Have you ever wondered how we make our annual Bates Beach Blankets?
In this blog post, we'll answer your questions by walking through our complete manufacturing process - from the first steps in the design room all the way to final shipment. You'll even get to meet some of the craftsmen and women along the way!


Bates Beach Blanket 2023: Step 1 - Design
HAND WOVEN SAMPLING: Production starts with the design team where all our blankets and bedspreads are conceived. While our bedspreads are conceptualized on computers, blanket designs are actually test woven on table looms like the one above.
FUN FACT: The metal reed used to steady the warp yarns in our table loom is made by the same company that makes the reeds for our production looms. Like Bates, the Carolina Loom Reed Company is proudly American-owned and -operated.
Adrienne is our Lead Designer and the mastermind behind our annual Beach Blanket design. She has been with our team since 2014 and has not only come up with lots of new original designs but has also brought back many Bates designs from the archive.


WARPING: The first step in the weaving process is preparing the yarn to be woven. This means that our weave room must build massive beams of yarn (called "warps") in order to be able to weave on our industrial machines.
Bates Warp Tying
WARP TYING: After the warp is built, it must be tied into the loom end by end by using a warp tying machine. Once Steve (pictured) ties the warp in and the filling cones are setup, we're ready to weave.
Bates Beach Blankets 2023 Weaving
WEAVING: The 2023 Beach Blankets are woven on Loom 4.  This loom weaves a yard of material every 3 minutes, which means it takes Loom 4 about 8 minutes to weave 1 large Beach Blanket.
Bates Beach Blanket 2023 Fabric Roll
As the material comes off the loom, the weavers will cut the rolls off as they are filled. They will then bring the completed rolls to the finishing area where they'll be cut and laid out for stitching.
With over 40 years in the textile industry, Danny is our most experienced technician. He is our resident "Mr. Fix-it" and keeps a careful watch over all our machines, from the weave room to the finishing area. He punched the pattern above and readied Loom 4 for weaving your Beach Blankets.


Bates Beach Blankets 2023 CuttingCUTTING: After the weavers move the rolls to the finishing area, a team of two cutters load the rolls onto the cutting table. Each Beach Blanket is then measured and cut with a special round fabric knife before being staged on tables for the stitchers.

 Bates Beach Blanket 2023 StitchingSTITCHING: Once a stack of Beach Blankets have been cut, they are given to the stitchers for hemming. The stitchers will then hem each blanket and load them into a basket for the wash room.Bates Beach Blanket 2023 WashingWASHING: Once a stitcher fills a basket with Beach Blankets, the basket will be wheeled over to the washroom to be washed and dried in our industrial machines. Once the blankets are dry, they'll be sent to the final production area - inspection, folding and packaging.

Diane is our most senior stitcher and has been with Bates for almost two decades. She specializes in applying the fringe to our bedspreads - which takes some real talent because she has to guide the fringe and fabric into the sewing machine at the same time for a seamless hem and stitch.


INSPECTION: Once the Beach Blankets come out of the dryer, they are sent to folding where teams of two will inspect each blanket checking for flaws. Flaws that can be fixed are repaired and flaws that cannot are marked as Factory Seconds and sold at a discount in our outlet store at the factory.

FOLDING: If the blankets pass inspection, they are then folded and packaged by the inspectors prior to going to shipping.

SHIPPING: This is the final step in production when the blankets are labeled and shipped to customers. Most of our 2023 Beach Blanket presale orders have been shipped, and we plan to finish the remaining orders this week.


Shannon (left) and Michelle (right) are inspection partners.  They work together to inspect each item, making sure that it meets our high standards, before folding and packaging them by hand.  We have three full-time folding/inspection teams.


We hope you enjoyed learning about how our 2023 Bates Beach Blankets are made! Still have questions about our manufacturing process? Ask away in the comments below!

May 10, 2023 — Adrienne Beacham

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