The Ultimate Guide to Tech Packs in Clothing (2023)
WHAT IS A TECH-PACK?
A tech-pack is a comprehensive packet of design details that will convey to a manufacturer how a garment is to be produced. It acts as a blueprint throughout the manufacturing process for the supplier to follow and will include all the relevant information a clothing manufacturer would need to confidently produce a garment.
WHAT DOES A TECH PACK CONSIST OF?
A tech-pack generally includes flat sketches, CADs (computer aided designs), colour-ways, sizing information, reference images, labelling and packing information, as well as a bill of materials. Some designers will include more information within their standard tech-pack service, but the above should be a bare minimum.
IS A TECH PACK NECESSARY?
A tech-pack is absolutely necessary when approaching clothing manufacturers. The main reason being security - without a tech-pack, your specification (i.e. the basis of the manufacturing agreement) isn’t clear and concise.
Think of a tech pack like a legal contract - it outlines the specific nature of the product you wish to be manufactured and provided it’s done properly, it covers all bases. If agreed upon, it is now the blueprint that the manufacturer will work to and if there’s any discrepancies, it is much easier to resolve.
HOW MUCH SHOULD A TECH PACK COST?
The cost of a tech pack will depend on the complexity of the design, but the pricing in the UK will range from £80 - £350 per design.
One common objection we see from prospects is the cost. After all, it’s a lot of money to spend without receiving a physical item, or sample.
That being said, the value of a tech pack is in its ability to convey the specific nature of a garment to a factory. Consequently, you’ll find that the cost of a tech pack is often less than the additional cost you’d incur sampling without one.
“In fact, we conducted an in-house study and found that clients who came to us with tech-packs were 82% more likely to hit production in 2 rounds of sampling, or less.”
To put this into context, the average cost of a sample is £100 - £250 depending on the complexity. The average rounds of sampling for a client without a tech-pack was 4.5 and the average for a client with tech-packs was 1.8.
This means that those who had tech packs produced saved on average £300 - £750 per design within sampling.
HOW TO CREATE A TECH PACK
To reiterate- tech-packs act as an in-depth form of communication to your clothing supplier to ensure you minimise the risk of misinterpretation. The actual content of them can vary from project to project, but generally they will always consist of:
- Flat sketches
- CADs (computer aided designs)
- Mood boards/ inspirations/ extractions from other product to show execution
- Fabric placement and overall garment construction
- Materials list or bill of materials (BOM)
Sketches, descriptions and CADs:
Your tech-pack, at the bare minimum should always contain a basic sketch of the front and the back of the garment alongside a description of the product. When we create tech-packs for clients, we include CADs as a standard part of our service, but not every design agency does so.
The main difference between a flat sketch and a CAD is that the first will be a basic 2d sketch to show patterns, whilst the latter is often a 3D rendering which includes colour-ways, logo / artwork placement and fabric detailing.
This element isn't absolutely crucial but it is helpful when conveying where your ideas originated from and tends to act as a nice bench mark for manufacturers to help them establish how the overall style will piece together.
This is where we'd include images of particular products to highlight minor details and applications.
It is particularly important for fabric, branding applications (i.e. print, embroidery and so on) as well as trims and labelling information.
Fabric placement and overall garment construction:
This is where all the appropriate garment assembly points will be made- including: different fabrics used in certain areas, cuts and stitching placement as well as small details like labels.
This is one of the more crucial elements of a tech pack and where a lot of the value lies. Without this particular section, it can be quite hard for a manufacturer to asses how to approach a given design.
Materials list or BOM:
This section is where the specific fabric requirements are listed for an item. Basic products like t-shirts, dress shirts and basic dresses might have a more straightforward BOM section, whereas jackets, coats and products with both inner and outer linings are a little bit more complicated.
Measurements / size chart
Measurements of a product is often what makes an item unique to your brand. Different retailers and businesses will want garments to fit in different ways and a size chart is where this information is conveyed to the garment manufacturer.
Size charts will generally include a grade from a base size (i.e. M) and will break down the critial points of measure for all sizes across the split you require.
It is also important to ensure you have a tolerance level per measurement. This is to specify what you would accept within the bulk as an acceptable degree of variance and what is outside of this agreement.
WHERE TO GET TECH PACKS MADE
There are a lot of resources available to help you create your own tech packs and whilst we’re advocates for learning processes and trying to do things as resourceful as possible, we do think such a crucial element like a specification should be left to those who do them day in, day out
Below is a comprehensive list of places you can get tech packs made
PROS - UK based, clothing supplier by trade so clear communication between those designing and those manufacturing. Extensive, experienced team.
CONS - Exclusive with selection of clients based on certain criteria
PRICE PER DESIGN -£120
PROS - Great portfolio, includes consultancy
CONS - Prices are high, not UK based
PRICE PER DESIGN - £1,200
PROS - UK based, offering both tech packs and 3D renderings
CONS - Prices favour 5+ styles
PRICE PER DESIGN - £200 - £300
4. Thread and Butter Design Agency
PROS - Specialises in a wide range of styles
CONS - Not UK based, pricing is higher than alternative options
PRICE PER DESIGN - £300
PROS - A lot of experience
CONS - High prices per design for anything under 10 designs
PRICE PER DESIGN - £429
FAQs (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
- What are tech packs used for?
Tech packs are used to tell a garment manufacturer how you want a product made. It acts as a blueprint which is followed throughout the sampling and mass production stages.
- How long does it take to make a tech pack?
The actual time it takes to make a tech pack will depend on the complexity of the design, but on average it takes around 2 - 4 hours per design.
- Does a tech pack include a pattern?
This will often depend on what the designer you use includes in their services, but generally it would not. Patterns are often created based on the size chart within a tech pack, but is a stand-alone-service.
- What is the difference between a tech pack and spec sheet?
A specification (spec) sheet is generally one of the pages within a tech pack. The above phrases are often used interchangeably but generally mean the same thing. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to speak clarify with your garment designer.
- Does a tech pack include a sample?
No, a tech pack is a specification which is built for a supplier to then manufacture samples and the bulk production to but a tech pack does not include physical samples, or proptypes