Pre-Production 101: 3 Tips for Fashion Designers
Seeing your designs go into production is both exciting and nerve-wracking. What if all the hard work you put into designing your clothing line goes to waste because the manufacturing company didn’t understand how you wanted the hem to be trimmed, or because they messed up how a seam was stitched?
To avoid such complications—and the inevitable headaches they’ll cause—make sure you follow these three expert tips for pre-production.
A Thoroughly Detailed Tech Pack
Considering that a tech pack is essentially a blueprint of your design, it’s highly recommended that it’s detailed to the point that it feels almost extraneous. If you want the best possible result at the lowest costs, it’s crucial that you ensure that the factory can produce the garment without having to get back to you with questions.
Here is everything your tech pack should include:
Tech Sketch: This a detailed black and white sketch that depicts your design’s construction with precision and accuracy. In order to help convey the design as clearly as possible, include close-ups, various angles, and of course, front and back sketches.
Construction: You need to specify what kinds of seaming, stitching, finishing, etc. will need to be applied to each part of the garment.
Trims: Never forget to specify the type, color, size, and location of buttons, zippers, elastic, etc. on the garment.
Fabrics: It’s important to explain the kinds of fabric used and where they’re used. The fabric used for the body of the garment is likely to be different from the one used for the lining and pocketing. Be sure to include color sketches with labels that clearly specify which fabrics and which colors go where.
Spec Callouts: Provide accurate measurements of pocket sizes and placements, seam-line placements, etc.
Labeling: Include the locations of branded labels on the garment.
Folding/Packing: Provide specific instructions on the folding and packing methods for the garment. Also include information on any additional materials required, such as cardboard sleeves, tissue, or polybags.
To enhance your tech pack, include photo references of the designs that inspired you and resembling ensembles that you wish to replicate. A picture will go a long way in crystallizing specific construction details, trim designs, and stitch types. Pictures will also complement the sketches you send, and further reduce the chances that you receive a prototype that doesn’t meet your requirements.
To make pre-production a more streamlined process for both you and the garment manufacturing company, include physical reference samples along with photos and sketches.
Devise a budget for pre-production sampling and then add physical references such as specific sleeve, cuff or hem construction details. Consider sewing a mock sample if you have the time and resources. Physical references will make the factory’s job a lot easier and will end up costing you far less in the long run.
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