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Fashion Business 101: How to Make A Tech Pack for Apparel

How to Make a Tech Pack for Apparel

If you’re anything like me, you first fell in love with fashion as a child. Poring over Vogue and Cosmo at the hairdresser or doctor’s office while you waited for Mom. Paging through the slick array of colorful magazines at the corner store. Even peeking through an oversized and stunning WWD when you were lucky enough to find a wayward copy. The industry seemed so glam and so beautiful and so slick!

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Now that we’re older and wiser (we are, right?), we realize that the fashion business is actually much more complex than it seems when you look at the gorgeous photos. It’s not all jet-setting, and photoshoots, and sipping bubbly while editors fawn over your creations and buyers line up out the door to slap down purchase orders! The truth is, fashion as a business is a ton of hard work, and demands not only talent in design and innovation, but also sound business sense and taking steps to protect yourself.

So when thinking about fashion as a business, one of the biggest and most important elements of creating a successful fashion line is the Tech Pack.

What is a Tech Pack?

Think of a Tech Pack as the blueprint for each garment. Just as a builder would never just start building a house without a detailed plan, a designer should never produce a garment without a detailed Tech Pack. The Tech Pack tells the producer (factory) all the information that’s needed to successfully transform your design into a product that’s exactly how you envisioned it.

Why is a Tech Pack so important?

Careful planning and creation of your Tech Packs will reduce errors in production, reduce issues with communication, and ultimately can save you tons of money and frustration.

When you provide a factory (or sample maker) with detailed instructions about every aspect of your garment’s design and construction by using a Tech Pack, there’s never any confusion about the details. Things like fabrics, trim, and sources, artwork or graphics, label information, packaging instruction, and even tiny-but-mega-important details like desired stitching should all be included in your Tech Pack to reduce the chances of misunderstandings (or shortcuts by the factory).

What are the risks of producing without Tech Packs?

Making a garment without first creating a Tech Pack is basically like tossing eggs and flour into a bowl without a recipe, and expecting a gourmet cake! Without a Tech Pack, you might be envisioning a Wool Blend sheath dress with strategically placed cutouts, but what you receive from the factory is a Poly Blend shift dress with appliques. (This is an actual example one of our clients experienced before they found us!)

As you probably already know by now, production runs of apparel are expensive, and when you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to waste $10, let alone $10,000 on a production run gone bad. Save yourself the heartache, and create a Tech Pack before you even start talking to factories. Trust me, it’s worth it.

How do I create a Tech Pack?

In big apparel companies, Tech Packs tend to be standardized on a specific format, and they use a combination of expensive CAD design software to create the line drawings of the garments, and Excel to create the worksheet information. Here are a few examples of different Tech Pack layouts. As you can see, the formats can vary a lot.

The first Tech Pack example shown here has extensive notes on an image, but there’s no Bill of Materials. This means that there’s a lot of room for interpretation by the factory as to what stitches to use, what fabrics and trims are acceptable, and how seams and other details need to be finished.  This is not an ideal Tech Pack for those reasons:

tech pack miss sixtyMiss Sixty Jacket Tech Pack, no Bill of Materials (not recommended!)

The second example is highly detailed spreadsheet, which even specifies things like the zipper manufacturer. That’s great! But…where is the product image? Without a line drawing (or at the very least, a photograph), it’s another situation where the factory or sample maker has to use their own interpretation. This can open up a lot of cans of worms, and it’s not recommended.

tech pack no imageWorksheet & Bill of Materials, no drawings or images (not recommended!!)

 

The third example we’re looking at is well-done if not perfect. It contains both an image and a line drawing (tech drawing) of the garment. It also has some information on desired fabric wash, etc. The pieces that are missing are the fine details such as measurements, stitch requirements, trim and fabric choices, etc. Therefore, this is still not an ideal Tech Pack, even though at a glance it looks sophisticated!

tech packBetter, not not quite the perfect Tech Pack!

 

So we’ve seen what not to do.
Now, here’s an example of a thoroughly well-prepared Tech Pack. This one contains a clean, clear line drawing of the garment, along with every detail of fabrication and materials, packaging, etc.

Tech Pack For Apparel ProductionVery thorough and detailed Tech Pack with professional drawings, and every detail of the construction of the garment.

 

Here’s another example of a well-executed Tech Pack, which also includes all of the measurements for the size range desired (this is a great idea, especially if you intend for fit to be a major aspect of your brand).

Ski-Wear-Tech-Pack-300x218An excellent Tech Pack that shows clear instructions on construction, stitching, materials and fit.

 

Yikes! That looks complicated!

If you’re feeling intimidated, or you’ve already tried creating Tech Packs without much success, we’re here to help. With Sourceeasy, there’s no need to invest in purchasing (and learning to use) a bunch of software programs just to make professional sketches for your Tech Packs. And there’s no need to make complicated Excel spreadsheets your BFF.

You’ve come to the right place.

The Sourceeasy team has decades of experience designing, sourcing and creating apparel for brands like Levi’s, Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew and many more. Let us put that expertise to work for your emerging brand.

We’ll work hand in hand with you to produce your tech packs (at no extra charge!) and we’ll help find the world’s best suppliers and factories to bring your designs to life.  On time and on budget.

So you can leave the manufacturing to us, and focus on what inspired you to follow your heart into fashion: designing beautiful things!

We offer end to end services including sourcing, tech pack creation, patterning (and you own the patterns at the end), production, Quality Assurance, and Logistics including packaging, shipping, and all taxes/duties. You simply pay a reasonable sample fee up front, and we get to work. Then, when you’re ready to launch your production run, the sample fee applies to the production cost.

What could be easier? You get a world-class team on your side, without having to hire or manage staff. Your Tech Packs are crystal clear and designed by industry experts. Your production runs are smooth and quality-assured. Your products arrive at your doorstep, ready to sell. And yes, you can afford it!

We do all the heavy lifting, so you can concentrate on building your brand.

Call me, maybe.

To contact Sourceeasy today, simply click here to send us an email.
Or, you can log into our self-service platform to create your first product on the Sourceeasy site! No risk, no obligation, no credit card required.

We make manufacturing easy.

 

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