Spec and Flats






Size specification is a term that has long been used in the fashion industry. It is simply a list of measurements for a particular size. Designers, patternmakers, and production personnel have all generated or used style sheets containing size specifications.
Size specification, also called specs and flats, are used by designers in several ways. One is to convey specific measurements to the draper or patternmaker. For example, if a designer wants the seep of a specific garment to be 60 inches in circumference, she will noted that on the spec sheet. A designer may also used a spec sheet if the garment is costing too much and needs to be scaled back The designer may look at the measurements and trim details and make appropriated style changes to save money.

A pattenmaker uses a spec sheet differently. When he is making a first pattern from a sketch, he might estimate measurements, make the pattern, then have a sample made from which a spec sheet is produced. On the other hand, a patternmaker may receive a set of specs that he must follow when drafting his first pattern.

Production personnel generally use specs for developing the cost of a garment; this is calling costing.

Technical design is a new industry term. As retailers entered the private label industry, they hired personnel to create size specification sheets, thus a title for this developing position was needed. Early on, some retailers like May Department Stores Co., Merchandising Services used the title size specification analyst; Federated Department Stores and Macy's department stores use the title technical designer, Spiegel and J.C. Penny use the title quality assurance manager. Today, there is still variety in terminology.

In retail, a technical designer is a person trained in design and patternmaking who can adjust garments to achieve a proper fit, compensate for variables such as movement, ease, and shrinkage, and act as a liaison between product development/design departments and manufacturers.

Some manufacturers hire technical designers to work with retailers estimating cost sheets or to over see offshore production of their lines. Specs are also used by garment manufacturers for estimating garment price quotes. Obtaining accurate garment measurements allows the manufacturer to better estimate marker yardage, which can help designer make important design and style decisions.