So you have a clear vision of how you want your collection to look, the fabrics and components have been sourced, patterns have been engineered and Aunty Pauline has whipped up some fantastic samples.
The courier arrives, collects and delivers.
Now all the factory has to do is copy your sample, right? Simply turn that one garment into several duplicates using your fabrics?
Ah, if only life could be that simple.
Enter….Product Data Management. More commonly known as PDM or Tech Pack.
This is a rather arduous but essential part of the garment development process, which, if you skip, could leave you pulling your hair out and whimpering of to your bank manager with your tail between your legs.
“What is a Tech Pack?” I hear you cry.
A Tech Pack acts as a blueprint for each garment in your collection. It’s a very detailed ‘How To’ manual for your sample maker and production unit to follow, leaving absolutely nothing up to interpretation.
You input the information, which then becomes ‘The Bible’ throughout the entire process.
Not only does it allow you to work much more efficiently with your factory, it is also easier to pin point where any errors may have been made if you are needing to dispute the quality of a garment.
Now we have covered what a Tech Pack is used for let’s get to the juicy bits.
“What goes inside my Tech Pack?”
Now, a PDM can be incredibly comprehensive, consisting of dozens of pages featuring numbers, words and diagrams showing every minute detail of the process. This would mainly be used by larger commercial businesses when instructing a production overseas of several thousand pieces.
I am going to take a punt and assume you are starting out with a smaller production, possibly closer to home. Not wanting to completely overwhelm you, I am going to breakdown only the essential specs that are required for small to medium productions:
1. Technical Design Spec
2. Bill of Materials (BOM) & Consumption
3. Thread consumption & Colours
4. Graded Measurement Spec with POM
5. Risk analysis
6. Labelling and Packaging.
To accompany these spec sheets, you will include in your PDM:
1. 1 of 2 identical sealed samples, which show the approved construction. Its ‘twin’ will remain with you to use as a reference.
2. Production order with an expected delivery date.
3. A set of graded patterns, either hard copies or digital.
If you are new to this then this could possibly (most likely!!) be a little overwhelming! But don’t fear! Your superhero knicker maker is here!
“Help! I’m drowning in paper work, I just want to be a designer”
Many designers begin a lingerie label, or swimwear label if you may, because they want to do just that: Design!
Then us technical people put a spanner in the works by demanding all these boring bits and bobs from you.
Well fortunately you don’t need to do it all yourself. Garment Technicians or sampling units can assist you if you are finding it all a little drab. I personally find it rather fun, but maybe I just don’t get out enough!
Here is how it works:
1. You provide the sketch, and any accompanying reference images of similar garments.
2. We do the rest. Hurrah!
Knowledge is power
Even if you decide to completely outsource the paperwork, as most do, it is still wise to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to dissect a spec sheet and know what the heck it is in front of you. After all, you will be coming face-to-face with these little blighters throughout your career lifespan so you may as well make yourselves best of friends.
Now you know what Spec sheets go in the Tech Pack, I will breakdown in more detail what information goes on each of those Spec Sheets.
But, * plays suspenseful music *, this will follow in Part 2 of ‘How to Create a Tech Pack’.
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