What Is A Clothing Sample?

When searching around for clothing manufacturers near you, one of the critical pieces of information is the idea of a clothing sample.

But before we get into detail, let’s go over the basics regarding clothing samples, designs, and finished garments and how they all fit into the big picture of a manufactured clothing line. Regardless if you’re an emerging fashion designer or if you have a few fashion collections under your belt, knowing the design process is crucial.

What Is a Clothing Sample? The Basics

Closeup of a Los Angeles fashion model wearing a houndstooth-pattern clothing sampleClothing samples are representative of your finished clothing line. After all the hard work with the creative services team is all said and done, the clothing sample is the finished product. The clothing sample is born from the first creative design meetings, filled with fashion mood board sessions, brainstorm meetings, and countless fashion sketches.

Let’s examine the different types of clothing samples you’ll encounter during the clothing manufacturing process.

Types of Clothing Samples

Fittingly, an independent fashion designer has various creative clothing samples at their disposal. Here are the main types of clothing samples you’ll work with.


This is the rough draft of your clothing line. Clothing manufacturers will craft the first run of your clothing samples using muslin, also known as the prototype or mock-up. Think of the muslin clothing sample as the foundation for each sample moving forward.

The Fit Clothing Sample

Los Angeles pattern makers put their expertise to the test to cook up a sample to fit the human form. It’s also known as the design sample and parent pattern.

The Sew Clothing Sample

With the sew-by sample, the clothing manufacturer creates a sample that will exhibit a snapshot of the future production process. It’s also known as the pre-production or costing sample.

The Sales Clothing Sample

How much does clothing production cost? The sales sample aims to answer that question. Specifically, it shows the clothing manufacturer how much it costs to make clothing. You can provide potential customers with a preview of the clothing line with this sample. It’s also known as the counter sample.

The Photo Clothing Sample

Also known as the model or editorial sample, this photo sample is crucial for marketing the new clothing line. Clothing manufacturers create this sample to fit the customer.

The Size Set Clothing Sample

Also known as the size run, the size set sample tests the clothing manufacturer near you to determine if it can make your clothing line in multiple sizes. It’s a great way to save on cutting and trimming services and costs by getting this clothing sample right the first time around.

Top Of Production Clothing Sample

After making its way through multiple quality checks, the top of production (T.O.P.) samples are sent to the buyer directly from the first production run of your new clothing line. This is the stage where you determine if everything included with the initial order is in place. Are the positive aspects of the size sets, photo sets, and sales samples all in order? Now is the time to set everything in order.

This is where small batch clothing manufacturing orders can come in handy.

The Los Angeles Pattern Maker: Your Closest Ally

Los Angeles pattern maker helping a seamstress create a clothing sampleWhen working towards launching your own clothing line, a great asset in the clothing factory is the resident pattern maker. A pattern maker does all the necessary fitting, measuring, and editing required to start an independent clothing line.

Taking a fashion tech pack from the previous design sessions, they get to work effectively translating these fashion blueprints into workable designs.

Pattern makers partake in fashion drafting. This means that pattern makers take a clothing sample and modify it until it has reached a later stage of development. A pattern maker will drape a clothing sample over a mannequin, making all the necessary revisions, cutting, and sewing the fabric until it’s in its ideal form.

How Many Clothing Samples Should I Get?

You should invest in multiple clothing samples. Very simply, you shouldn’t leave anything up to chance in clothing manufacturing. When you create an ideal apparel line, it may turn out dramatically different after production.

The look and feel could be entirely off the mark from what you initially envisioned for your new clothing line. As such, having a wide array of clothing samples could prove to be an invaluable cornerstone of your future clothing brand.

Crafting Clothing Samples With The Evans Group

Jennifer Evans of The Evans Group discussing a clothing sample with two designersEveryone from the TEG pattern makers to the talented creative services team wants you to finally launch your dream clothing line. With that in mind, you can work it out until you feel your new clothing line is picture-perfect.

After all, you don’t want that nasty surprise of finally seeing your new clothing line looking drastically different than what you had initially imagined.

Since TEG is a low MOQ clothing manufacturer in Los Angeles, emerging designers need not worry about committing to massive clothing orders. With no mandatory minimums, TEG aims to allow designers of all stripes to engage in meaningful and rewarding clothing design without laying all of their resources on the line.

However many clothing samples you choose to order, The team at TEG is willing to work with you every step of the way.

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