Tech Packs are the first blueprint your clothing manufacturer sees. It is an instruction manual to construct the garment you spent so much time and energy designing. Building a tech pack is an important yet complicated process in designing a garment. With a very demanding and meticulous creation process, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed while making one. Mistakes can be easily made, affecting the outcome of your project. In this article, I will be explaining the step by step process of creating a tech pack, as well as giving tips on how to create a flawless blueprint for your garment.
What is a Tech Pack?
First, let me begin by defining what a tech pack is, and describe all of its contents. A tech pack is a document ( usually electronic ) that displays the intricate details of your garment. Tech is short for technical, because it contains all of the technical details of your design. Tech packs are the most straightforward explanation of how to construct your garment. Details ranging from finishes to fabric samples to desired shipping deadlines are included in this form. A tech pack is typically completed digitally, on Microsoft Excel or Powerpoint, or Adobe Illustrator/ Photoshop.
What Should I include in my Tech Pack?
There are many components that should be included in your tech pack. As I have said before, every and all of your design specifications are included in this document to best articulate to the manufacturer how to reproduce your garment. Here are five main aspects of every tech pack
A flat sketch is a simple drawing of how your garment looks laying flat on a surface. This is typically done in black and white, though can be completed in color. A flat sketch can be completed by hand with a photo uploaded digitally, or it can be completed on Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. Seams, Hems, Zipper, closures, and Button placement, and Texture are highlighted in this part of the tech pack. The purpose of a flat sketch is to show the manufacturer where you or the designer want specific seams, hems ( and the hem length ) closures, and zipper details placed on your garment. It also shows the manufacturer how the garment is intended to look after it has been produced.
Here is what a standard flat sketch resembles. Both the front and back of the garment are included in the drawing. When drawing a simple, straight seam only one line is necessary. When drawing a hem, use two dotted lines. Any other unique style seam requires two dotted lines. Intricate details such as seams, buttons, hems, pockets, and fabric give should also be included. These details are often overlooked because of how minor they are. However, if these details are not articulated in the flat sketch, the manufacturer will not include them in your garment. It is important to revisit your flat sketch to revise any missing details that might have been overlooked before sending it to the manufacturer.
Specs are short for specification. It contains the technical production details of your garment. These details include sizing details for your garment. Sizing measurements are necessary for every piece of your garment. For example, if your company were designing and constructing a hoodie, it is important to list your desired measurements in your document to communicate the correct sizing to the manufacturer. It’s also necessary to list sizes ranging from armhole measurements to neck drop sizings ( front and back).
Specs also include garment piece description, color, quantity, and where your materials will be getting shipped from ( if necessary).
A list of materials is vital for communicating to the manufacturer what you want your garment to be made of. Fabric selection, trims, thread, embellishments, desired weight of interfacing, finishes, prints, embroidery, labels, tags, buttons, fascenings, should be included in this list. If necessary, it is also important to include what company these materials will be shipped from.
It is important to include your desired delivery date and address in your tech pack so the manufacturer knows when to finish the garment ( or notify you and your company if there is a production delay. Typically it takes 7 days to complete an order ). It is also important to include packaging instructions. For instance, depending on the fabric you selected for your order, it is wiser to package the garment laying flat rather than folded to reduce wrinkling.
Creation dates, release date, and the name of your company and designer are important to include in your tech pack. This ensures that your design belongs to you and your company and will avoid any potential copyright problems.
Quantity, Weight, and Sizing
In addition to specs, what sizes you want your garment to be ( Small, Medium, Large, etc…) and the quantity you want each sizing category to be is important to include as well. Measurements can be listed in a column on Excel, or labeled directly on your flat sketch.
The quantity of your order is important to include in your tech pack as well. Whether you are wanting a sample of your constructed garment, or placing a bulk order of 500 garments or more, it is important to correspond with your manufacturer how large you want your order to be. Though you might have done so when reaching out to your manufacturer, it is important to reiterate this information in your tech pack.
The weight of your garment is important to include in your tech pack. Weight is determined by many factors, such as the thickness and type of fabric you have selected for your project or the amount and weight of interfacing or filler in your garment. Communicate the desired final weight of your garment, as well as the weight of fabric, interfacing, and filler as well.
Above is an example of a tech pack of a jacket. As you can see, the flat sketch of the garment is in the top right corner of the document. The flat sketch includes all the hems, seam placements, pockets, accessories, and other details the designer has included on the jacket. Next to the flat sketch is the fabric swatch that will be used to construct the jacket. Below are the specks, giving sizing, intel description and placement details, a list of materials, quantity, supplier list, and color descriptions. At the top of the tech pack, you’ll find information regarding the company name, what season you’ll garment will be released in, the style name,number and description of your garment, the date the tech pack was designed, the designer name, sizing ranges, and fabric type. All of these components contribute to a well organized tech pack.
Why Is It Important to Have a Tech Pack and Why Does It Need to Be Accurate the First Time Around?
Tech packs are the main document referenced by your manufacturer throughout the production process of your garment(s). If even the slightest mistake is made, it could impact the outcome of your garment. Here are four reasons why it is important to submit a correct tech pack at the beginning of your production process.
Reduces Mistakes and Improves Communication Throughout the Production Process
It is possible that your manufacturer does not come from the same background as you, your company, and/or your designers. Language, time, and cultural barriers are common in these instances. Having an accurate tech pack can reduce confusion between these differences and can communicate your needs across these barriers. Using a tech pack with lots of photographs along with number measurements and quantities will help reduce confusion between you and your manufacturer.
Your Tech Pack Will Act As Your Project Manual
Your tech pack is a blueprint of all the ins and outs of your garment. It explains how to construct your garment to your company’s approval. A simple and cohesive tech pack can make the production process run smoothly and easily while avoiding any mistakes in the process.
Avoid Setbacks and Production Delays
A consistent tech pack will help your production time run quickly. If your flat sketch and tech pack were completed digitally, it is easily edited and shared amongst you, your team members, and the manufacturer. Edits and re-sends can be completed in the matter of minutes ( be certain to send the correct file between your team and the manufacturer, otherwise your production will be delayed, causing lots of confusion)
For future projects, previous tech packs can be referenced by your manufacturer to revisit addresses, designer and company names, and contact information. This could potentially save your company and your manufacturer time as well.
Finally, a completed tech pack can help your company and your manufacturer better plan out budget and payroll for your project. It will further help your manufacturer gather the workers and materials needed to produce your project.
Tech packs are an essential form of communication between you and your manufacturer.. It opens a dialogue during the design and production process of your garment. Garment details ranging from sizing measurements and quantities to fabric and color selection are important information to be shared with your manufacturer. A tech pack is a simple way of sharing your design and production needs with your manufacturer.