Anyone who ever looked into garment production knows the importance of a good tech pack. Indeed, the techpack is the main document that describes the garment. It’s from there that the pattern is created and production, finishing and QC know what to look for. It is used throughout the garment manufacturing process.
So, what is a techpack?
It’s a set of documents that give all the details about a garment. It's sometimes created prior to making the first sample of any new piece of clothing and is composed of sketches and a spec sheet.
A tech pack usually contains the following information:
Brand (the brand the garment is being created for)
Style number (SKU assigned to that model)
Season (the selling season for the garment)
Fabric to use
Target color or wash along with dry treatments
The size scale (what sizes the garment will be produced in)
Front and back sketches
Detailed trim placement (sometimes with pictures of the trim)
Detail thread colors
Target measurements for either just the sample or every size
Any other detail or note regarding that garment
The sketches are used to show the placement of everything and give detailed information about the specifics for the garment. The target measurements are used to make the sample marker and pattern. These measurements define the fit of the garment and are therefore very important. For every type of clothing there is a way to measure each part of the garment. For example, in jeans, the inseam is measured from the bottom of the crotch to the bottom of the leg.
Specsheet with after wash measurements example:
The above example is for a pair of jeans. The after wash target measurements are needed in this case so marking and grading can adjust the marker for fabric shrinkage. This is done by doing a shrink test of every roll that will be used in production. Even for the same fabric and the same lot, each denim roll can have a different shrinkage. There is no need to account for shrinkage in the techpack, the same one can be used with different fabrics.
Tech packs are usually made by specially trained people like technical designers or pattern makers. Many people try to make a techpack on their own, this is not advisable as it is usually ends up being a source of trouble more than anything else. Even a seasoned designer may not be able to make a techpack without proper training.
There are many companies that offer tech pack service. Although they may make it easier to compose the tech pack, it may be difficult to convey to them all the information they need to do it properly.
Do you really need a tech pack?
Certainly, working without a TP is unthinkable. A garment would be very difficult to make without one. Most factories would refuse to work on something that doesn’t have a tech pack. It’s like building a house without plans.
The real question should be do you really need a techpack to start a new garment?
The answer to that is no. For most people who do not have the expertise or someone who can create a tech pack, having the tech pack first is not a necessity to make a pattern. At denimmfg.com every sample and pattern order comes with a techpack.
How to get around making a tech pack before starting a new garment:
Let’s say you want to make a denim jacket and there is no one to make the techpack or give the specification measurements. Since you are probably not reinventing the jacket, you may have an existing jacket in your closet or maybe you can go shopping for a new jean jacket. The goal would be to find a garment that is approximately the same fit of what you are looking for. If it’s a perfect fit, then you can use it as is. If the fit is close but not perfect, you can take it to a tailor and have them make alternation notes. The tailor doesn’t need to make the actual alterations, only give the notes.
Once you have an existing garment with or without alteration notes, take a picture of it front and back. Then either print the pictures or work on them from a computer.
On those pictures, mark exactly what changes should be made to the fit of the jacket. Be sure to add all the details that pertain to the fit and changes to the design. For example, if you want the sleeves to be shorter, indicate it. Same if you want the pocket to be more slanted. It doesn’t have to be precise or pretty, the measurements have to be exact though.
After you have written down all the changes front and back on the pictures themselves, you can take the fit sample jacket, your fit notes and annotated pictures to your pattern maker. They will be able to scan / digitize the jacket you provided.
Scanning doesn’t involve taking the garment apart, you should get it back intact after the pattern is made.
The pattern maker will make the adjustments to the design and fit as per your notes and pictures and generate a zero pattern*. Your pattern maker should be able to make the techpack out of all that information, you may have to provide additional information like trim placement.
*Zero pattern is a term used in denim production to indicate the pattern hasn't been adjusted for shrinkage of the fabric.
Factories that offer full package manufacturing can work from an existing garment and create the tech pack from there.
This method is as precise as making the tech pack prior. It can save some headaches, time and money to people who are not 'technipackly' inclined.
Written by Rony C.
Private Label Connection
tags: garment manufacturing, clothing, garment, clothing manufacturing, pattern, patterns, tech pack, tech packs, techpack, jeans, jacket, design, designer, specsheet, spec sheet, apparel manufacturing process, how to make a tech pack, clothing factory, full package manufacturing, denim, shrinkage, fabric, garment sketch, designing a new garment, jeans manufacturing process, denim jacket