how it's made

What is a tech pack?

Not all starting designers or fashion brands are familiar with the manufacturing process. Some think that you can just hand over a sketch and then the factory takes it from there.  

I hate to spoil your party, but this is not how it works.

You need to give them something more to work with. This “something more” is described in a so called tech pack.

Simply put, a tech pack is the blue print of your design.

A tech pack (short for technical package) is an informative document that tells people what your garment looks like and how it should be made. It is used to communicate with all the different parties during the manufacturing process to make sure that in the end you get exactly what you had in mind.

Other names for a tech pack are: product specifications, technical specifications, manufacturing instructions. Sometimes ‘spec sheet’ or ‘BoM’ (bill of materials) are also used, but technically that are parts of a tech pack.

What information is in a tech pack?

A tech pack consists of several chapters. This and the number of pages depends on the complexity of your garment. A tech pack for a basic T-shirt may only have 4 pages, but a tech pack for a complicated jacket can have 12 pages or more.

The following information is provided in the tech pack (not necessarily in this order).

Detailed sketches

The information in the tech pack is given as visually as possible. This means that most information is given in sketches. These are not given in a separate chapter, but used throughout the document in the different chapters.

These sketches are so called flat sketches; simple 2d drawings. The number of sketches depend on the complexity of the design. For some garments it is enough to show the front and the back, but other designs requires multiple detail sketches.

Bill of materials

The bill of materials (BoM) is a detailed overview of all the necessary materials.  This doesn’t only cover fabrics, but also trims like buttons and zippers, thread, labels and packaging.

It tells the manufacturer what fabrics to use, which thread to use, the dimensions, colors and amounts of the trims and so on.

You can choose to supply the materials yourself, or have the manufacturer to source them. 

Manufacturing instructions

The manufacturing instructions tell the manufacturer how the garment is constructed. This is the most important chapter in the tech pack.

It gives detailed information about which seams and stitches to apply, how large the seam and hem allowances are, where to place the buttons and labels to name a few. The list gets to long if I sum up everything that is in there.

Colorways (if applicable)

The colorways chapter gives an overview of the different color schemes of your design.

If your design only has 1 colorway, then this is already covered in previous chapters.

Specifications sheet (optional)

The specification (spec) sheet gives an overview of all the measurements of your garment. The position where to measure and what the value should be is given.

Usually this information is used to create a grade table. If you work with me, then a tech pack is only created in combination with pattern development. In that case I already know the dimensions of your garment in the different sizes and it is not necessary to mention them again in the tech pack.

They can be added for quality control so you know how to measure the finished product and see if it complies with the given specs.

Artwork (optional)

If necessary, detailed images and description of the placement of any artwork, like embroidery, prints or logo’s is added to the tech pack.

Labels (optional)

If you do not supply the labels yourself but want the manufacturer to supply them, then detailed images and descriptions of the necessary labels are added to the tech pack.

Revisions

A tech pack is not a static document but a living, constantly adapted document.

That’s no problem, as long as you keep track of the changes and refer to the latest version in all your communication.

Tech pack

Download an example of a tech pack

Need a tech pack?

I hope this blog made it clear what a tech pack is. This might be much more than you thought. And this might scare you off from creating one. 

Please don’t. The lack of proper documentation can costs you a lot of time, money and frustration. In the blog “why do you need a tech pack?” I explain why a tech pack is essential.

If you need a tech pack and don’t feel like creating one yourself, I can do that for you. Writing technical documentation has been the red thread throughout my technical career and I’m not scared by the amount of work.

Please note that this service is only provided in combination with pattern development. Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.

Why do you need a tech pack?

Read this to find out why a tech pack is indispensable in the manufacturing process.

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