What is a Tech Pack?

Have you ever wondered what a tech pack is, and wondered what one of these mysterious items can do for you and your business?

Have you ever wondered what a tech pack is, and wondered what one of these mysterious items can do for you and your business?

Well, wonder no more! Today, in this short blog post, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about tech packs and whether or not you need to get to work on crafting your very own right now...

First of all, let’s handle the basics…

What is a tech pack?

A tech pack (shor for technical packet or specification sheet) is a set of documents created by a designer, technical designer, pattern maker or product designer to give to a manufacturer so that they can turn that information into an actual product for your customers to buy. 

Simply put, a tech pack is a blueprint created by a designer. A tech pack will contain all the information your manufacturer will need to turn your design into a finished product. Think materials, gradings, seams, colorways, measurements, trims, labels and more. Thanks to a tech pack, your manufacturer will have all the details they need to provide you with some awesome samples.

What’s the point?

Well, a tech pack helps your manufacturer get things JUST right. This not only helps you to receive a final product that actually suits your needs, but it also helps your manufacturer to avoid creating too many samples in the manufacturing process; meaning that the product can be brought to market faster. 

When you give your manufacturer a tech pack (and most of them will not start creating your product until you do), you’ll also be able to track product development. This means that any comments, revisions or changes to be made to your product can easily be found and looked up in one place.

In short, it helps you communicate all the specifications and details of the designed garment or accessory, it clarifies what needs to be included in the price and finally, it prevents confusion and misunderstanding.

What’s included in a tech pack?

Your product needs to be seen from ALL angles. Yes, really - all of them! 

You’ll need to make sure that you provide the manufacturer with detailed information (preferably annotated diagrams) to show them exactly what you’re expecting in terms of your product. Make sure to include the following:

You’ll need to provide one size for your manufacturer to create a sample for you. When you do this, make sure to let them know about measurement specs (though this can usually be done after receiving your first sample). Your factory will grade by size range and fill out your measurement chart. Include your tolerance range for each point of measurement to check them against the sample and to allow you to request changes if they don’t fit. You should also include your point of measurement diagrams; which will help your manufacturer to visually represent your measurements. Sketches and labelled arrows work best for this.

You’ll also have to make sure that you include details about the garments - specifically the kinds of things you can’t always see clearly on a diagram. Think collars, plackets, cuffs, fastenings, bar tacks, seams, stitching details, packets, pleats, embroideries, prints, labels, buttons, tags, threads, trims, fastenings, embellishments and artwork placements. 

You’ll need to provide a Bill of Materials. This simply means a list of all the physical elements and their location on the garment (fabrics, buttons, labels, tags, threads, pads, lining, etc.) You should include information about the materials of your garment, too. Think raw materials (named), colorways, composition, weight, finish as well as a supplier for the above if you have one. 

Be sure to let your manufacturer know about the stitches and seams (stitches per inch, seam’s width, seam allowances and seam ISO numbers). And make sure that your manufacturer is up to date on brand components and their placements, including labels, hang tags, embroideries or small prints.

A small but mighty admin point you don’t want to leave out is to always (and on every single page) include your company name, sample size, date, changes made, requests and versions. This is so that there won’t be any room for error when it comes to your manufacturer getting you exactly what you need. You should also include information about your order (desired delivery date, bulk production delivery address and details, as well as packaging information) so that communication between you and your manufacturer is A-OK. 

Final round-up

Now that you know everything you need to know about tech packs and you’re well on the way to creating your very own, let’s end this short post with a round up of the reasons why you need to get started on your very own tech pack right away…

  1. Perfect samples: if you want to save you and your manufacturer time when it comes to delivering perfect samples so you can safely say GO GO GO… you need a tech pack.
  2. Accurate pricing: if you want to have an estimate that reflects the actual manufacturing cost: make sure your tech pack is as accurate as possible. Your manufacturer will be able to break pricing down for you when referring to the tech pack: so you both know exactly what to expect when the quote comes around, which ultimately helps you in your own pricing and cash-flow control.
  3. Hold your manufacturer accountable: having a solid tech pack ensures your manufacturer knows exactly what’s expected of him, so you can both go into the situation with your own expectations when it comes to outcomes.
  4. Save you time and money: though creating a perfect tech pack takes a little upfront investment when it comes to your energy and money; it’s well worth it. You can track changes and comments as well as do all of the above, simply by getting ahead and creating a tech pack for your manufacturer.

