Textile Prototypes

The first stage in building a textile prototype is concept development. This involves sketching the initial concept and considering, on a basic level, what fabrics to use (hard or soft, heavy or light, etc.). This stage can also be used to determine whether anything of value can be added to the initial concept, a process that may result in the creation of textile mock-ups or proof-of-concept prototypes (prototypes that prove that a concept functions as intended).
The next stage involves drawing patterns in order to determine the scale and size of the pattern pieces or fabric components of the product. These pieces are provisional and may be subject to change later in the process. A second prototype can then be built, the creation of which will take into account further fabric choices and detailing such as stitching type and thread colour, webbing, fasteners, zips, buttons, and hook and loop attachments.
Any problems that are highlighted by the second prototype are solved in the development of a final or presentation prototype. At this stage, all aspects of the product are finalised, including pattern, shape, size, materials and colour. Trend websites may be consulted in order to select up and coming seasonal colours, if appropriate to the product. If custom prints are required, these are also designed at this stage. Finishing techniques such as piping and binding may be employed so that the presentation prototype approximates the final product as closely as possible, and branding or logos may be developed for the same reason.
Once a presentation prototype has been completed a manufacturing specification can be produced, with which manufacturers will be able to produce samples of the final product. It is good practice to compare a number of different suppliers in order to source cost-effective manufacturing.
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Specifying Textiles