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What is a Fashion Spec Sheet and why you need one?

In essence, the Fashion Spec Sheet is the “blueprint” for your garment production, as it contains all the necessary components required to manufacture it. Let’s see its importance and how you can create one.

Whether you like it or not, being creative is not enough. You need to be able to communicate clearly your idea to the makers, who can be next door or halfway across the world. To avoid the risk of being misunderstood, which will lead to a waste of time and money, certain admin and processes must take place.

As in architecture, you cannot build a good building without a blueprint – in fashion, you cannot create a product without a Fashion Spec Sheet.

What is a Fashion Spec Sheet?

A SPECIFICATION SHEET commonly referred to as “Spec Sheet,” is produced to provide essential details to ensure the correct execution of your designs into professionally finished garments. It should be given to the factory whenever a sample needs to be made and when you issue a docket. This will enable the factory and the production staff to know exactly what is supposed to happen with the construction and trims for each style.

When the factory has a complete set of detailed instructions, the execution of accurate samples will improve turnaround time and simplify communication during each stage of manufacturing and quality control.

The Fashion Spec Sheet should be produced prior to the issue of a sample or production docket, with a copy kept in the file attached to the costing sheet. If any changes occur such as design or component changes, these changes must be accurately reflected on the Fashion Spec Sheet.

In essence, the Fashion Spec Sheet is the “blueprint” for your garment production, as it contains all the necessary components required to manufacture it. With this essential tool to hand, and after your samples have been approved, you could move your production to any factory anywhere you want.

The Princesse Tam Tam company was dealt a heavy blow in 2008 when its founders were killed during a terrorist attack in Mumbai. However, the company still continues to trade to this day as its owners were astute enough to understand the importance of best practices pertaining to technical files.

Why is a Fashion Spec Sheet Important?

A Spec Sheet is also useful as a resource document for purchasing materials and trims, and in future years it could be referred to in order to revisit a vintage design.

The Fashion Spec Sheet also puts you in a position of financial security. If the factory chooses to ignore any of the information on the Sheet, and do their own thing, they will be at fault. In the event that this should occur, you will be in a stronger position to ask for your money back or to seek legal aid.

It includes detailed technical drawings, also known as flats, along with construction notes, finished garment measurements, fabric yields and material and trim details.

Cuttings of fabrics and trims should also be attached to the Sheet.

Some designers even choose to also include the measurement grades between sizes as well as the detailed size gradation for the garments.

What do You Need to Create a Fashion Spec Sheet?

  • SKETCH: Front and backline drawing with the measurement details for the garment. Drawn by hand or computer.
  • FABRIC DETAILS: Swatches, Product code, Fibre content and supplier details.
  • PoMs (Points of Measure)*: The various size measurements of the required item. The PoM will be used to check that the measurements are correct on the finished garment.
  • PRINT INSTRUCTIONS: Information regarding the type of print on the garment and its placement.
  • EMBROIDERY INSTRUCTIONS: Information regarding the type of embroidery, its size and placement.
  • STITCH INSTRUCTIONS: Details of stitch type, thread to be used, and stitch length.
  • GARMENT WASHING INSTRUCTIONS: Details of wash finishes for items such as denim garments.
  • ACCESSORIES INSTRUCTIONS: Trim details, fastenings required with product codes, fibre content and supplier details.
  • LABEL INSTRUCTIONS: Placement details for brand logo labels and care labels.
  • COMMENTS SECTION: Used by the factory to make a note of anything related to the construction of the garment.

Now, this Spec Sheet is a part of a much bigger picture called Tech Pack or as we like to call it, a Spec Pack.

>>> Related reading: Get your FREE Spec Pack Checklist <<<

* The Points of Measure ( PoM) are very important to ensure accurate execution of the garment during its production.

Below are some basic PoMs that should be included on the Fashion Spec Sheet, for different garments:

Fashion Spec Sheet for TOPS

HPS (High Point Shoulder): Located at the highest point of the shoulder, where the shoulder seam meets the neckline.

CF (Centre Front): An invisible line that runs vertically down the centre of the front of the garment.

CB (Centre Back): An invisible line that runs vertically down the centre of the back of the garment.

SS (Side Seam): The seams on the right and left sides of the garment from the hem to the base of the armhole.

Fashion Spec Sheet for JACKETS/DRESSES

Body Length: The garment length from HPS to the bottom of the hem, measured through the centre.

Across Chest: This measurement is taken 2.5cm below the armhole, horizontally from edge to edge.

Waist: This measurement is usually taken horizontally from edge to edge and at a distance of 39cm below the HPS.

Hip: This measurement is usually taken horizontally from edge to edge and at a distance of 61cm below the HPS.

