Organizing a spec sheet?

I’m not quite certain how to phrase this question someone posed so bear with me.

My friend is somewhat annoyed by the way spec sheets are organized. She thinks that forms should have the key attributes listed at the very top to save one the bother of scanning the list repeatedly (here is a sample). You know, a pant would have waist, hip and inseam listed at the top of the page -in addition to being listed along with all the other attributes in the chart.

I had two thoughts when she asked me. First was “doh!”, because that would make my life simpler and save time, but two, it would mean creating a separate template for each garment or product type.

So the question is, how do you organize a spec sheet? Do you worry more about getting the right information plugged into the slots of  whatever form is provided (or that the customer even has or wants one)? Or do you go above and beyond that to redesign the form (which presumes you have the say so to do something like that)?

For my part, I think I would be satisfied if there was some consistency in how the forms were used. Recently I worked with a TD who didn’t mark off points of measure on the flat and it seemed bizarre; I couldn’t figure out why she did it like that. Then I looked at the book she was using as her point of reference and realized it wasn’t done (for the most part) in that book either. Very strange -another gap of textbooks versus real life. It doesn’t bother me that people use different codes (some numbered sequentially, some letters) but I do think there should be consistency. Just my opinion but I’m interested in whatever you say. Thanks!

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  1. Rocio says:

    Great question!

    It really used to irritate me when someone would just throw POM’s in a random order and I would find myself flipping the garment front, back and around for each POM

    When we designed our own forms we made sure that the order would be so that it takes the least amount of time possible and ALWAYS including a visual guide of EVERY SINGLE Point of Measurement

  2. Haney says:

    It certainly helps when you are speaking the same language. Rocio’s solution of a visual guide is wonderful.

    If I were in your industry I’d try to use as many universal codes as possible, and make up my own only when I couldn’t find a code for it… and I’d include illustrations with circles and arrows and as much information as possible.

    As a copy editor, I come down heavily in favor of consistency and rules that have been hashed out by small groups, and discussed and revised by larger groups.

  3. Xochil says:

    I agree with Rocio — the POM’s being in order based on what’s easy to measure close together is good. I think the POM chart on a flat is super important, and some people skip that. Maybe they assume people know what they’re talking about, but it’s much easier to measure quickly and accurately when it is clear on a flat.

  4. Esther says:

    I always do a drawing showing the POM’s with arrows and notation. A picture is worth so much more than a chart. The chart is organized with the most important measurements at the top and going down from there. Generally speaking is corresponds with the garment from top to bottom, though not always. Regardless, every drawing and chart is unique to the style. In my ideal company bible there is a detailed how to measure instruction for basic body and style measurements so that the POM’s have some meaning on the style measurement forms.

  5. Colleen says:

    I struggle with existing specs that have POM’s randomly listed. When there is time, I re-do so that the order is logical.

    This is something that confounds me. I don’t understand why it isn’t done right the first time?!

    I know, I sound like Mr. Fashion-Incubator, don’t I?

  6. Kathleen says:

    Haney, I definitely favor consistency but a lot of designers pretty much do what they want. Consider how one would go about getting every writer to punctuate in the same way, eliminate malapropisms from their work etc. and you’ll have an excellent idea of what we’re dealing with.

    Colleen: they just don’t know (what they don’t know). They think whatever they’re using is *the* standard. This particular TD was shocked I didn’t keep this particular book as my constant reference (I believe it is the only one she has).

    I would agree that labeled POM visuals are mandatory (such that I linked to two earlier posts on it) but I’d like to get more feedback on how people organize the POM on their spec sheets. Thanks.

