12 Types of Garment Samples – You Should Know About for Apparel Production

Types of Garment Samples

So you’re ready to get your clothing line into production? That’s an exciting step! But before you can start churning out those t-shirts and jeans for your adoring customers, there are some important garment samples you need to familiarize yourself with. 

As a clothing designer, knowing the 12 different types of sampling will ensure your production goes smoothly and the end products meet your standards. Whether you’re a pro or just getting started in the fashion world, clothing samples are key to bringing your vision to life and avoiding costly mistakes. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what the sample size in fashion is, why it’s important, and how reviewing it carefully will set you up for success. Get ready to become a sample clothing expert—knowledge is power, friend! Once youy’ve got these down, you’ll be read to watch your designs go from sketches on a page to high-quality clothing ready to hit the racks.

Let’s dive in!

How Many Types of Garment Samples Are There?

So you’re getting ready to manufacture your clothing line—that’s exciting! An important step is creating samples. Garment samples allow you to evaluate fit, construction, quality, and design before full production. There are 12 main types of garment samples you should be familiar with.

Prototype Samples, Development Samples, And Design Samples

types of garment samples

The first physical iteration of the prototype garment was created in accordance with the artwork during the product development phase. The main purpose of this sample is to see the design. The fabric and color of the clothing are not taken into consideration in this sample.

It allows you to perfect the pattern and make adjustments before creating samples in the actual production fabric.

Mock-Up Samples

Mock-ups are essential in situations where the idea might not translate as effectively on paper as it does on fabric. It has no trimmings and only serves to determine whether the garment is wearable. Not every design calls for a mock-up, so not every kind of clothing sample manufacturer uses

Size Set Samples

Next are size-set samples, one sample for each size in the size range. These are used to evaluate how the garment will fit on actual body types for each size. For tops, dresses, and bottoms, you’ll want a size 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 as a minimum.

Size-set samples are made to ensure the measurement of each size. Usually, size-set samples are made covering all color combos.

Salesman’s Samples, Promotional Samples

Then there are pre-production samples, also known as salesman samples. These are made in the actual production fabric and are used to show buyers, take photographs for marketing, and make a final check that the garment is ready for production. You’ll want at least 2 to 3 samples for each style.

Photoshoot Samples

The samples are made using the actual yarn, fabric, and color that the models would wear during a photo shoot for the catalog. With the photo attachments, the buyer comments on the fitting requirements and issues with the dimensions. In order to get feedback from his or her customer(s) or retailer(s), the buyer also met with them. Orders are confirmed in terms of color, quantity, size, etc. For this sample, the actual material and color must be used.

Counter Samples

Once pre-production samples are approved, you can move on to counter-production samples. These are the first set of samples off the production line, used to ensure quality standards are being met before full-scale production begins. It’s best to order at least 500–1000 units from at least one country for every 500–1000 units being produced.

To check the quality of the job and demonstrate the factory’s expertise, this sample was created. For this sample, the type of clothing and its color are not taken into account.

Fit Samples

Fit or sizing samples are also important, especially for fitted styles. These samples, one for each size, are tried on live models to evaluate and confirm the fit, sizing, and proportions for each size before production. Any needed adjustments can then be made.

After a real measurement, a fit is prepared. The fitment is being tested with this sample. The fit of the clothing is checked on a live model.

Digital Garment Samples

The term “digital garment sample” refers to samples of clothes created using software that displays the 3D form of the garment. The consumer can view the garment fit, fabric fall, pressure points (tight fitting), and movement of the digital model on the screen using the digital sample. 

Many purchasers and made-to-measure consumers opt for digital garment samples thanks to technology and to shorten the time required for sample approval. The buyer accepts the screen presentation as equivalent to a physical sample when providing comments and feedback on the sample.

Pre-Production Samples

When bulk fabric and accessories are produced internally, the plant creates pre-production (PP) samples using the actual material. To reassure the buyer that the bulk materials are on hand for production, samples are made.

Production Samples

The firm gives production samples to customers to guarantee that bulk orders are being manufactured in accordance with their requirements, following technical standards, and using authorized samples. Buyers seek reassurance that the right materials are used and that line craftsmanship meets the required standards of quality.

Top-of-Production Samples

When the first production goes online, samples called TOP (online samples) are collected.  Some buyers frequently ask for a TOP sample to make sure the production is adhering to the pre-production sample.

Shipment Samples

Samples used for shipment are those that represent the finished product. The samples confirm that the goods were supplied in accordance with the samples.

There are a few other sample types, like wash tests, red tags, and wearer trials. But with a solid understanding of these 12 core samples, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your clothing line is perfectly on point before full production begins!

What Kind of Sample Is used In The Garment Industry?

So you’re ready to learn how to start a clothing line. Before you begin full-scale manufacturing, you’ll need to create samples. Apparel samples are prototypes used to evaluate the fit, construction, and overall quality of a garment before bulk production.

There are many different types of samples used in the apparel industry. The first is a garment spec sheet vs. tech pack for clothing.. These outline the design, measurements, fabrics, trims, and construction of the garment. Next, come the pattern samples to test the initial patterns and ensure accurate sizing and fit.

