How to Create a Tech Pack in 6 Simple Steps

A Good Tech Pack is Key to Production

Going into production when you're establishing your clothing line from the ground up may be an intimidating concept. It's overwhelming to source fabric, identify a factory, and then put together a fashion tech pack (a phrase you might of just recently discovered).

Perhaps you work for a brand, and while previous seasons were developed without tech packs (since you might have been producing locally), you know that mistakes in sampling and production would be reduced if you took the time to create these "blueprints".

What is a Tech Pack?

A tech pack (short for technical packet) is a construction document that describes to a supplier or a clothing manufacturer how to make a specific garment. It includes key information that a clothing manufacturer would need to create the garment in the exact way you desire. In this blog we will discuss how you can easily create your own tech pack.

The steps

1. Visual Mock-Up

You will need to include a visual mockup. This is a fashion illustration, and it is meant to portray the aesthetic look of the design. It does not have to be very technical, but it has to show a general idea of the fit, where certain seams are located, and how the garment is constructed overall. You should aim to create a coloured mockup with clear directions of the trims and the garment material specifications. The material specifications should include the composition, the weight, the grams per square meter weight, and the fabric finish. You should also include how many colours you want in the tech pack. For instance, if your tech pack has three colours, you must show the three different colours and specify for each sheet number what colourway from amongst the set of colours you require. In terms of specifying colours, the industry standard is to use Pantone colour codes, we would recommend downloading the Pantone Studio app. This is going to give you access to the main key Pantone guides that you will need. For fabric colours using a TCX guide is a better alternative.

There is an assortment of ways to construct mockups for your tech pack. You can start with a very basic version and then build it iteratively to form a detailed mockup over time. For your basic version, you can use a flat illustrator sketch to create a simple looking mockup to visually represent the apparel piece. For a more customized sketch, digital programs like Procreate or Affinity Designer apps for the Ipad are useful tools to have. If you desire a 3D illustration then programs like Marvelous Designer or Cloth 3D can be utilised to digitally produce 2D patterns and model them onto mannequins. If you wish to get an accurate look at how the mock-up or the garment piece is going to look then software like Key Shots can be utilised to apply life-like materials. As you might of guessed, there are many tools to help you design your mockups, and it all depends on you skill level and your tolerance to get stuck in that will decide what tools you can use. Our choice from the consortium of tools is Illustrator, Procreate and Marvel's Designer. These provide all the features to develop a detailed mock-up. You must make sure that you are getting your idea across as much as possible in your mockups, so there is no room for error later in the production line.

2. Sizing Guide

A size guide chart in your tech pack is a document that appropriately represents the measurements for your size range within your brand. Typically, the size guide chart is characterized by 4 main measurements: bust, waist, hip and height but more specifications can be added depending on the fabric and design. It is a general rule of thumb for men to go for a split of small to extra large, and for women, to go for a split of extra small to large. The idea is to lay out the mockups and key measurements to give the clothing manufacturer size ideas for them to express what specific measurements you are looking for. For instance, for a T-shirt, your tech pack would specify the centre back length, the chest width, the waist width, the bottom width, the sleeve length, the cuff width, and the neck width. You will lay those out on the mockups with the letters on top of each corresponding arrow. You can see how those measurements are grading over time by taking this approach. Grading is the term used to express the way a measurement changes on a garment for different sizes. How you grade a garment is very important, it lets you know how a size LARGE would fit a design made for size SMALL if it was scaled up and vice versa.

3. Technical Drawing

Your tech pack should include a technical drawing that consists of a flat CAD sketch that will accurately portray how a garment is supposed to fit. This drawing will need to be very detailed. If you think of the product as a building, this part is essentially the model that maps out sections of a building. For this part, your illustration must include the sleeve, the collar and the chest in the form of a flat 2D sketch. You can think of this sketch as if you took a T-shirt and you laid it flat out and you started measuring it out. AutoCAD by Autodesk or Rhinoceros 3D by McNeil are tools that you can use to help you design this illustration. Producing high-level technical drawings at this stage will produce a great fit for your garment in production, so it is an important part to consider.

4. Spec Sheet

A spec sheet is a diagram that contains real-life images of specific details that reference (or aid) the mockups. Sometimes it is tough to show certain details because of how intricate and complex they are in nature. The model itself cannot adequately show or convey these ideas. The spec sheet uses real-life images from existing products to better communicate elaborate ideas. For instance, if you have a certain fabric finish or you have a certain hardware trim that you're using like a buckle or a zipper, you want to show these from real-life images. A great place to get these detailed images is on Pinterest. Once you search for a certain detail on Pinterest, you will be able to get a lot of high-quality close-ups.

5. Colour Schedule

The Colour schedule is a reference to the colour codes you used on the mockups. It consists of a table with different colours. For instance, if you have five colours, you will have a table with five rows, where each row will have a colour, a number, a Pantone code, a Pantone guide, an RGB and a little swatch to show what colour it is. A colour schedule is a way of summarizing all the different colours that are included within the tech pack in a concise way.

6. Tag and Label Inclusion

For your tech pack, you should finalize your tags, labels, and any graphics you have. For instance, if you have a graphic on a waistband or you use a certain pattern you want to make sure that you label your detail and it is apparent to which parts of the garments that you want the artwork to be used for. You can have different types of tags such as a care label. A care label can exist on the left or the bottom left of any garment and will usually specify the sizing information, the company logo, the country of origin, washing instructions and the composition. You could also have a brand label, which is a loop label that contains the brand and the sizing information on it. Additionally, you can have a printed neck tag that has the company website, some basic washing information, and the logo. You must decide what form of tagging is to be used and must communicate it clearly in your tech packs.

If you have a sizing label, you should factor all valid sizes (e.g. small, large etc). You should have a tag for each proposed size. The supplier or clothing manufacturer should know exactly what each tag looks like to remove any room for confusion. In this phase, you will also need to include additional details about packaging. Any hand tags or specific pieces of hardware trim should be included in the tech pack.

Conclusion

Whether you are new to the world of fashion or you recently launched a fashion line, we at Olobird can help you create your tech pack. At Olobird, we help fashion brands grow with our one-stop, end-to-end manufacturing solution. We help develop product ideas, create tech packs, produce FREE samples, manufacture from top clothing manufacturers (the same ones who manufacture for Boss, Puma, M&S, GymShark, and many others) and handle shipment. With OloBird there is no minimum order quantity requirement, thus, ensuring both quality and flexibility to our customers. Olobird’s clients do not have to worry about the lengthy process of creating their dream fashion line. We take the hassle out of the process whilst they can focus on building their brand. For more information on what we do you can visit www.olobird.com.