I am about two years into my fort and am starting to notice clothing with "x"s around them showing up in my finished goods stockpiles. I think this means that my dwarf's initial clothing is starting to turn into rags. How should I go about resolving this situation? (I am already growing pig tails). It seems overwhelming as I have about 60+ dwarves.

3 Answers 3


Pig tail cloth is the easiest cloth to produce, so it's best to focus on that for re-clothing your dwarves. You need a farmer's workshop to make pig tail thread, a loom to spin the thread into cloth, and a clothier's workshop to make clothing, plus you have to enable threshing, weaving, and clothes making labors on some of your dwarves. (You can also dye thread or cloth at a dyer's workshop, but that's an unnecessary complication if you just need to make clothes for your own dwarves quickly.)

Since you need clothing quickly, I'd suggest building two of each of the necessary workshops and planting extra pig tail crops. Also, buy an emergency supply of thread or even cloth (any kind, but preferably undyed) from the next caravan. You might also want to buy some leather, since it's often cheaper than cloth. To help offset the costs, sell the caravan any worn clothing; they'll buy it.

Maybe assign at least four dwarves to harvesting, two dwarves each for threshing and spinning, two more enabled for both tasks to act as substitutes when one of the others sleeps or eats, and two dedicated clothiers. use your manager to queue up orders for pig-tail socks, shirts and dresses.

You can also do cloth shoes, trousers, and vests, but to ease the burden on the clothiers, it's probably smarter to build a leather workshop and assign a leatherworker to make those. It will speed up the process of increasing your stockpiles. If you want to set up a leather industry, you'll need a butcher shop and tanner as well, plus dwarves to run them, but cats, dogs and turkeys are good, quick sources of leather.

  • Which types of clothes are the most essential and which ones overlap (like dresses and shirts or something)?
    – Evan Adler
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:17
  • The Dwarf Fortress wiki labels upper body clothing, lower body clothing, and footwear as essential, but I'm not sure if shirt and vest, for example, are both essential, or if a shirt is enough. Likewise, I don't know if socks are enough, or if a dwarf needs both socks and shoes. I believe a dress counts as both upper and lower body clothing, as would a robe. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 23:04
  • Does something like a cloak count as both upper and lower body clothing? If so, I will only make cloaks and shoes
    – Evan Adler
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 12:39
  • I don't think so. The link in my last comment identifies it as upper body only. Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 15:48

Growing pig tails is an essential first step, so it's great you have that figured out already! For a population of 60 dwarves, 3-4 farmers should be enough to quickly bootstrap your textile industry for the time being. If you are short on seeds, I would recommend you limit your farmers only to highly skilled planters, as this will provide you a greater plant-per-seed yield.

From here, you're going to want to build a farmer's workshop and loom and enable the threshing and weaving labors on two of your most eligible dwarves, who will be begin to thresh the plants into thread and then weave that thread into cloth.

Once your bearded artisans begin churning out pig tail cloth, you'll need to build a clothier's shop and set one of your dwarves to the distinguished task of clothesmaking. From here you will have the option of making a multitude of different clothing items, although in your case, we'll want to focus only on the essential ones for now.

There are three basic "clothing slots" that need to be filled in order to avoid unhappy thoughts from your dwarves. Although dwarves can and will wear multiple pieces of clothing from one slot at the same time (such as a shirt, vest, and cloak, or socks and shoes), they only need one item of clothing from each slot in order to prevent an unhappy thought from occurring. The slots are as follows:

  1. Upper body covering - (Recommended: Shirt) This can be satisfied by any one of the following items of clothing:

    • Shirt
    • Vest
    • Cloak
    • Robe
    • Coat
    • Dress
  2. Lower body covering - (Recommended: Trousers) Gender plays no factor in which dwarves can wear which clothing, and as such, this slot can be filled for any dwarf by either of the following two items of clothing:

    • Trousers
    • Skirt
  3. Footwear - (Recommended: Shoes) As far as I know, there's no difference between the following three options, except that dwarves can wear both socks and shoes at the same time. This slot can be filled by any of the following:

    • Shoes
    • Sandals
    • Socks

Once you have a fully established metal industry and start creating armor, you might want to look into replacing all of your dwarves' clothing with Metal Armor. Armor doesn't deteriorate, so you don't have to worry about constantly producing more to replace the tattered old clothing, and it offers greater protection to your civilians as well, albeit at the expense of speed.

  • I don't remember, once you create/buy extra clothing (as opposed to armor and such), do the dwarves start wearing it automatically or do you have to do anything for it to happen? Thanks!
    – user76919
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 2:21
  • 1
    It's automatic! If you have the clothing they need and they're clothing is xTatteredx or worse, they'll switch it out.
    – turner
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 4:14
  • I prefer skirts - they're almost Scottish anyway.
    – Liz
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 14:48
  • user76919 - It's... complicated. Dwarves do automatically change clothes, but they don't always relinquish the old crappy clothes. This is why the DFHack command 'cleanowned x' exists. They still pick up & wear available clothes, but they also stockpile the old garbage, especially if they have cabinets assigned in their rooms.
    – Liz
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 14:56

The hard way:

  1. Grow pig tails.
  2. Process plants to thread
  3. Weave thread into cloth
  4. Use cloth to make clothes.

The dwarf way:

  1. Lure in an elf caravan with promises of untold riches.
  2. Massacre the lot of them & loot their cloth, they usually have huge piles of it.
    • Optionally you could instead trade with them... I guess.
  3. Build a Workshop > Clothier's shop if you hadn't already.
  4. Start making Dresses and Socks.
    Those two items are ought to make any dwarf (even the male ones) happy.
  • Can't say that works terribly well; elves always have shit trades. Works even worse in 2014+, where elves are worthless; at most, I use their presence in the depot to gather up products in the depot for the humans - the real money-makers.
    – Liz
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 15:00

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