Once the patterns are approved, you’ll make pre-production samples. These include:

  • Fit or sizing samples are used to evaluate and perfect the fit on a live model. Multiple rounds of fittings and adjustments are often required.
  • Construction or assembly samples: Put together to assess the assembly process and make any needed changes before production starts.
  • Wash or laundry test samples: Washed and dried to ensure the garment will hold up to normal use and cleaning.
  • Packaging samples: initial samples of any packaging used for the product to check for correct branding, messaging, and visuals

After pre-production samples are approved, you can move on to production samples or salesman samples. These are the first round of production-quality garments that are used to show buyers or photographed for marketing purposes.

Finally, there are TOP samples, or marker or grader samples. These full-size samples are used as a guide for production to ensure consistent sizing and assembly across all sizes.

By investing the time to thoroughly sample and refine each garment before production, you’ll avoid costly mistakes and delivery delays down the line. While it may seem tedious, sampling is a crucial step that will ultimately lead to high-quality, well-fitting products your customers will love.

Which Seven Steps Are Involved In The Sampling Process?

  1. Tech Pack Acceptance

The sampling procedure starts with this step. The buyer sends the technical pack through the merchandiser at this point. All the requirements to make a garment are in the tech pack.

  1. CAD And Patternmaking

A CAD program is used to create the pattern at this point. Although CAD is more common and simple than hand drawing patterns, it is not always used. Utilizing computer technology to create actual or virtual items is known as computer-aided design (CAD). 

  1. Making Samples

The ultimate objective of this division is sample-making. Following the creation of the pattern, the sample is created using the pattern set.

  1. Setup For Size

The size is set in accordance with the Tech Pack when the sample is created. The sample is repeated if there is a problem.

  1. PP Meeting For Pre-Production

Immediately following the buyer’s inspection of the sample, a pre-production meeting is scheduled. Both the merchandiser and the sample manager are still present during this meeting with the buyer or his representative. 

  1. Assessment of Sample

Upon the sample’s completion Grading is complete. The same design may come in different grades. Grading is carried out to distinguish between samples and patterns.

  1. Sketch And Cut

The samples have been graded. The software for markers receives the design. The pattern in the cloth is set according to the software’s instructions. Fabric can be conserved by effectively utilizing the marking software. For the production of markers, Viyellatex uses Gerber Garment Technology (GGT).

Now that the pattern has been supplied to the cutting equipment, the cloth is cut for the finished product.

What Is The purpose of Sampling In The Apparel Industry?

  • Sampling is a crucial part of any type of apparel production process. Before producing garments on a large scale, samples are made to ensure the design, fit, and quality meet the brand’s standards. Samples also provide an opportunity for feedback to make improvements before full production begins.
  • Samples are another way to satisfy the buyer. In addition to other information on the production of clothing, sampling also provides us with market intelligence. The buyer evaluates the sample’s quality and then approves or rejects the manufacturer’s request to produce it after evaluating the sample’s quality. In other words, the sample plays a similar role in the manufacture of clothing as the foundation does in the construction of a house.
  • Only after sampling does the buyer approve a garment or an order. That is, it would not be inaccurate to state that the only way to produce clothing is through samples. In actuality, sampling is the initial step in the manufacture of clothing. Only once the sample has been accepted does the actual garment-making procedure begin.
  • The buyer sends a letter, sometimes referred to as a tack file, spec sheet, or order sheet, to the merchandiser or clothing manufacturer in order for them to produce any clothing. Everything pertaining to the garment is detailed on this order form. It has the product’s style number, code, measurements of all the garment’s components and stitch types, garment reference number, color specification for the fabric’s type and quality, embroidery or print types, and other accessories used in the garment’s construction. There are items like thread and buttons, zippers, studs, etc.
  • The merchandiser or manufacturer now reviews the order sheet the customer submitted and creates the garment samples in accordance with the customer’s instructions. 
  • The manufacturer conducts sampling for the buyer at various stages, and after the buyer is pleased with the samples, the buyer places an order.
  • The sample division is the most crucial component of any apparel firm. The maker obtains all the knowledge necessary to understand and overcome the garment’s challenges through sampling. On the basis of sampling, the cost of manufacturing clothing is calculated. 
  • The timing of the product’s delivery or shipment to the customer can be determined through sampling. The sample itself is enough to satisfy the customer. The likelihood of the manufacturer getting additional orders increases if they produce a high-quality sample. In other words, securing additional orders is largely dependent on the quality of the garment sample.
  • Orders are either received based on the sample or they are canceled. A sample of clothing of the best quality might attract more customers to the company. Through the use of samples, the manufacturer is able to offer the garment’s accessories, textiles, and other low-cost design resources at a reasonable price. Sampling, or the act of taking samples, helps in resolving issues that arise during the production of large quantities of clothing.
  • Based on the sample, the buyer notifies the manufacturer to fix any deficiencies and notifies them of any adjustments. The purchaser inspects the fabric, fabric color, fitting, appearance of the garment being created, and material used by looking at the sample itself, allowing for the timely removal of any necessary alterations or commissions.
  • To put it another way, garment sampling is crucial for both the manufacturer and the customer.


So now you have it—a crash course in the 12 essential garment samples you need to know about in the clothing production process.

Learn from each round of samples, get feedback from experts and customers, and make improvements. With experience, the sampling process will become second nature and a key part of how to get clothing samples made. You’ve got this! Now create some samples and make your production dreams a reality. The fashion world awaits!