Who Is A Tech Pack Designer ?
Virtually anyone working in garment product development can offer a tech pack design service :- Fashion designer; Pattern cutter; Sample machinist; Garment tech, or Grader. But most people who offer this service just are not qualified to do the job to a professional standard. It takes a tremendous amount of wide ranging knowledge and experience to be a professional tech pack designer. The best candidate would be someone who has a thorough understanding of pattern cutting, garment construction, fabrics and sizing. And tech pack designing.
What Is A Garment Tech Pack ?
A tech pack ( technical pack ) is a garment specification sheet that provides the blueprint for your design. It is a crucial tool used in garment product development, providing information for the factory to make your style exactly as you designed it to be.
A detailed tech pack contains drawings, measurements, charts and technical information, ensuring that there is a clear and precise record of how your garment should be made. The amount and type of Information can vary considerably, but includes :- Size specs; Technical sketches; Types and position of labels; Stitching details; Fabrics; Trims; Processes; Bill of materials; Costings; Quantities per size/colour.
A poorly designed tech pack is worse than no tech pack at all. It is a total waste of money and will lead to an equally poor garment. It restricts the pattern cutter and sample machinist, removing much of the responsibility from the factory to the tech pack maker. If the resulting sample is poor, then as long as the factory has followed the tech pack instructions, they cannot be blamed. Sometimes it is better to allow the sample developers some leeway to produce the best sample they can.
Tech Pack For Sampling.
Most clothing factories insist on tech packs, even before sampling. This adds an extra layer of costly bureaucracy for the small business. In our opinion, while it may work for more established businesses, it is normally a waste of time and money for smaller businesses. It may be advisable to use a tech pack for production, but not necessarily for the sampling process.
We would always suggest doing your sampling development before approaching the factory. The sample developers would create the tech packs along with the sample. This should be the most cost effective and the safest approach.
How To Create A Tech Pack.
A professional tech pack is an undoubted advantage for both factory and client. But we always get nervous when an inexperienced client hands us a tech pack. We have to follow the supplied measurements even though our judgement tells us they are wrong. Or we have to continually query the instructions – Then it gets confusing.
Anything that requires specific instructions should be illustrated and described succinctly with images and illustrated sketches. Fabrics, trims, tags and labels should be specified. A separate measurement sheet should be supplied for all important measurements in all sizes. There should be a detailed technical sketch of both front and back. But save yourself a lot of time, trouble and money by letting us do it with you as part of the sampling process.
PHONE 07905 965 305 BILL
Advantages Of A Tech Pack
A detailed Tech Pack is absolutely vital for a large fashion business. They can afford to employ experienced professionals throughout every stage. These people know exactly what they are doing, and why. They can be confident that their instructions are clear and accurate.
The factory believe that you have a more professional approach if you supply a well designed tech pack. They are therefor more likely to take you seriously and to put care into your styles. They are less likely to outsource your production . Many factories will not even consider your order if you do not provide a tech pack.
“Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – Zero.” VOLTAIRE
Disadvantages Of A Tech Pack
For the smaller business there is not the same need for a precisely detailed pack. It may not be vital that everything is done in a specific way as long as the important things are noted. But it is still advantageous for both the factory and the customer to provide any important information related to the manufacture.
To produce a detailed tech pack for every style will cost a lot of money, but a poor one can cost far more. If you provide poor information, the factory still have to follow the instructions you give them.
If the factory follow your tech pack, they cant be held responsible for any mistakes as a consequence. Factories may be happy to not have that responsibility.
Clients often provide poor and incorrect measurements to make patterns from. The pattern cutter needs some leeway to apply their common sense. They may query doubtful measurements, but in the end they have to produce what is detailed in the pack. I have had several heated arguments with clients in my attempts to avoid costly mistakes due to poor instructions provided in tech packs.
How Much Is A Tech Pack ?
The costs of having a tech pack can be prohibitively expensive for a small startup business. Some factories will provide you with a tech pack, but charge a lot of money for the privilege of instructing themselves how to make your garment. Others will not provide the service at all, but will insist on a tech pack being provided independently.
