Commercial processes

Weaving

Large, automated industrial looms are controlled by CAD software that allows colour schemes and weave patterns to be controlled.

An industrial loom machine in a textile factory used for weaving fabric.

Dyeing

There are several different ways of dyeing fabrics:

  • stock or yarn - dyes the fibres before they become fabrics
  • piece - dyes pieces of fabric
  • garment - dyes clothing once it is made

Dyeing usually takes place in large vats before being heated and dried.

A chemical tank machine used for dying materials with rolls of fabric shown inside.
Example of stock dyeing

Printing

Commercial printing prints pattern onto the top surface of fabrics. There are a variety of printing methods available:

Screen printing

A screen with the stencil of the pattern has dye wiped over it to produce an accurate, repeatable print. A separate screen for each colour is required.

The industrial printing process for textiles, showing a plain white fabric moving along a conveyor underneath a squeegee and a screen to produce a green and yellow spotted fabric.

Roller printing

Roller printing can be used for long, striped patterns. A roller for each colour has a pattern embossed on it. As the fabric passes through, the pattern is added.

The rotary printing process for textiles, showing a plain white fabric moving along a conveyor underneat three roller squeegees to produce a blue, orange and yellow striped fabric.

Sublimation printing

Sublimation ink is printed onto coated paper. Once heated, the image is transferred onto fabric.

Digital printing

Digital printing allows fabric to be printed on directly from an inkjet head. It is expensive but offers a wide range of colours.

A machine showing digital printing of a detailed, colourful pattern on a fabric.