  7. Rita Yussoupova says:

    Kathleen thank you for bringing this
    Let’s not forget that not only technical designers work with specs
    Specs are used to cost the garments, specs are used by pattern makers do draft patterns, specs are used by QC inspectors at the factories and in DC s , specs are also used to call out the deviations during the fit sessions.
    Many retail and manufacturing Companies require that thier technical designers organize the specs in order so that all Key POMs are at the top of the page.
    For example for shoulder garments it would be the
    CB Length or HPS length
    Bust circ
    Waist circ
    Bttm Opng/Sweep circ

    Then all detail POMs are listed from top to bttm of the garment just as it woudl be fit at the fit session grouped for example all POMs related to neck are together
    Neck width
    Bk neck drop
    Frt neck drop
    CB collar height
    Collar point etc.

    Then moving to shoulder area
    Across Shoulders
    Across back
    Across front
    CB yoke heigh etc.

    Then moving AH area and so on

    I find it very
    It makes it much easier and faster to cost the garments, to make patterns and to QC garments as all Key POMs are listed at the top of the spec .
    As for Technical Design it is a lot easier to find the POM and measument at the fit session when POMs are organized in order rather than browse through randomly put together spec sheet .
    As for Technical Designers measuring the garments – I measure all POMs on the back first going down the spec, then I flip the garment and measure all POMs on the front going down the spec.
    One other benefit is that some times you can determine right away what to pay attention to at the fitting. Let’s say Across shoulder measures 16″ right below it Across back that measures 16 1/4″ and right below it Across front that measures 15 3/4″ – would not you want to check the shape of this
    AH ?.

    I also believe into catering to my partners that I work with and making it easy for them to work with specifications I put together for them that includes POM descriptions and not overspending.

    I see specs that have listed CB Length, HPS Length and CF length – then we see the garment that is hiking at CF and all measures to spec – and the patternmaker tells me “I knew it would do that , but I had to meet the spec” and technical designer tells me ” I just did the math and forgot that frt needs a bit x-tra for bust”

    I think any good patternmaker knows that Sweep must be leveled parallel to the floor and we need to let them do that and not put them in the position where that have to meet the spec.

    I think that for the Shirt with Frt and Bk Shittail CB length, Frt Shirttail and Bk Shirttail is enough information to make a good pattern and good garment.

  8. BSC says:

    My template is based on key points of measure being listed first and in the order in which they are measured on the front and then on the back so there is mimimal handling and maximum efficiency. For example: I dont want to have to measure the front body length from HPS and then flip over to measure the cross back and then flip over again to measure the cross front. If you are measuring a ton of samples each day this make the process smoother. It is easier to measure front body length, chest, sweep, cross front, neck drop, etc on the front. Flip over to the back measure the shoulder, the cross back, the back neck drop and neck width. Any extra points of measure will get listed at the bottom for the initial development spec and as production proceeds phase out the unnecessaries for graded specs.

  9. Sally says:

    I didn’t read every single thread but I add the “pattern” specs to the cutter’s must then if a spec sheet for production is needed I make a spec page for “garment” specs since often they are not the same.

  10. Rocio says:


    You bring up something CRUCIAL to the long list of problems we have encountered with many companies…
    They simply DON’T HAVE PATTERNS to compare against, and therefore have no way of pinpointing the cause of such discrepancies

    As you rightly point out, even when comparing pattern against garment you’ll find that (particularly with stretch fabrics) it is impossible to have the garment match the pattern perfectly

  11. Alyson Clair says:

    My day job is as a Technical Designer at a large corporation. I love the way they have it set up here. Each POM is assigned a number, and then you list them in sequence on the Tech Pack. This helps me greatly as I’m able to spot the number easily, and there is a code list of all the POM’s.
    Each place I have worked at is different for set up, but this by far has been the easiest to get acquainted with. I doubt ever that there will be a universal code for it all, unless there were ISO codes set up against certain POM’s. (Wait are there?)

  12. Theresa says:

    I create POM images and POM code systems as freelance work in my “spare” time. Most companies ask for me to do them front of garment from top to bottom then side to side and repeat on the back.

  13. Sammy says:

    I am struggling to find somebody to help me create specification sheets for my women’s formal, evening-wear clothing line. Can someone please help out and give me some names of companies etc.?

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