How to make a sportswear sample: A Step-by-Step Guide

In the fast-paced world of sportswear design, creating a standout sample is crucial for showcasing your brand’s innovation, functionality, and style. Whether you’re a seasoned sportswear designer or a budding entrepreneur, mastering the art of sourcing and crafting a sportswear sample can elevate your brand and attract the attention of athletes, investors, customers and fitness enthusiasts alike. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the step-by-step process of creating a high-quality sportswear sample that embodies both performance and aesthetics.

Branding, product design, development and production

1. Research and Conceptualisation:

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of sportswear sample production, thorough research and conceptualisation lay the groundwork for success. Start by identifying your target audience and understanding their specific needs and preferences. Are you designing for professional athletes, gym enthusiasts, or casual sportswear? Analise market trends, competitor offerings, and emerging technologies to gather inspiration and insights.

Next, develop a clear concept for your sportswear sample. Consider factors such as the intended use (e.g., running, yoga, cycling), fabric choices, sustainability, silhouette, colour palette, and unique performance features. Collaborate with your design team to brainstorm ideas and sketch preliminary designs that align with your brand’s identity and target market.

Make sure you already have a clear picture of where the sample and bulk will be produced so your design not only aligns to their skill base, machines and capabilities but also hits your target price point.

2. Material Selection:

The choice of materials is paramount in sportswear design, as it directly impacts performance, comfort, and durability. Source high-performance fabrics that offer moisture-wicking properties, breathability, and stretchability as required to enhance mobility during physical activities. Common materials include polyester blends, spandex, nylon, and technical knits and over recent years, there have been an abundance of sustainable fabrics that perform just as well as traditional synthetics but offer you the ability to help be more sustainable, attracting the eco conscious buyers.

Conduct fabric testing to assess factors such as moisture management, abrasion resistance, colourfastness, and pilling. Partner with reputable fabric suppliers who can provide quality materials that meet your design specifications and performance requirements.

Looking for fabric suppliers. See our guide here.

3. Pattern Making and Prototyping:

Once you’ve finalised your design concept and selected suitable materials, it’s time to translate your vision into tangible garments through pattern making and prototyping. Work with the factory who will produce the bulk production who have skilled pattern makers that create precise patterns based on your design specifications. Note that you will also need to supplement the designs with a comprehensive tech pack .

Prototyping is an iterative process that involves creating sample garments to test the fit, functionality, and overall aesthetics. Conduct fittings with fit models or athletes to evaluate comfort, movement, and sizing accuracy. The sample should be made in the fabric you have specified to make sure the fit isn’t restricted by using a substitute. You also need to make sure the stitching and construction methods used are as you require for bulk as these will have an effect on function and fit.

Refine the prototype based on feedback and conduct multiple rounds of testing and revisions until you achieve the desired fit and performance. Pay attention to details such as seam placements, stitching techniques, and construction methods to ensure durability and comfort. It might be worthwhile leaving the sample in the washing machine to wash several times to test for pilling, colour fastness and shrinkage.

4. Sampling and Production:

Once you’re satisfied with the prototype, it’s time to move into final sampling and production. Work closely with your sportswear factory to calculate costs, lead times and MOQ’s based on the fabrics and components you have selected.

Invest in professional photography and marketing materials to highlight the key features and benefits of your products. Use feedback from sample testing to make any final tweaks or improvements before mass production.

5. Quality Control and Testing:

Maintaining high quality standards is essential in the sportswear industry, where performance and durability are paramount. Implement rigorous quality control measures throughout the production process to identify and rectify any defects or inconsistencies. You need to have keeper samples that confirm the agreed sizes across the range and a final Pre-Production sample that is approved and agreed by both you and the sportswear factory before they start the bulk production.

Conduct thorough testing on finished garments to ensure they meet industry standards for performance, fit, and safety. Test for factors such as moisture management, breathability, UV protection, and colourfastness using accredited testing facilities.

6. Branding and Packaging:

The presentation of your sportswear sample plays a crucial role in leaving a lasting impression on potential customers and retailers. Invest in branding elements such as logo placement, hangtags, and packaging that reflect your brand’s identity and values.

Create a cohesive brand story and messaging that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from competitors. Consider eco-friendly packaging options to align with sustainable practices and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.


Producing a standout sportswear sample requires a combination of creativity, technical expertise, sourcing, a great tech pack and attention to detail. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can create high-quality sportswear samples that captivate consumers, drive sales, and establish your brand as a leader in the industry. Remember to stay innovative, adaptable, and customer focused as you navigate the dynamic landscape of sportswear design.

Please contact us for more information or would like help developing and sourcing your sportswear samples.

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