The price for a tech pack can be anywhere from £80 to £600 plus for each style. This price depends on the complexity of the design and the depth of information required. Thats a lot of money for a small business. Often the tech pack will need considerable alterations. This can add extra expense to the cost at each change.
If a size spec is required, this would add to the cost as it can be quite time consuming to formulate one. If the garment needs to be changed, then so does the size chart. It is often cheaper to allow the factory to do the grading, but dont rely on them doing so without a size chart. Size charts for Childrenswear can cost more as there are so many more sizes, but is even more imperative as for adults.
It is important to make sure that whoever makes the tech pack is sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to do the job properly. While I have illustrated that you can save a lot of money by not using a tech pack for the sample, you definitely dont want to skimp unnecessarily in this area.
The price would depend on the complexity of the design and the amount of information required for the factory. If there are large production runs at stake, then this is definitely a worthwhile investment. Even for small production runs, I would recommend having a professional tech pack created, but it would be worth considering the tech pack workshop as an alternative.
While we can complete entire tech packs for you, we often find that the best and most cost effective solution is to provide bespoke tech pack workshops for our clients. In these 1-1 workshops we go through your designs with you and provide the information for you to complete as much of the tech packs as you need, using our tech pack templates.
We can advise you on the types of seams, or stitching. We can advise on which labels you need and what important information you need to supply for a successful outcome. If you have a number of designs that are similar, you may feel that you dont need to pay for a tech pack for each design.
EMAIL – email@example.com
Your tech pack is an essential blueprint for your garment design. We offer fashion tech pack creation by highly skilled professionals. We also offer 1-1 tech pack workshops in which we give practical demonstrations of how to create your own tech packs using your own styles. But some fashion startups still prefer to create the tech packs themselves.
It can be both expensive and time consuming to produce a comprehensive tech pack for each garment. For startup companies producing small quantities, this can make it prohibitively expensive. It is therefore really important to understand tech packs, when to use them, and why.
The process of bringing a design to market is actually a very simple one. But given the notoriously erratic nature of the clothing industry, both within the U.K. and abroad, the outcome will likely be a complete disaster without some elementary advice and assistance. Your tech pack is the first line of defence to protect you against a bad outcome.
Do I Need A Tech Pack For A Sample ?
Many factories and sampling units will insist on a tech pack from the start. This is not a problem for the larger, established manufacturers because they can afford it. But for small startup brands it can prove to be very expensive and time consuming, especially if they do not fully understand what a tech pack is.
We at The London Pattern Cutter, prefer not to use formal tech packs for the initial sample, as we believe them to be unnecessary and prohibitive at this stage. We do of course try to ensure that we gather as much information as necessary to be able to get the sample right first time.
Once the sample is perfected, we can then provide you with a tech pack for production. If we are doing the production we may not need a formal tech pack, but if you are going elsewhere we would definately advise on using one.
Do I Really Need A Tech Pack At All ?
Unless the designer fully understands what they are doing. I believe that tech packs can be a waste of money that inhibits the sampling process. This is because, unless you know exactly what you want you are preventing the pattern cutters and sample makers from using their own judgement.
A professional designer will normally know exactly what construction they want for their garment, but the average startup designer does not really have a clue. They just know what the garment needs to look like. When you provide a tech pack you are providing complete instructions on making something that you may not understand.
The sample maker may be happy because they simply need to follow the instructions to cover themselves. Some sample machinists need to have everything written down, others are happy to just use their own judgement. Sometimes that is what you may want.
But the sample machinist isnt interested in leafing through pages of notes. They just want one sheet of paper with a practical working sketch along with clear and precise information such as seam allowances, hem types, top stitching etc. This is normally provided by the pattern cutter.
In my opinion there is a lot of misinformation about tech packs, given by very experienced fashion professionals. Throughout the internet and even in popular books on starting a fashion business, these professionals tend to think that everyone starting a fashion brand has plenty of money available to do things as the big brands would do them.
Tech Packs For Start-ups
Most startup owners know very little about tech packs. They do not know what a tech pack is, or how to go about creating one. Nor do they know how much they should pay to have a professional provide one.