Garment Base Width: The measurement of the bottom edge of the garment is taken horizontally straight across from edge to edge.

Sleeve Length: The distance from the top of the sleeve to the hem of the sleeve.

Bicep: Measured 2.5cm below the armhole, perpendicular to the length of the sleeve.

Armhole Curved: This measurement is taken along the curve of the armhole seam where the bottom armhole meets the side seam, to where the top of the armhole meets the shoulder seam.

Shoulder Drop: The measurement from the HPS to the shoulder seam at the armhole.

Neck Opening: The measurement from neck seam to neck seam at HPS.

Fashion Spec Sheet for TROUSERS

Upper Waist: Measured by aligning the front and back waistbands and measuring straight across the top of the waistband from edge to edge.

Lower Hip: This is obtained through the 3 point method using three points of measure marked at a certain distance below the top waist at the sides and CF.

Thigh: This measurement is taken 2.5cm below the crotch seam, perpendicular to the trouser leg from side to side.

Knee Opening: This measurement is taken 30.5cm below the crotch, and perpendicular to the trouser leg from side to side.

Leg Opening: This measurement is taken horizontally across the bottom edge of the leg opening.

Front Rise: This measurement is taken at the centre front seam, from the crotch seam to the top of the front waistband.

Back Rise: This measurement is taken at the centre back seam, from the crotch to the top of the back waistband.

Inseam: This measurement is taken at the inner leg seam, from the crotch seam to the leg opening.

Fashion Spec Sheet for FOOTWEAR

The measurements used when producing footwear are related to the lasts that are used to create the particular design. “Lasts” are complex structures compiled from many foot measurements. The finished last is not the exact size or dimension of the anatomical foot but instead an abstract representation with specific functions.

The last is the single most important element in the shoe-making process and is made from detailed measurements to ensure proper size and fit of the shoe including the tread and shoe performance. Standard measurements include girth of ball, waist, and instep for given shoe sizes relative to the type of footwear.

The majority of the measurements are based on the foot volume rather than the usual length and width associated with the fit of the shoe.

Throat opening: Taken from the vamp point to the back-seam tuck.

Length: Taken from the back of the heel to the tip of the longest toe.

Ball girth: Taken around the ball of the last to determine the volume and the width.

Waist girth: Taken from the girth at the waist of the last.

Instep girth: Taken of the circumference around the foot at the instep.

Heel girth: Taken from the rear base of the heel to the top of the instep.

Recede toe: Taken from the point that projects beyond the tip of the toes.

Fashion Spec Sheet for JEWELLERY

Accurately measuring irregularly-shaped jewellery can be challenging. The standard format for recording measurements of three-dimensional items are as follows: Height x Width x DepthDiameter, or Length.

Distinguishing between Width and Depth can be confusing, and sometimes it’s helpful to imagine placing a clear box or cube over your entire object. Now, imagine you are measuring the box – height first, then width, then depth (front to back).

For jewellery set with stones, always include measurements of the width and depth of the setting, not just the overall object.

For watches, measure the width and length of the case and the length of the band.

How to Measure for a Spec Sheet?

Height: The vertical measurement from the base of an object to its tallest point.

Width: The horizontal measurement of the widest point of the front of an object, farthest left and right of centre.

Depth: The horizontal measurement of an object’s protrusion into space, perpendicular to the object’s width.

Diameter: The measurement of the width of the circular object at its largest point.

Length: The length measurement when the size of the item from end to end is important to determine how it will fit. This applies to items such as necklaces, watch bands, and bracelets.

Interior Circumference: The distance around the interior of a circular object, such as a bangle bracelet.

Is the Fashion Spec Sheet an absolute essential for successful communication and fashion design? Yes indeed. You’ll have more credibility with manufacturers, and have a clear overview of what you’re creating and how it’s developing. There are far too many variables for you to keep track of without one.

Remember, all of this information is needed for EACH product that you create. It’s obvious that you’ll need to work carefully and methodically to put it all together in a style that works for you, and you may even need to call in a few favours. The resources below will guide you in your efforts.

Where Can You Create a Spec Sheet?

With so much information required in a Fashion Spec Sheet it’s probably a good idea to make tech your “new best friend.”

Drawings can be done through the Adobe Suite, specifically Illustrator. Or if drawing flats is a little too technical for you, find someone on PeoplePerHour or a similar platform to find a freelancer to help you.

Take photographs of relevant changes to samples, at fit meetings, and add to your Fashion Spec Sheet as revisions.

Now that you know what a Spec Sheet is, know the difference between a Spec Sheet and a Spec Pack.

If you have any questions about this article or general feedback then please do not hesitate to let us know in the comments below. 

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