West Mill Factory

West Mill

How is Hosiery Made?

The term tights applied to a form of fabric leg covering, by and large extending right from an individual’s waist to feet, and of course fitting as closely as feasible to the body. Thus it gets its name. Most tights are made of nylon or cotton. Yet lycra is usually included as well these days in blends so as to improve fit. Remember tights can be made from anything from Acrylic to Polyester and are typically blends of materials.


Tights are knitted on cylindrical knitting machines. There are 472 knitting machines at West Mill. Most of the Machines have 402 needles and some are the most up to date in the world.


The aim of relaxation is to make the product smaller so that it will fit the make up machines.

Four options: No process

Steam Tumble
Dry Tumble

Automated Make Up

There are different types of machines, which make up different parts of the tights. These include the Detexomat which makes the toe seam, the Interlink which makes slits and also the body and toes of the tights, the Solis Link which does the same as interlink yet it does the toeseams before slitting and seaming bodies, the Autogusset inserts a round gusset into the tights, the GLC carries out all the operations and put labels in it can also insert diamond gussets and finally the Cortese which straighten the work.

Manual Make Up

There are two types of stitching used these are overlock and flatlock which is more expensive.

Products manually made up are XL products with back panel, maternity tights, stockings with lace attached, hold ups with lace or elastic attached and expensive tights.

Stockings and hold ups are toe seamed in automated make up, dyed, straightened and lace rings are made and attached to the legs in the manual make up.


The products are placed in the static dye machines. Full dye lots of about 300 dozen tights in a machine take between 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours. Once they are in the dye chamber, the dye is applied in liquid form to colour the tights. Finishes may be applied to give special effects for example softeners, anti static agents and micro -encapsulation. Finally the dye standards are checked to approved standards and passed through a radio frequency appliance to dry them.


Quality testing is carried out at each stage of the manufacturing process. An independent quality bureau has been set up to carry out the in-house testing for example wash fastness tests, compression tests, size tests and wearer trials.

Exam & Pack

All creases are removed by heating or steaming the products, once this has been done the products can then be packed. Packing routes can be either manually packed or machine packed this depends on the type of product.

Manual pack includes knee highs, hold ups and ankle highs.

Machines pack tights.