prototype. Once the entire product development process is complete, you will have everything to move from development to production of your finished garment: final pattern, final sample, sewing cards with sewing instructions. Everything a manufacturer would need to complete a production run of your clothing line.
Hiring a freelance technical designer
If you are new to launching a clothing line, you might want to hire a freelance tech pack designer. If so, its important to check their references and previous work experience. You want to make sure to select technical designers that have direct experience working within your clothing category. They should also have a portfolio of past designs and technical sketches.
Typically technical designers receive a one-time fee for their tech pack services, while freelance designers in the fashion industry will be paid on a monthly basis depending on the number of garments included in your clothing line. If you want to use an in-house designer at your company, then it is very important that they have a strong background in pattern-making and garment construction. They will also need to understand the latest production technology used by manufacturers and meet any minimum requirements that your manufacturer might put on you.