DIY Technical Design Section 6: Bill of Materials and Color
DEVELOPING YOUR FIRST APPAREL PRODUCT OR ACCESSORY
SECTION 6: BILL OF MATERIALS & COLOR
BILL OF MATERIALS
First thing’s first, let’s review what the Bill of Materials page in the Tech Pack is. Your Bill of Materials (BOM) page will house all of the materials and findings that go into making your product. This includes everything from the label material and stitching to the main body fabric. You will list the materials along with their details such as type, quantity, color, finish, and more.
In the industry, an entire team is devoted to sourcing trims and fabrics for a company. As a small company or startup it can be overwhelming to do it all yourself so talk to your factory and rely on them where you can.
To see how I set up my BOM page template check out Section 1 of DIY Technical Design where I walk you through my full Tech Pack template tutorial. You can, of course, customize your BOM page to fit your unique needs. Remember that not every section will apply for every item and therefore you only need to fill in the fields that apply. Here’s the set up I use and what’s included in each section:
Included on the BOM page you will have 9 columns:
DESCRIPTION - A descriptive title of the item such as the fabric or trim name.
ex: Double Knit Jersey or Back Neck Tape
PLACEMENT - Where the item will be placed on the garment.
ex: Back Panel or Back Neck
SIZE - For trims with specific sizes.
ex: Ligne 20 (button sizing) or 3/4” (back neck tape)
COLOR - A description of the color using color codes.
ex: Pantone 2460 C
FINISH - For trims with a unique finish, such as metal trims.
AMOUNT - The number of the item you will need on the garment, such as the number of buttons.
SUPPLIER - Where the item is being supplied from. This column may be optional if your factory is sourcing for you.
ex: Harvest Trims, Beijing
CONTENT - The fiber content of the fabric or trim.
ex: 80% modal, 20% polyester
COMMENTS - This is an optional column. Use it to list any additional comments you want to include in the Tech Pack, specific to the trim.
ex: Can substitute with similar fiber content if needed.
…and 5 rows:
FABRICS / TEXTILES - The fabric that makes up the body of your garment or accessory. Includes linings and any other fabric placements.
INTERFACING - Interfacing is used to stabilize fashion fabric. Include any that will be used for your garment or accessory in this section.
TRIMS - Trims or findings include all additional pieces that do not fall into the other categories. Some examples are zippers, buttons, neck tape, grommets, drawcord caps, and more.
LABELS / TAGS - Define how your labels and tags will be applied, what they’re made of and where they’re placed. We’ll get into more detail about applications in Section 7 of this series.
PACKAGING - All packaging used for shipment or sale needs to be listed. This includes protective packaging, boxes, how the garment is folded, and more.
Check out this video to see an example of how I set up and fill out my BOM page:
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for sourcing for your apparel product:
Manufacturers operate on a minimum order quantity. Factor in how much material you will need for your production run and look into sourcing from a company that fits into that budget.
If you are developing a fabric or trim, lead times will be longer. If you are sourcing a material that is readily available, be sure to double check how much they have on hand.
Being aware of the sustainability practices and working conditions of where you’re sourcing from is an important part of promoting good practices in the fashion industry. Transparency is more important than ever, so knowing what kind of environment your goods are coming from is vital.
Sourced goods will need to be transported to your production facility. Take into consideration the location of where you are sourcing and if any import tariffs or taxes will impact the bottom line.
Trims and fabric should be tested for durability and imperfections. It is possible for their to be tears, imperfections in weaving, and even mold! Work with your factory to check the trims and fabric you’ve sourced before putting them into production.
In the industry, an entire team is devoted to evaluating and approving color for the apparel line. Matching and approving colors is a science, but with these tips you can feel confident in choosing and approving color for your first apparel product or accessory.
Depending on the garment, color will need to be evaluated across fabric and trims to be sure that all of the hues match. There’s many different shades of a single color and it can fluctuate based on the dye, material, and washing. To approve color, the fabric/trim is carefully evaluated in a light box, under special lighting, by a professional who has passed a color test.
The color of the fabric/trim is compared to the color card and is then adjusted by the fabric/trim manufacturer or approved. To keep it simple for this series, my advice is to take a color test to see where you fall on the spectrum. Understanding where you have trouble seeing variations in color can help you determine if you need assistance with approving color. In some cases your factory may offer assistance with this.
To ensure you’re getting the color you’ve requested, or close to it, be sure to request samples from your sourcing facility. Compare any other fabrics or trims that will be included in the garment and make sure the colors match or are complimentary. Look at the samples in different lights and ask a friend for a second opinion if you need it!
There are quite a few different color standards to choose from. You are probably familiar with the most popular, Pantone. I would say that if you are just starting out that Pantone is a great option. All factories and sourcing facilities have Pantone standards. Other color standards may not be as common, especially in other countries.
I recommend that you get a color card book. There are different types of books from thread colors to graphics colors, all with unique color codes. While it is standard to call fabrics out by TCX (thread) color standards, I actually have found that the majority of factories only use the Pantone solid coated book. Based on this information, the most cost effective way to evaluate color for your first production is to buy just one color book. Because color books can be quite costly, you can use Pantone’s color converter to convert your color to the closest match in another book (I have a tutorial using this converter, head here to see a walkthrough). I would recommend purchasing the Solid Coated Pantone Color Book first.
Popular Color Standard Companies:
ADDING COLOR INFORMATION TO THE TECH PACK
The video linked above shows how to add color information to the Tech Pack. Check out the video to see a visual example!
Add a COLORWAYS page to the Tech Pack using my tutorial from Section 1 of this series.
Copy and paste your colored Technical Sketches into the COLORWAYS page as a PDF. If you need help coloring up your sketches I have a full series on how to create your very own Technical Flats!
Name your colorways.
Add the garment location for each color.
Add your color standard number for each colorway by garment location.
Thanks for following along! Up next is Section 7 and it will focus on the Packaging, Logos, Tags, and Labels. Section 7 launches on Thursday, 8/8/19.