Softgoods Workflow

Hey guys,

I’ve been asked to design some softgoods and this area is new to me. For this project, I’m working from an office and communicating with our over-seas manufacturers to get prototypes made. I don’t have access to a shop for prototyping in-house so i’m concerned this can become an issue. There are many variables with softgoods and I want to avoid the wait time for samples, lack of a materials library and communication issues diluting the design intent.

Any ideas on softgoods workflow…given the scenario? Also, This project will be in the tech bags category.

We just went through a softgoods (bag) project and none of us had much experience doing it. We found an independent softgoods prototyper (ex-Nike) that we worked intensively with, who helped turn our initial sketches into a real thing and is currently working on a tech pack for us to quote out.

I’d say finding a soft goods prototyper would be useful both in educating yourself and in making a successful bag. You can do paper prototypes yourself as well - this is what the soft goods prototyper will often do when figuring out patterns. Its also useful for gut checking your proportions and ideas.

Thats’s about all I know but others on here will be much more knowledgeable.

^ good advice.

A lot of it is experience based and if you can import that experience you can go faster and be better. Other than that, dissecting existing softwoods is a great way to learn more. Basically you are turning a 2D sheet good into a 3D object, so you can get far by studying other examples, making some quick dirty protos with fabric from JoAnnes and a hot glue gun (easier than stitching) and even paper mock ups.

(Safari autocorrects ‘softgoods’ to ‘softwoods’ FYI)


Close to 40% of my work is softgoods. The process that I find works best for me is to do quick napkin sketches (enough for yourself to go by) and go to JoAnne fabric like YO said and fashion something up. Knowing how to sew is a big plus but you can use needles to stitch things together temporarily. You design it by wearing it (and on other body types) and less about how it looks/materials at this point.

Depending on how in depth your Tech pack needs to be I would suggest going out and buying a couple cheap samples. Take these samples and deconstruct them along their seams so you can better understand the overall patterns and seams.

Also when working on softgoods be sure to have images/views/2D drawings for all of the sides as well as dimensions for the important stuff.

The samples will also help you understand materials as well as going to a fabric shop… just remember the higher the Denier the “rougher” the texture and denser the fibers. With that said, 600D poly is not as strong as 600D Nylon…etc so keep in mind not all fabrics are equal.

A great resource to order a plethora of cheap samples is

Thanks for the advice and resources. I’ll have to see if we can work with a local prototyper; having someone more knowledgeable to work with will get me familiar with the methods and terminology. Until then I think I’ll jump into the reverse engineering and paper mockups. Much appreciated!

Hi there. I do soft goods prototypes. Please feel free to contact me for more info.


Just an FYI…I gave the wrong email address for prototype work. I am only doing prototype work through Priority Designs. I can be reached at langell@prioritydesigns where our capabilities are endless. Please check out our site at to get an idea of the kind of work we can provide. We’ve got a great team and can handle just about anything. For NON-prototype work I can be contacted at langell119@gmail.


Please contact me. My website is
Would love to work with you to provide high quality prototypes. I’m in Wisconsin and have over 30 years of hands on experience.