Have you ever been curious about what goes into designing and producing a clothing line? In this blog post, we walk you through the making of Dear Hayden’s knitwear collection from start to finish.
We started by gathering ideas and inspiration images. We looked at textures, silhouettes, fabrics, colors and curated our favorites. We chose a color palette for the collection so that pieces could be mixed and matched and feel cohesive.
These were a few of the first inspiration images we pinned to inform our collection.
This was our color palette and mini mood board for the collection. The theme is “Playground”.
Then we narrowed down our ideas and made a list of the styles we would include in the collection. Our knitwear manufacturer sent us MANY pictures of different stitch techniques (waffle, rib, purl, moss, etc.) and we picked our favorites for each of the styles. They also sent us swatches and color cards so we could pick the yarns we would use. We wanted to make sure to pick yarns that aligned with the color palette we had selected.
Some of the yarn color cards we chose from.
Knitwear collection style plan.
Tech Packs and Measurement Charts
We worked with an amazing designer to turn the concepts into technical files or tech packs that were given to the factories. A tech pack contains all the information that a factory needs in order to produce the garment. For each style, the tech pack detailed the sizes, colors, trim, accessories (buttons, zippers, etc.), and more. We worked with a second designer to complete measurement charts. She used sample garments to create tables that would give precise measurements for each aspect of a style (for example, the chest width, the sleeve length, the neck drop, etc.). The tech packs and measurement charts were then passed on to the factory to start making samples.
This is a snapshot of the tech pack for our knit romper.
Placing the Order
Next, we worked with the factory to decide on quantities for each style, size, and color and to agree on prices. The factory placed an order for the yarn we would use. For this collection, they ordered the solid color yarn from a supplier in Portugal and the marble yarn from a supplier in Italy.
Swatches and Prototypes
After that, the factory sent us swatches with different versions of the stitch techniques we had decided upon. For example, we chose between about six different waffle options and three different ribs. We went back and forth until we were happy with the result.
These are some of the swatches they sent with various stitch techniques.
After we decided on the versions of the stitch techniques, the factory developed prototypes or samples. We tested the protos on a fit model (Nicole’s son, Julien) and looked at the fit, functionality of the magnets, style, trims, amongst other things. We recorded all our notes and gave our feedback to the factory so they could make changes. Some styles were overhauled completely, while others needed only minor tweaks. For example, the dress you see in the collection is completely different from the original design. The factory then sent a second round of protos and we repeated the process until we were happy with every detail and gave them the green light for production.
Nicole’s son and fit model, Julien, trying on the protos of our sweater and joggers.
The factory got started knitting the pieces while we worked on ordering labels, packaging, and designing the next collection (Spring/Summer 23). After knitting was complete, they got started on what they call confection, where they put the knit pieces together and add the magnets, buttons, labels, and other trim. They finished by attaching the hang tag and placing the piece in a poly bag to ensure it would stay clean during transport. Finally, the finished garments were shipped to the United States, ready to be sold on dearhayden.com.
Hang tag and label samples.
Putting the finishing touches on our cardigans.
Putting the trim on our cardigans.
Knitting our overalls.
A few of our finished pieces.