miércoles, 10 de agosto de 2016


No matter how many books you read, your first season can be quite confusing, especially as a beginner. There are so many different steps and terminology to learn: tech pack, patterns, prototypes, pattern revisions, samples, more revisions, second samples. You might wonder: when does production actually start?


Apparel “samples” actually refers to a series of different items produced for different purposes during the development process. Note that each type of sample has alternative names.

1.  Muslin (a.k.a. dummy, mock-up, drape, prototype, proto)

This is the very first concept sample, typically sewn in an inexpensive fabric. It’s a loose take of your design used to visualize an idea in three-dimensional form. A rough muslin typically excludes extras such as bags and trims  – it’s created for pure focus on construction. For some smaller brands, the muslin is also known as the prototype. This may go through multiple iterations of prototypes before you finalize your pattern.


2 .     Fit sample (a.k.a. first sample, original sample, sample test garment, development sample, design sample, style reference, parent pattern)
This sample is created from your first pattern and used to ensure the desired fit of the garment. Muslins or prototypes are often used hand-in-hand as fit samples.

3.  Sew-by sample (a.k.a costing sample, pre-production, pre-pro, P/P)
Used by factories, this sample reflects all of the construction information needed to produce the style. Factories use this sample to estimate cost of production. Any changes to the design after a factory has reviewed a sew-by sample could mean going through the quoting process again. For a cost effective-alternative, your finalized prototype could also be designated your sew-by sample.­

4Sales sample (a.k.a counter sample, duplicate)
This sample is sewn by your factory in order to prove the production costs along with the quality of assembly. You can then use this sample for marketing and presentation to buyers.

5.  Photo sample (a.k.a model size, flat sample, editorial sample)
This is self-explanatory. Photo samples are made to the size of model you are using for product photography. If you aren’t using a model for your lookbook or e-commerce imagery, it is still recommended that you have smaller size photo samples that can fit into into frame of the camera.

6. Size run (a.k.a size set, sizing sample)
These are a full suite samples made in each size that the style will be sold in, made to ensure appropriate grading of the style and the fit of each garment. One way to save a bit of money, in fabric and trimming as well as cut and sew costs, would be to produce every other size.

7.  Top of production (a.k.a TOP)
This set of samples is taken off the line during your first production order. The number of TOPs you receive is typically a percentage of the full production order in each variation, but this can get expensive. One way to save costs would be to keep your TOP percentage very low. For small batch orders, one or two garments per variation should suffice.

Why are Multiple Samples Necessary?
There are many reasons why it’s recommended to make multiple samples. You don’t have to cut them all at once. You may want just one prototype while you are working with your designer, but then order a new sample when you add another person to the chain.
Samples eliminate errors
We’ve all had a nightmare shopping experience in which what was advertised looked very different from what arrived in the mail. Maybe the arms fit strangely. Maybe the fabric began pilling unexpectedly after 2 washes. Samples allow you to minimize such issues before production begins.

Samples save time
You will likely have multiple partners in development and production: a designer, a patternmaker, each factory you plan to seek quotes from, photographers, buyers, and so forth. If you only have one sample, then each other partner will have to wait until they receive the sample from someone else. Having just one sample slows down an already long process, and if something happens to your sample along the way, then you are out of luck!
Real-life scenario
Say you have only one sales sample. It fits perfectly, and every detail is exactly how you want it. Your patternmaker needs the sample for pattern revisions, your potential manufacturer needs to use your sample for price quotes and sourcing, and you also have a buyer interested in your collection who needs to evaluate the samples. With only one sample in hand, are in a situation where each stakeholder had to wait their turn. You might slip to the bottom of their list of customers to get to.
Check our sample evaluation module in the Apparel & Footwear solution for SAP® Business One. 


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