Defining the Steps to Creating a Product

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When I was hired on to be part of the marketing team for Maker’s Row, I knew very little about the process of making an item.  I never thought about the many steps it takes to actually make the leather jacket that I am wearing today.  While working with the team at Maker’s Row over the past couple of months, I have learned a lot about manufacturing.  Here is a list of the 6 terms that I have become familiar with that are used in manufacturing and will give you the basic information needed to get started on making your own product. I described the terms in my own words to make it easier for those just getting started in the industry.  These common manufacturing terms will help you better understand the production process and how to prepare yourself to make the best possible product. On our website, you can use the 6 terms below to assist you in the making process. Maker’s Row can be a guide to those just entering the apparel manufacturing industry, or a resource for factory sourcing for those who are more experienced in the field.

manufacturing steps


sketching designing
One day an amazing idea pops into your head and you think of how much other people would like your idea. Ideation is basically the act of bringing your idea to an experienced professional. This is the first step in creating your new product; refining your idea!  The factories listed on our website can help with this process by refining your idea to make it production-ready.

Pattern Making

cutting fabric patterns

Pattern-making is taking your idea and making a blueprint of it in order to see what the correct measurements will be.  Patterns help construct the design and is the guide that is followed when producing your product.  We have an extensive list of manufacturers who can help assist you in creating your pattern.

Related Reading:  Technology Trends in Manufacturing


canvas factory materials
This stage in the process is where you gather the materials needed to develop your product. Materials can include leather, denim, cotton, and so on. For the factories that do not supply materials, you will have to research what materials you want and buy them separately.

Sample Making

clothing mannequin
Sample-making is an important part of the production process because it lets you see what your product will actually look like.  This is the step where you make any necessary changes to better the product and see what works and what does not work.


Tooling is the point where you create the proper machinery, molds, and other items needed to help mass produce your item.  Creating these tools is imperative to produce your products at a fast (and less expensive) rate.


factory apparel manufacturing
Production is when you are finally ready to produce a large quantity of items and sell them.  Some factories do small-batch production while others do large production.  In production you bring all the other steps together to make large quantities of your product.

Plan Your Product

If you want detailed instructions through the pre-production and production processes, pre-register for our Prototyping 101, and register for our Production 101 and Sourcing 101 courses. Our Academy offers these educational guides for free! Over the duration of each course, expect a new lesson in your inbox each day.


After you have put together your designs, check out Maker’s Row for nearly 10,000 factories with capabilities in sampling and production.