A Visit to a Fabric Mill: Expert Australian Fabrics Start to Finish

Karin Jeske | 12 Feb 2016 | Window Treatments

Nothing excites us more than gorgeous fabrics. We’ve taken great care to find carefully crafted fabrics from across the globe to give your windows long lasting style. We recently had the chance to see fabrics from our Premium Natural Roller Shade Collection being made up close in the Wilson Fabrics Factory in Australia.

Some of our most interesting fabrics are the dobby and jacquard woven fabrics this collection. Dobby fabrics are made with simple, repetitive patterns like basketweave, herringbone houndstooth and more.

dobby weave

A Jacquard loom allows you more freedom in weaving so that you can create intricate woven-in patterns like flowers.


Check out our Fabrics 101: Textiles, Fibers, Home Decor and More article for even more fabric insights.

Inside the Factory

Wilson Fabrics, the mill that produces these fabrics also makes a wide range of textile products that includes everything from bath towels to high tech military materials. Let’s take a closer look at how these fabrics are made start to finish.


Creating the Warp

Woven fabrics have warp yarns, which run the length of the fabric, and weft (or filling) yarns, which run across the width.

1 warp prep

Warp yarns arrive at the mill on large bobbins and are fed onto a large cylinder in multiple steps.

2 warp prep

1a warp prep

Some warps need sizing added, which stiffens the yarns so that they can withstand the weaving process.

2a adding sizing to warp

Weaving the Fabric

In the weaving process, the weft yarn is shot across the shed, which is the opening between the warp yarns that are raised and those that are not. On modern looms, this happens so fast it is barely visible to the naked eye. In our Naturals Collection, we use fabrics that are made both on Dobby and Jacquard Looms.


How Dobby Fabrics are Made

The dobby loom, which allows simple patterns to be woven, brings each warp yarn through a harness, and the pattern is created by the combination of harnesses lifted each time a weft yarn is inserted through the shed, which is the opening between the warp yarns that are lifted, and those that are not.

4a Dobby Loom

See just how fast this process is!

How Jacquard Fabrics are Made

Jacquard fabrics are unique because a complex pattern can be woven into the material, because each intersection of warp and weft is controlled individually.

The green cords you see are called harness cords. Each cord is attached to a warp strand and moves it individually to create the complex patterns.

5 jacquard loom

This mesmerizing lightning-fast weaving is almost like a laser printer with the way it gradually creates the pattern.

Dyeing the Fabric

When the fabric comes off the loom, it is on a large roll and it is stored in a warehouse waiting to be dyed. Fabric in the pre-dyed state is called “greige goods”.

7a greige storage

Before fabric can be dyed, the formula must be developed in the lab. Our fabrics are woven with 2 types of yarn that will each accept different types of dyes, allowing the creation of many color combinations from the same roll of white fabric.

7b dye lab

Fabrics are dyed in large industrial machines that work similarly to a washing machine.

8 greige fabric entering machine

The specific dye combinations are fed into the machines from tanks up above.

9 dye tanks

After soaking for 4-6 hours, the dyed fabric is removed from the tanks.

10 dyed fabric coming out of dye machine

Coating the Fabric

Roller shades can’t have seams on the edges, so they need to have a special finish that will prevent fraying when the fabric is cut. The coating process happens on a very long machine that includes coating the materials, application of the chemicals, and a trip through a long oven that cures the finish.

11 fabric after coating is applied as a liquid foam with a knife

Our translucent fabrics get a clear finish in a single pass while our blackout fabrics run through this machine up to 3 times, receiving multiple layers of coating to seal all the light gaps.

Final Inspection & Ready to Ship

Fabrics are inspected several times during the production process.

12a Quality Insp

If quality requirements are met, fabrics are transferred to the warehouse and are ready to ship to the factory where they’re turned into Blinds.com Roller Shades.

Inventory double

The resulting fabrics come in a beautiful array of colors and textures, and the possibilities for future styles and patterns are virtually limitless.

fabric trio Roller shades

Shop our Premium Natural Roller Shade Collection to bring these expertly crafted fabrics to your home.

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  • About Author

    For the last 25 years, Karin Jeske has managed fashion-oriented product lines that have included textiles, apparel, home furnishings, home decor, accessories and floral. Karin has developed curated product lines for retailers of all sizes, from independent, local dealers to household name brands, and now Blinds.com. She enjoys travel, photography and tennis. She lives and works in Riverside, California.