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Garment Tech Pack Basics
Apparel Tech Packs are Necessary
Mastering apparel tech pack basics and having one ready to show a factory is essential to your success. Tech packs are also known as spec sheets or technical documents. I like to think of tech packs as a contract between the designer (you) and the manufacturer. It is a tool for communication. You need to know apparel tech pack basics for the following three reasons. Read more below or ask me for help.
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Three reasons you need to have Tech Packs?


• It communicates all the details of your design.
• It clarifies what is included in the price.
• It protects both sides from misunderstandings.

Three Reasons for Mastering Tech Packs


First reason: If you live in New York City and you are having your garments produced in Ho Chi Minh City, then you will need to communicate your design ideas over a cultural divide. All the details of your garment need to be communicated, understood, discussed and brought to life by a team of people from a different culture, speaking a different language. Tech packs facilitate this process by putting all the design details on paper in numbers, images and text to prevent misunderstandings. Detailed communication is a life saver.
I have written a book for you.
My book covers topics like MOQs, essential fabric knowledge, trim and accessory markets, printing options and tech pack services. I introduce you to key people in my network like agents, quality control companies, freight forwarder and more. Read stories about others who have successfully started production in Vietnam without any previous experience.

Once critical question you need to ask yourself and answer is what are the import taxes for your country and your garment. It's critical to know your shipping costs. I explain how to figure these things out. Read my book for $30 and potentially save yourself $1,000s of dollars. Mistakes can be costly when venturing into a foreign country where you don't speak the language, don't know the business culture and may not be able to meet the MOQs.
Guide to tech pack freelancers
Approaching a sewing factory in Vietnam without tech packs is like walking into Starbucks and not knowing what you want to order. There are people behind you in line; the barista is growing impatient. Not good. Prepare your tech packs in advance. ☺

Here you can download tech pack templates.

Or, you can check out techpacker.com. Tech Packer is an online tech pack service that both you and the factory can access. I met the CEO and founder during a trade show in Hong Kong. Watch my interview video to learn more.

What?! I have to pay more for that!

Second reason you need to know apparel tech pack basics: Beware of a factory that quotes a price without a tech pack. When a price is quoted, the price should be in reference to a tech pack. Last thing you want is for the factory to say, “oh, you want a button there? That will cost you an extra five cents.” When you first approach a factory there is really only one question you should ask, “Would you please quote me a price based on this apparel tech pack?” They will review it and if they have no further questions, they will quote price. At that moment, both sides have a common reference point.
The problem that I often see is that many ‘first-timers’ don’t have tech packs, yet expect a price. This is a disaster in the making – not to mention a waste of time. Getting a “ball park” price from a factory is like expecting your first online date to be love at first sight. Having a grasp on apparel tech pack basics is critical to your success when sourcing a manufacturer in Vietnam.

I recommend you hire a freelance tech pack creator in the US to guide you and finish your tech packs before approaching Vietnam manufacturers.

Do you want to know who is at fault when there are problems?


Yes! Third reason you need a tech pack: When the counter samples and production samples are made AND you are not happy with the results, either the factory did not follow the apparel tech pack or your apparel tech pack is wrong. Either way it is easy to know where the problem lies because it’s written down on paper. A good factory will work with you to fix anything that is unclear; the point here is that you should have professional and thorough apparel tech packs prepared in advance to minimize any guesswork. So, what is included in an apparel tech pack?

Anatomy of an Apparel Tech Pack


The most important part of a tech pack is the size chart. The pattern is made from the size chart so if the size chart measurements are wrong, the fit of your garment will be wrong. Factories don’t want to guess or make multiple revisions to fulfill your expectations. Ideally, your size measurements are right and the factory gets it right the first time. Here is what a professional size chart looks like.
Fabric Specs: You need to clearly list the fabric specifications including knitting or weaving structure, the weight, the pantone color and any special finishing. If you have specific fabric quality standards you need met, then specify it in the tech pack. For example, describe pilling, color fastness and shrinkage requirements.
Stitching: Special stitching instructions need to be explained or else the factory will choose for you. There are more than 20 basic stitching options. If you are making activewear then your garments will have flatlock seams. You need to explain this in the tech pack and make sure the factory has flatlock machines. Apparel tech pack basics!

I love this image because it explains visually the difference between flat lock, overlock and blind stitch. Source Even though the link is talking about sewing wetsuits, the logic applies to sewing fabrics like cotton and polyester. You need to know and understand the difference between flat lock and over lock and specify your stitching expectations in the tech pack.
Embellishment Placement: Where do screen-prints, embroideries, and branding labels go? Typically an apparel tech pack includes CAD drawings of the garment to show exact placement of artwork. I recommend you use centimeters instead of inches because Asia uses the metric system of measurement. Last thing you want is to waste a week of time because the conversion from inches to centimeters was done incorrectly.

Conclusion

Don't Forget: Artwork files need to be attached to the email when you send the tech pack. Folding and packing instructions need to be included. Any information that can help the factory get it right the first time - belongs in a tech pack.

In an ideal world all factories and all designers would use the same template, but unfortunately there is no standard.

3 Things to Remember: Tech packs communicate all the details of your design. They clarify what is included in the price. And finally, they protect both sides from misunderstandings.

More Tips…

Factories will make samples for you
I can take you to visit factories
Garment Packing Available in Vietnam

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Attention: Chris Walker