As a freelance fashion design and development studio, I receive many requests and get asked a lot of questions. There are, however, some recurring themes and ‘what actually is a tech pack and do I really need one ?’ is definitely one of them!
So let me shed some light on the subject and help you understand why this document is so important. I know it’s not the glamorous side of producing your collection but it is arguably the most important.
What is a Tech Pack?
A technical package- known in the industry as a tech pack, (because what is the fashion industry without an abbreviation!) is a detailed document of your product. Think of it as THE blueprint of your garment. A good tech pack will include a CAD of your design along with information on your materials/trims and garment construction. There will also be a POM either graded or in your sample size.
Do I really need a Tech Pack?
It is highly unlikely that a manufacturer will take on your project without a tech pack for each product. The very first question they usually ask is ‘have you got a tech pack?’. Try it and see. It is what enables them, a virtual stranger, to see your vision clearly and will ultimately speed up the sampling process as they will have everything they need in front of them thus saving time and money in chasing up missing information.
It is also the guarantee that your product will be true to your vision as every detail is documented and if anything goes wrong, you can refer back to it.
What is in a Tech Pack?
Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. Depending on the factory you work with or the services that you need, there will be slight differences but in general, you will need :
A cover sheet is the first page of your document and has the technical CADs /flat sketches of your design, drawn on the computer in a programme such as Adobe Illustrator. These should be as detailed as possible, showing all stitching, design details, correct garment shape and proportions. This introduces your product to your manufacturer.
Construction/Call Out Sheet
The construction sheet shows your CAD drawing and also has all the comments concerning the construction of the product and describes the sketch in more detail so your manufacturer has no room for misinterpretation. It should also include all relevant seams and stitching details, even stitch length! This sheet should have all the information needed to be passed on to a pattern maker and/or sample machinist to produce your pattern/garment.
Colourway, Graphics and Print Sheets
This includes all details of your colourways, graphics, all-over prints, embroideries, logo placement, sizes etc… You will also need to know what techniques you want to use for the embroidery and prints but this doesn’t need to be set in stone straight away and can always be tested with your manufacturer.
BOM (Bill of materials)
The Bill of Materials is so important. This document has clear and precise descriptions of all the fabrics used, the placement, colour, where it should be placed: main fabric, lining, pocketing, fusing…
It will also have all trims and fastenings such as buttons, zips, poppers, stoppers, drawstrings etc. Include how many of each you need, colour, placement on the garment, the reference if they have to buy it in from another supplier, information if you would like them to source it or if you are sourcing them yourself.
Lastly, don’t forget care labels, main brand labels, swing tags, bar codes, packaging details OH MY!
POM (points of measure)
This is your sizing spec sheet and can either be only for your sample size if you would like the manufacturer to produce your sample patterns and then grade them, or complete graded size spec if you are doing it yourself or have a garment technician to help you.
As well as including the written information for this on your BOM, you can provide a separate illustrated sheet of the actual packaging with dimensions and materials. This is particularly useful if your manufacturer is producing the packaging or even if you have source dit separately and want the manufacturer to know how it works.
If you have a specific idea of how you want your product to be folded, this can be illustrated on a separate document. This should show in detail and it written comments, exactly how you would like the product to be folded before it gets put in the polybag.
Not all tech packs will need all this information. A tech pack for a sample may not be quite as detailed as a tech pack for production i.e the packaging and folding documents can be added at the production stage. It will also depend on what kind of product you’re designing and what kind of factory is producing it (CTM or FPP)
A tech pack is also not a static document. It will be updated and adjusted throughout the process so remember to also leave space for comments and add the new dates every time you send a new version of your pack
So there you have the main elements of a tech pack. You can also provide samples, garment inspo images, fabric swatches, everything you feel can help your manufacturer in creating your product without errors or missing details. It is absolutely not something you should be guessing at or basing it on a pack for another garment. Just like architects plans for a house will be unique, so should your tech pack be. It is honestly worth investing in a good tech pack as it really is your products DNA.
If you need help in producing your tech packs, please don’t hesitate to contact me. or leave me a comment with your thoughts. I am also nearly ready to launch my templates, aimed at those who don’t have the budget to hire a professional but still need to have all the documa,tation to produce their product. You will of course have to fill in these files yourself so a basic knowledge of excel is required, but all the leg work and setting up of the files is done for you. They also come with a complete guide on how to fill them out with prompts for each stage. Keep an eye on my instagram for launch dates.
Till next time, courage creatives! Love Deedee