When problems happen during production both sides will blame each other. In fact, if the tech packs are accurate and complete then the problem and solution will present itself within the tech pack. Either the designer made a mistake in the tech pack or the factory misunderstood the tech pack. The tech pack acts as a common reference point to resolve the problem. Make sure that you aren't causing the problem.

As more and more businesses rely on long distance relationships with their suppliers and manufacturers, communication is more important than ever. This is why things like tech packs are so important, as they help you to set the tone and set your expectations right from the get-go. 

If you need any more information when it comes to creating your very own tech pack, click here - we’d be happy to help!

What is a Tech Pack? (From Jason C)

Simple answer: A Tech Pack is a document that defines a set of requirements that a product must meet.

Elaborated: A tech pack (short for technical packet or some call it specification sheets) is a set of documents created by a designer, tech designer, pattern maker or sometimes product developer to explain design to a manufacturer so they can turn the information into a product. With outsourced production, many contractors and factories won’t take work unless the designer provides a clear tech pack. Your tech pack is the “contract”, it’s the “bible” of a product.

Below is the style cover page of a basic tech pack

The tech pack is at the core of product development and production and all the parties involved can feed or extract information from it. However a tech pack has now evolved to solve various other functions too like tracking everything from design decisions to fit changes to material approvals. This applies if you want to order ten pieces of a style, or ten thousand pieces. Below are the *8 reasons why Tech Packs are extremely important:*

1. Accurate Samples

During the development phase, a tech pack communicates the designer’s aesthetic intent so that the initial sample made by a pattern maker or a factory can be as close as possible to the designer’s look. (First edit. ) However, it is to be argued if only having a good tech pack gets you accurate samples made. Although tech packs play a major part, other factors like experience, capable manufacturer and skills, available raw materials etc. are also important.

2. Accuracy in price quotation

A tech pack provides information to factories such as material required, consumption and time it takes for each process, so they can determine an accurate price quote to produce a style.

3. Agreement

A tech pack serves as documentation for the agreed upon materials, construction methods, significant points of measurements etc.

Once production is ready to start, the tech pack becomes the reference document (a contract) according to which all parties agree to operate. It's a de facto contract between designers and their manufacturers. That's when a complete tech pack can come in handy as a document support to avoid such conflicts if the manufacturer uses the wrong materials or changes the design.

4. Quality control – actual materials (Bill of Materials)

When the product is finished, the tech-pack is used as a reference to verify if you got what you asked for. It’s a tool to prove the agreed standards, especially when you are producing with contractors or factories overseas. On the other hand, tech packs are also used to verify the point of measurements, sizing quality, checking labels, or anything that should be the part of a routine QA process. Basically, the tech packs become the bible of a design.

5. Organize & Archived information

A tech pack contains the entire design related information in it . If in case something goes wrong with the factory developments, it serves as a great reference to identity and point out the problematic areas to the factories to revise those errors.

6. Track submit & approvals

It tracks everything from design decisions to fit changes to material approvals. Tech packs are used in the fitting stage to document what you get in your sample Vs what you asked for. And even logs the new changes that the designer/tech designer makes after reviewing the fit samples.

7. Save time & money (Most efficient method of communication)

It may take additional time to create a tech pack in the beginning but when calculated the actual time and cost, a tech pack saves time and money in each process both in product development and production phase. When anytime anyone has a question, the first place they will refer to is a tech pack to look for answers. It’s quick and easy to find answers here instead of spending time finding through the communication histories in your long email threads. Loss of time and money can be avoided from wrong samples, development cost and logistics of samples by using a tech pack.

8. Collaborate

A tech pack creates a collaborative environment to collectively address issues that cannot be addressed individually. It bridges the boundaries so that product development decisions can be better informed and effective. The designer or the buying company may not necessarily know exact measurements but enough to illustrate design intent such as where will the skirt fall on the leg? Any placement issues of pockets trim details, any finishing details that would be important to design. Then a pattern maker and sample room managers should be able to help to make those measurements more accurate or technically correct.

How do you make a tech pack?

There are many different ways that designers create Tech Packs such as Adobe Illustrator, Excel , FREE Fashion Apps like: Techpacker

If you need any more information when it comes to creating your very own tech pack, click here - we’d be happy to help!

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