A technical package (tech pack) is a vital document required to get your garments made. Think of it as a set of instructions, that you provide to your manufacturer, to show what you want and how you want them to construct your garments.
It is a multi page document, created for each garment you want to make. It provides your factory with the intricate details to enable a complete stranger to make your design. Liaising with the factory via a tech pack, will also help you speed up the sampling and production process as they can make better progress if they can focus on the job and not chasing you for missing information.
Why you need one
It’s unlikely a good factory will take on your project without a tech pack. Contacting manufacturers with one in hand, will mean you will improve your chances of working with them and obtain a better price, as they’ll know exactly what you need. It also allows you to keep the fit of the garments consistent, which is really important if you don’t want your sizes to vary from one product to the next.
However, the most important reason is as an insurance policy against potential mistakes. You’ll be working with your factory under contract and your tech packs are part of this. If there are any discrepancies, the factory either has to fix the order at their expense, or pay a penalty, depending on the contract you have with them.
What goes into a tech pack exactly?
This will depend on the type of factory you work with and what services you need. However, as a general rule, it is better to make sure you indicate absolutely everything, as the manufacturer will have to guess all the details you don’t mention. Although of course, it still needs to be clear and easy to read. But whatever you do, if you don’t know the details, don’t guess. A bad tech pack is worse than no tech pack, so invest in your brand and use a professional.
The Design Sketches
Make sure you include detailed sketches on the style, look and feel that you want to achieve. It’s good practice to write comments besides your drawings, to describe what you want, so there is no room for miscommunication.
In addition to your design sketches, make sure you describe what silhouettes you wish to achieve. Will it be fitted, straight or flowing, for example? Specify the intended shape and fit of your garment clearly and include the length and the width.
If you were to lay your garment down on a flat surface like a table, what would it look like? A flat sketch or technical drawing, documents exactly that view point, from all angles including the front, the back and the side. Unlike the design sketches which are intended to convey the look and feel of your line, the technical drawing should have the right proportions and contain all the construction details.
Providing extra photos and images referencing what you are after, is a great way to avoid issues due to language barriers, particularly when working with factories overseas. It also helps prevent problems which can arise when there are multiple names for different construction techniques. So, showing what you want, visually, as well as written, is best practice.
Colours and Prints
You need to include the details of the colours, graphics, prints or embroideries, as well as indicate the size and placement of where you want them to be on the garment. Do you require sublimation printing or any specialised techniques? Make sure you understand exactly what you need.
Samples or special finishes
If you’re able to supply a toile (initial prototype) or a sample of construction details or techniques you want, it is recommended. Again, anything that helps clarify exactly what you’re after is helpful, to prevent issues and avoid confusion.
Depending on the type of garments and factory you are working with, a pattern may be needed or beneficial. If you’re looking for a better fit and finish, sometimes working with an independent pattern cutter first, often means a better quality product. You can then supply this along with your tech pack.
The Materials – BOM (Bill of Materials)
Provide a clear description of what materials you require (if you are not supplying them yourself). If you already have these sourced, you’d include all the details here, including the reference #, composition and fabric width. This includes the shell, lining, and interlining for your garment construction.
The Fastening and Trims
You need to include all the details of any fastenings and trims, such as zips, buttons, elastic, drawstrings and poppers etc. Remember to include the quantity, length, colour, material and size, as well as the placement on the garment. Also don’t forget your brand and composition / care labels too.
The Seams and Stitching
The devil is in the detail here, leave no room up to the imagination. Specify what type of stitch will be used for each seam and think about the type of thread and size of stitch. Bear in mind the material and final use of your garment.
Sizing and POM (Point of Measure)
You’ll need to supply a list of measurements for your garment. Consider the length of the body, the width, circumference, height, sleeves, across the shoulder measurements etc… include every single measurement that is required for your garment to be created from scratch. Also understand how the type of material will affect the sizing that you require, for example, is your material thin and stretchy or is your material thick and bulky with little movement?
Testing is often overlooked. To ensure longevity and performance, testing is an important aspect when trying to create brand loyalty.
Quality control, is an important part of making sure all your garments are produced the same, are of the same quality and are standardised. You need to understand what your factory is responsible for checking, otherwise it can be a very costly when something goes wrong. This means checking materials for flaws, making sure garments are sewn correctly, colours and sizes are correct, seams and stitching is neat and strong etc.
It is important to have all your branding ready too. Depending on the type of factory you use and what services you require, you’ll need to supply the packaging and detailed information about where and how it is used. Consider the full product journey from factory to customer.
A tech pack is a fluid document, meaning as you move along the process from prototype to sampling and into production, your tech pack will need to be updated, when any changes are made. Including a comments section is also really important as it allows the factory to make a note of anything related to the product construction.
Not every tech pack will need all of this information, it will depend on what products you’re making and who with. However, it is generally considered better to provide more information than less. Although remember, this information needs to be correct. Don’t guess or base it on a previous tech pack for another garment, or something you found on the web, as this will cause more issues.
Done correctly, tech packs help minimise errors and ensure that the factory are able to bring your fashion line to life, just the way you want it. So, invest in your product before starting and you’ll reap the rewards later. Making a tech pack takes time, planning, deliberation and thought, but is well worth every iota of time invested. If you are interested in finding someone to help you put together your tech packs, feel free to contact me.