Are you interested in utilizing WORK+SHELTER’s development services, but not sure what you need? First, make sure you read our last blog post: How WORK+SHELTER Brings Your Custom Product Designs to Life.

This second installment of our development services blog series will help you decide when it makes the most sense to work with us on your product development, versus working with an independent patternmaker or technical designer.

To decide what your development process should look like, you should take into account:

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


If your product is relatively simple, will need just one or two rounds of sampling (see some examples below), and does not require fittings, we can provide end-to-end development support. If you need fittings but are able to conduct your own and give us feedback, that works here toowe can translate your feedback into pattern changes by our team.

An accessory like a tote bag, makeup pouch, hat, or scarf is a perfect product for W+S in-house product development. Apparel items such as sweatshirts, t-shirts, sleepwear, button-up men’s shirts, and simple dresses also fall into this category. In some cases we can even start from one of our in-house patterns, then customize the details (fabric, trims, prints or embroideries) to match your vision.

A technical drawing for a W+S made wine bag.

You need only provide a sketch or physical sample (and in most cases, some key measurements), from which we can work up tech packs, patterns, and samples. You will then be able to inspect samples and provide feedback or approval to our team before production starts.

One significant benefit of having us develop your product from start to finish is that we become thoroughly familiar with your product, which typically speeds up the production process. Additionally, if we are creating all patterns, tech packs, and other production documents for you, we do so in the way that works best for the team that will be actually sewing your item.



For more complex products, we recommend working with a technical designer and/or patternmaker in your area. By working with someone near 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. And if you need help with the creative design processdeciding on how many pieces should be in your collection, how full a skirt should be cutthat’s a job for a skilled freelancer or business specialist in your area.

You are welcome to find your own resource, 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 have partnered with them on previous production runs.

Our favorite Chicago technical designer + patternmaker, Xochil Herrera Scheer of The Chicago Patternmaker, working with clients during product development.

Hot tips – 

  • To jump-start the sourcing/sampling process and encourage seamless transition into production, we are sometimes able to ship fabric for your samples to you from our suppliers in India.
  • When planning out your timeline, keep in mind that we require at least one sampling round when transferring a design from a local product development or sampling team to W+S factory production. This lets us get to know the product, and lets you check a sample for quality.



Still not sure what you need? That’s probably because every project is unique, and not every product fits neatly into one of the above categories. No problem! We’re always happy to figure out a custom solution to your development needs. 

Custom packages can include any combo of the following services:

  1. Sourcing
  2. Technical flats
  3. Measurement charts
  4. Tech packs/spec sheets
  5. Patternmaking
  6. Grading
  7. Sample making
  8. Marker making

Product-development package prices range widely, but a portion of the charges are always creditable toward your bulk production order.


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



No matter what level of product-development service you need, our U.S. team will work hand-in-glove with the team in India to make the process as seamless as possible. Our main goal is to provide you with the tools and guidance you need, 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 apparel or accessory design that you’re looking to develop, 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 here.