How To Write POMs For An Apparel Tech Pack

Did you know there is a strategy to writing points of measure (POMs) for a tech pack spec sheet? What POMs you choose to include in your spec sheet and how you take those measurements can control the fit and sizes of the garment in different ways. Here’s how to write POMs that bring out the best in your garment and goals.

How points of measure are used

Part of writing good POMs is understanding how they will be used. POMs on a spec sheet serve two purposes at different stages of development. 

Points of measure used for patternmaking

First, they are used to draft the pattern (if you’ve completed your tech pack before working with a patternmaker. More on that here.) If you’ve provided a completed tech pack to your patternmaker, they will make sure the pattern meets your spec for each POM. 

To be useful for this purpose, POMs need to be easy to measure on a flat pattern. Writing POMs in reference to seam lines is the easiest way to do this. A seam provides an easily identifiable point from which to measure on the pattern and on the finished garment.

Points of measure used for finished garments

The second use for POMs is for quality controlling finished garments. Regardless of what your product development process looks like and whether your patternmaker uses the POMs or not, every brand will use POMs to measure garments. This means that the POMs you choose need to be easy to measure on a flat garment laid in front of you. In my opinion, POMs should be optimized for this purpose. 

This is why circumference POMs are usually written as half measures. Instead of having to rotate the garment around to get a full circumference measure, you can lay the garment on a table and measure half the distance for POMs like chest, sweep, or sleeve opening. 

Again, having a seam as a reference point for the POMs is beneficial here. It is easy to locate the POM on the garment and it allows you to spec each element of the garment more precisely. I recommend writing a separate POM whenever there is a seam break.  For example, write one POM for sleeve length to the cuff and a separate POM for the cuff length instead of one POM for the entire sleeve length. 

Select your Points of measure

Now that you know how your POMs will be used, it is time to select which POMs you want to include in your tech pack. There are several types of POMs that measure and control different things on a garment. 

Points of measure for size

The main category is POMs that measure garment size. These include basic measurements like chest, waist, hip, sleeve length, total garment length, etc. A graded spec sheet will include the measurements for each of these POMs for each size. The POMs control and differentiate between sizes. Think of these like the big picture measurements for your garment.

Points of measure for design details

Once you’ve written the basic size POMs for your garment, you can get more granular for the details. Use POMs to control the dimensions of design details regardless of whether their measurements change with each size or stay static across the whole size range. For example, the width of a collar or cuff or the height of a ruffle hem may be consistent across all sizes, but there is still a POM that specifies its dimensions. Pockets too, need POMs for their width, height, and opening.

Points of measure for placement

POMs not only measure the dimensions, but also the placement of design details. You’ll see placement POMs for things like pocket location, label or artwork placement, or topstitching distance from an edge or seam.

Any separate component that gets attached to the garment in the middle of another pattern piece is a good candidate for a POM on your spec sheet. How detailed your placement POMs are depends on how critical the placement of the detail is. By including the POM in your tech pack, you are setting the standard for what you will accept. 

Points of measure for fit and function

Now that you have POMs written for the overall garment and each of its details, it is time to write POMs that define how the garment needs to fit and function. These POMs ensure the garment is easy to get on and off and is comfortable to wear. All openings like zippers, plackets, and vents should have a POM. 

Tighter-fitting, stretchy openings may need two POMs – one for the relaxed measurement when the garment is laying flat and the other for when the garment is extended to pull on. Use these POMs in places like turtle necks, waistbands with elastic, or even leg openings on bodysuits. Adjustable straps or other functional elements on the garment need POMs as well. 

Decide on your measuring method

The next step in writing good POMs is deciding the measuring method. You don’t want to leave this up to whoever is using the POMs as they will get vastly different measurements. Good POMs will include both where the measurement is taken and how the measurement is taken. 

POMs can be measured straight between one point to another, straight along the X or Y axis from one point to another, or along the curve of a seam or edge contour. As mentioned above, 

you can also write POMs as half or full circumference measurements. There are best-practices on when to use one method over the other that I won’t go into in this post, but you can read more on POM measuring methods here. However you decide to measure, write that as part of your POM description in your tech pack so measurements will be taken consistently.

Add measurement tolerances

The last step in writing your POMs is to specify what the tolerance for each POM is. No garment will measure exactly what the spec is, so it is important to set a standard for how much variance you’ll accept in a quality product. Tolerances are written as +/- a certain value. That means that a tolerance of of +/- ½” means that anything between ½” smaller and ½” bigger than the written measurement is acceptable. 

In general, POMs for smaller areas as well as POMs that are more critical to the fit of the garment have a smaller tolerance. Would you notice a ½”  difference on a circle skirt sweep? Probably not. Would you notice ½” difference on a neck band width? Absolutely. When writing tolerances, I also try to keep the tolerance from overlapping adjacent sizes. 

Writing POMs takes some practice and understanding of garment fit and function. When you understand how the POMs will be used, you can strategically write POMs to control the garment quality and get the fit you want.

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