Techpaks are an important part of development. They are a critical tool to getting accurate production quotes and quality samples. In fact, I just got back from MAGIC and most factories there would not provide a quote on production minimums or pricing without a techpak.
New designers are often overwhelmed by techpaks. Many times they don’t quite understand the purpose of a techpak or what is supposed to be in it. (Side note- if you want a checklist of what should be in a techpak you can get one here——->Techpak Checklist)
If you are a new designer looking to put together a techpak for your designs this does not have to be as complicated as it seems. If you understand how to sew you can put together a basic development techpak on your own. All you need is:
- Clothing construction knowledge (meaning you know how to sew)
- Excel or other spreadsheet software (ex. Google Sheets)
- A way of capturing design images (photos or drawn out)
Let’s go through how these are used to communicate your design to the factory in the techpak.
A Way Of Capturing Design Images
This does not have to be complicated. You only need to be able to draw out (on the computer or by hand) flat sketches of what the front and the back of the design looks like. You must also be able to show any design details such as where the labels go, any pocket details, stitching details etc. (If you’d like a croquis that you can use to draw your garments by hand or in a vector based program like Adobe Illustrator- you can get a croquis template here).
If you cannot draw on the computer or by hand you can take photos of the various elements listed in the techpak. Place the photos in the techpak in place of the illustrations.
One brand I worked with would often have their technical designer draw up the front and back of what the finished design should look like. Their technical designer would also draw up any important design details. They complemented this information with photos of similar garments and notes on what should be different. This gave a great guide to go off when we were creating the sample garment.
You’ll notice that in my techpak template and example– I also included photos of how the finished garment should fit on the body. This is to guide the patternmaker when creating the pattern.
Excel Or Other Spreadsheet Software
Techpaks contain a LOT of information about your design. You’ll want to keep the information somewhere that is easy to organize and easy to update as you move through the development process.
Our own Techpak Template is created in Google Sheets. This is an easy way to organize the information and it can easily be shared with members of our team through Google Drive.
As you’ll see in our template, each page has its own purpose in the development process. The information is easily readable for the factory- making it less likely that they are going to skim or get “lost” in all the details of the techpak.
Clothing Construction Knowledge
Since we are trying to make clothes here, it would be helpful if you understood how the various pieces of your design are sewn together. Providing these kind of details in the techpak can:
- Guide the patternmaker in knowing which pattern pieces are needed to create the garment.
- Guide the samplemaker in understanding how to put your garment together.
Your techpak should include a page with step-by-step sewing instructions on how to sew your garment together. They don’t need to be very elaborate- but they should be more detailed than “sew everything together with ¼” seams in a clean finish”.
I included an example in our techpak checklist that you can review of what good basic step-by-step sewing instructions should look like.
With these tools under your belt you will be able to create a basic techpak that will get you through the first part of the development process- the first pattern and first sample.