Often they do not have a clear idea how they want their design to be made. They tend to rely on the factory to just sort it all out for them. The factory may well do just that, but not always as the Designer had envisaged.
But the average startup fashion company is working on a limited budget. This means that they cannot operate in the same way that the big brands do. I am not saying that they should not use tech packs – Just that they should use them wisely and efficiently.
Most big brands these days will not develop their samples in the U.K. They may still have their design studio in London, but the factory may be in Turkey or China. They would usually get the factory to do the sample development while they provide the instructions. In this case it would be absolutely necessary to supply a tech pack from the start.
But the tech pack is not a static document. It will change as the design and fit changes. Each change would require a revised tech pack. The big brands may make three or four samples of each style before production. This would mean four or five tech packs, as there would need to be a final tech pack for production as well.
It goes without saying that most startups cannot afford to have this many samples, along with patterns and tech packs. So a method has to be found to reduce costs dramatically without increasing risks. Unlike many sampling units we do not require tech packs. In fact we positively discourage them. Once we have made the final sample to your satisfaction, we can then produce a definitive professional tech pack for you to provide to the factory.
I often have clients come to me with their tech packs in hand asking me to provide a sample accordingly. Normally these tech packs have been designed by fairly inexperienced designers. The information is normally incorrect and very restricting, so I usually suggest ignoring the tech pack and starting from scratch. I just get the client to provide me with the type of information I need to ensure as far as possible that the resulting garment is correct.
A size spec is an important part of any tech pack, although not all tech packs will have a size spec. It is a list of measurements of your design taken at various points on the garment . These are used to check the accuracy of the production. Normally the measurements are initially taken from the factory sample for the base size, then calculated for the other sizes.
The measurements may be taken either on the half, or as full circumference measures. This is very useful for the designer because it keeps the manufacturer on their toes. If the production garments dont come up to spec they can be rejected by the customer, or be returned for alteration.
While it is possible to use the grading charts with measurements taken from the pattern, rather than the garment specs, the measurements may not be exactly the same. Although you may expect both the pattern and the sample to measure the same, this is not always the case. The sample may stretch or shrink in making, the seams may be slightly bigger or smaller, and the thickness of the material may result in the garment measuring smaller.
” Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt” HERBERT HOOVER
This is probably the most important part of any tech pack as it is an overview of the style, containing the front and back views of the style, along with important information regarding construction, stitching, trims, placements etc. Remember that the factory cannot reead your mind.
A picture says a thousand words. It is important for the technical sketch to be clear, accurate and succinct. If there are any special details that need to be explained in more detail it may be necessary to have sketches of those details along with further information on a separate page.
We have dealt with many fashion entrepreneurs whos first experience in the fashion industry has been a complete disaster, due to very basic and avoidable errors. Often these errors are just due to poor communication with the pattern cutter or with the factory. Sometimes it is due to the assumption that the people they are dealing with have a basic level of competence. Sometimes it is due to the factory taking advantage of the client`s lack of experience.
These days many factories insist on a tech pack. And even if they didnt, it is in your interests that you should provide one, whether required or not. Maybe your pattern cutter could do this for you, or a garment tech. Or you could produce this yourself in our one to one workshop. Not only would you have a professional tech pack made alongside a fashion professional, but you will also have acquired the knowledge to allow you to produce further tech packs for future designs.
If you must use foreign factories, then dont leave anything to chance. You will have to pay for the production before they ship it to you. And you will probably have no idea that there is anything wrong until it lands on your doorstep. You definitely must use a tech pack produced by an experienced professional if going this route.
If you know exactly what you want, and how to achieve it, then this is the way to go. Large, established fashion companies will always use a tech pack when using a factory to produce their samples, but for many new brands this could be a costly mistake even if their chosen factory insists on it.
We at The London Pattern Cutter always try to ensure that we only provide what is necessary and cost effective. Providing a professional tech pack requires years of experience. It is not a DIY job. The trick for the startup is getting a professional tech pack at an affordable price.
PHONE 07905 965 305 BILL