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This article is a quick guide to running a self-sufficient textile industry, which includes making thread and cloth of both plant fiber and silk, dyeing that material, manufacturing clothing, bags, ropes and plant fiber or silk crafts, and decorating with thread.
Plants or Silk
Requires: A farm, a farmer, and the appropriate seeds
and/or: A weaver, a loom, and spider webs
There are six crops that you can grow that are used in the clothing industry (2 for cloth, 4 for dyes), and three types of raw silk that can be harvested with varying degrees of difficulty. Above-ground crops can be gathered rather than farmed, if you don't mind having an unpredictable harvest. If you are lucky enough to have spiders on your map, or unlucky enough to have giant cave spiders on your map, you can produce silk cloth in addition to plant fiber cloth. If you would prefer not to worry about creating the raw materials, you can usually trade for thread and dyes.
Under ground crops
- Pig tails are used to make thread, and can be grown in Summer and Autumn.
- Dimple cups are used to make dye, and can be grown all year round.
Above ground crops
- Rope reed is used to make thread, and can be grown all year round.
- Hide root, Sliver barb and Blade weed can be used to make dye, and can be grown all year round.
- Raw silk is harvested from spider webs created by phantom spiders, cave spiders, and giant cave spiders.
Requires: A farmer's workshop, a thresher, and the appropriate plant
and/or: A weaver, a loom, and spider webs
To create thread from harvested plants, you must query the farmer's workshop and order it to process the pig tails and/or rope reed. Creating thread from silk is somewhat easier: if there are spider webs available on your map, dwarves with the weaving labor enabled will gather the webs and automatically spin them into silk thread. You may want to make sure that your dwarves are not trying to gather webs from a giant cave spider without a military escort -- check the units list to see if any non-vermin spiders are listed.
Requires: A loom, a weaver, and spider webs or plant fiber thread
By default any thread produced will be automatically woven at the loom. Plant fibers will be queued for weaving into cloth as soon as they are processed at the farmer's workshop. Dwarves will automatically gather spider silk if it's available, spin it into silk thread, and this thread will also be automatically woven into silk cloth. If you prefer to create dyed cloth by dyeing the thread beforehand, you may want to Set Workshop Orders so that dwarves only weave dyed thread. Cloth can still be dyed after weaving.
Requires: A clothier's shop, a clothier, and some cloth
Once the cloth is ready you can sew it into clothes, either for trading or for your own dwarves to wear. The clothier's shop is also where you can decorate cloth items with a sewn image. Decorating an imported item (e.g. narrow goblin clothing) makes it local for purposes of trade offerings, and depending on the quality of the decoration can add significant value to an item. Ropes and bags are all also produced at the clothier's shop. Bags are critical to establishing a glass industry.
Dyeing is very useful because it adds to the value of the finished clothes. You can dye either thread or cloth to increase its value. Cloth created from dyed thread cannot be dyed again.
Requires: A millstone or quern, a miller, an empty bag, and the appropriate plant
Once you have harvested or bought the plants, you can mill them into dye.
Requires: A dyer's shop, a dyer, and some dye
Having the dye, you can dip the cloth or thread into it to increase its value.
Required worker / labor
- Grower / Field working
- Thresher / Plant processor
- Weaver / Weaving
- Clothier / Clothes making
- Miller / Milling
- Dyer / Dyeing
- Farmer's workshop
- Clothier's shop
- Either a Millstone or a Quern
- A Millstone requires a power connection. A quern requires nothing else.
- Dyer's shop which also requires
Sample Industry Plan
If your intent is to produce equal volumes of thread and dye (so that all of your thread can be dyed) then you could establish a year-round growing cycle with two equally-sized plots above and below ground as follows:
Spring Summer Autumn Winter Underground Dimple cup Pig tail Pig tail Dimple cup Above ground Rope reed Sliver barb Blade weed Rope reed
This will give you one cloth crop and one dye crop each harvest. This is not the only way to do it, and the above-ground and dimple cups lose any extra growth that comes by growing the same crop in the same plot over consecutive seasons, but it is an example of a growing plan that will keep a miller, a thresher, a dyer, a weaver, and some growers employed evenly year-round and provide high-value materials for any tailors in your fort. If you have access to silk on your map, you may prefer to substitute a food crop for one of the fiber crops, or brew the excess pig tail into dwarven ale.
Large fields, fertilizer, and skilled growers will produce more raw materials; skilled craftsdwarves will use up the materials faster. Choose the largest plot size you can sustainably plant and harvest, because eventually your craftsdwarves will be able to go through materials faster than you can grow them and you'll find yourself queueing up new orders each season. To boost profits, set your workshop orders to use only dyed thread, leave out hide root from your growing plan because of its lower item value, and keep the supply channels full of plant products so that you've always got materials to support standing (repeat) work orders.
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