What is a specification sheet?

Part 3 of the series 'starting a swimwear label'

A specification sheet (or spec sheet) describes the technical aspect of the garment.
In other words, it describes the measurements, an illustration, a description and other information.

Now what can you do with a spec sheet? The patternmaker will need this information in order to create the patterns. So, since the agency told me I needed to get the specs made up (because obviously I didn't know), I went online and searched for a patternmaker in my area who could help me with this. I told her I wanted to start with sizes S, M and L.

The biggest lesson I learned from her is that there are no 'standard' (international) measurements for the sizes S, M or L (or any other size for that matter). It's not like she can open a book where all measurements of every garment possible are described in. No, the designer of the clothes decides what the measurements are, and which size belongs to that. Am I still making sense? That's why every brand has their own fit. That's why you might fit an S t-shirt at shop A but need an M t-shirt at shop B. Seriously, I never thought about it like that..

Luckily my patternmaker helped me with this, and also told me that sampling is the most expensive, and time-consuming part of the whole process. After the first sample (which is hardly ever right at first try), the designer decides what needs to change, which measurements need to be adjusted. Are the straps too long? Too much cleavage? If you move around, does the bikini top stay put? Is it too tight around the waist? Lots can be 'off', and needs to be re-done. 

Because I have no background in fashion at all, it was really hard explaining the patternmaker what I wanted. Try telling someone you want 'more fabric here and here, but less there and there'!? It's really hard if you don't understand the technical aspects. I also couldn't understand what she wrote in the spec sheet (jargon), so based on faith in her, I had the samples made up, and re-done over and over again. Every time something was wrong with it, I just couldn't get satisfied. So yes, it was really time-consuming and expensive, but then again... sooo worth it!!


x Tara




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