Abstract The present contribution is a part of the work towards a framework for holistic modeling of composites manufacturing. Here we focus our attention onto the particular problem of coupled dual-scale deformation–flow process such as the one arising in RTM, Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion (VARI) and Vacuum Bag Only (VBO) prepregs. The formulation considers coupling effects between macro-scale preform processes and meso-scale ply processes as well as coupling effects between the solid and fluid phases. The framework comprises a nonlinear compressible fiber network saturated with incompressible fluid phase. Internal variables are introduced in terms of solid compressibility to describe the irreversible mesoscopic infiltration and reversible preform compaction processes. As a main result a coupled displacement–pressure, geometrically nonlinear, finite element simulation tool is developed. The paper is concluded with a numerical example, where a relaxation–compression test of a planar fluid filled VBO preform at globally un-drained and partly drained conditions is considered.