29andSeptember Studio

Why grade rules are better than a graded spec (tech pack requirements!)

Industry how to, Industry newsVicki WallisComment
Graded tech packs; what they are + how to use them for fashion design

If you're at the stage where you're ready to send your tech packs to a supplier, congratulations, you've already made huge progress towards getting your designs made! This post focuses on a specific aspect of tech packs. If you're new to the industry, or haven't had tech packs made yet, I would suggest reading this post first, as it covers all of the basics, such as what's included, what a tech pack is + why you need one. So, what are grade rules + graded specs?

Grade Rules;

Grade rules are the difference in measurements between each point of measure on a garment. For example, below is a page from an example tech pack + the grade rules column is highlighted. So point of measure ('POM') 'A' measures 38.5cm with a grade rule of 2.5cm. This means that a size S would measure 36cm, L 41cm, XL 43.5cm.....+ so on. Depending on the type of garment your making, the market you're selling in + the number of sizes you're making, you may have more than one set of grade rules. For example POM 'A' might grade by 2.5cm for sizes XS-L + 3.75cm for sizes XL-XXXL. 

29andSeptember Studio tech packs + why you need them for your fashion business

Graded Spec; 

A graded spec if essentially giving the factory the same amount of information as the grade rules, but in a different format. Below is an example of a graded spec + as you can see, there is a lot happening! This is one of the main reasons why I don't think using a graded spec is a good idea;

  • Most people work with factories overseas's, whose first language isn't English. Communication can be hard + if a factory is confronted with this many numbers, it can be hard for them to know which ones to follow + it's easy for mistakes to happen. You want to make the process as smooth as possible, so by handing over clear measurements that you want the next sample to be made in helps to do this. You don't want to be losing time + having extra samples made because the factory followed the wrong measurements. 
  • If you use a graded spec, you will have to update this every time you change a measurement on a sample (which happens A LOT during the sample process!). You could use a formula, but it's easy to accidentally override + it's still best to do a manual check of anything you're approving. By using grade rules instead of a graded spec, you save a lot of time in updating paperwork.
  • Graded specs aren't usually needed these days for production. Technology advances have meant that most grading is done by computer, where you simply digitise any pattern pieces, enter the grade rules + allow the computer to work out the patterns for the rest of the sizes. Of course, there's still some skill + checking involved, but for the most part grading is a maths equation. It's not necarasry to enter the measurement for every size + every point of measure, because the computer will do the calculation from the grade rules. 
Graded tech packs; what they are + how to use them for fashion design

It's quite a short post today, but something important that I thought I should cover as there's a common misconception that a graded spec is required, but actually they can often cause more work + confusion! 

If you've read my other information on tech packs  you'll know they are very much an evolution + will continue to change right up until you're ready to approve the final order. If you're at the stage where you're waiting for your first sample to arrive, you might find this post helpful, as it covers how to use the tech pack for giving sample feedback. 

As you may know, most of the content on the blog is generated from your struggles, concerns + questions, so if there's something you'd like to see here feel free to let me know in the comments below, or via contact@29andSeptember.com.

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