Are you interested in utilizing WORK+SHELTER’s Designer Services but unsure what that entails? First, make sure you read our last blog post: How WORK+SHELTER Brings Your Custom Product Designs to Life.

This second installment of our Designer Services blog series will help you decide when it makes the most sense to work with us on your product design development, versus an independent patternmaker/product design specialist, or when a hybrid approach might work best for you.

The process of taking a concept and rendering it into a full blown product is both an art and a science, so it’s important to choose a product development team that can see your vision through to production.

To decide what your development team should look like, we need to figure out:

  • The complexity of your product idea
  • How much support you will need
  • How many rounds of sampling will be necessary 
  • Whether a fit model is necessary for your process

There are roughly three types of product development relationships WORK+SHELTER offers within our Designer Services:

  1. W+S product development
  2. Independent product development
  3. Shared W+S & independent product development collaboration


If you are new to the cloth/apparel industry, you will most likely need the highest level of assistance with the technical steps involved in bringing a new sewn item to life. We can meet you wherever you are between the steps of initial design and final production.

For full development support, all you need to do is provide the product idea, review samples, and then approve the final sample before the product is manufactured. Our team turns your initial designs/sketches/pictures/existing garment into technical flats and tech packs with measurements to then be sent for patternmaking and sampling. You will be able to inspect and approve each sample and provide feedback to our team before production starts.


One of our in-house technical designers, Taylor McCleneghan.

Partial development support is a great solution if your product will need just one or two rounds of sampling– i.e. a tote bag, makeup pouch, mask, scarf, etc.– and you’re comfortable with us taking the lead.  It makes the most sense to work directly with us on product development if your product is not highly detailed or does not require a fit model.  

One significant benefit is that we are then thoroughly familiar with your product, and can typically speed up the production process. Additionally, if we are creating all patterns, tech packs, and other production details for you, we do so in the way that works best for the team that will be actually constructing your sewn item. 

Basically, working directly with us is ideal for apparel or accessories that do not have complex fit needs, or if multiple rounds of samples are unlikely.


If you have a product in mind that is more complex or detail-focused it may make sense for you to work with a local technical designer/patternmaker. By working with a technical designer that is near to you, you can be more hands-on with the initial steps of the product development process including overseeing sampling and fittings.

You may also consider working with a specialized technical designer if you have a highly niche item that requires many rounds of product testing.

You are welcome to find your own technical designer/patternmaker, or we can provide you with a referral. Working with one of our referral partners can help streamline the sampling and production process since we will have had experience partnering with them on previous production runs.

Hot tips – 

  • To jump-start the sourcing/sampling process and encourage seamless transition into production, we are able to ship fabric for your samples to you from our suppliers in India
  • When planning out your timeline, it’s always a good idea to prepare for at least one sampling round when transferring a design from a local product development or sampling team to W+S factory production.


Our favorite local pattern-maker, Xochil Herrera Scheer of The Chicago Patternmaker, working with clients during product development.



Let’s say you’ve been working with a fashion or technical designer to help get your product vision from ideas/sketches to technical drawings, but now your team needs help moving into the production process. We can collaborate to help in choosing the right fabric, determining what minimum order quantities (MOQs) are involved, and/or starting the pattern making and sampling process. 

You might also be working with a technical designer who can help develop a full tech pack with measurements and details, but they don’t have the facility to start sourcing or sampling— that’s where W+S Designer Services come in.

When you complete your sampling with our team your design will be “production ready” upon approval, meaning once you give the green light your product will be put into production.


Xochil Herrera Scheer, working with Amanda Dye of WORK+SHELTER and a prospective client in Chicago.



The main goal of our Designer Services is to provide you with all of the tools and guidance you may need throughout the process, and to set everyone up for a successful partnership in the long run.

Stay tuned for our next post, which will discuss the 5 main WORK+SHELTER fabric sourcing avenues and how we work with you to find the perfect fabric match for your product and order size.

If you have an exciting apparel or accessory design in mind that you’re looking to develop or  discuss further, drop us a line at [email protected] or schedule a meeting with us if you’d like to chat through the process. You can also find more information on our website here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *