Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Resurgence of US Textile Manufacturing, Oh and Stashoholism Confessional

Note:  Blogger ate the originally published version of this post--changes were not made to the original text with any malicious intention!


The New York Times has done a couple of interesting articles recently on the return of some textile and garment manufacturing to the States.

First, they wrote about textile manufacturing, which is returning to US shores where the need for nimble responses to demand is a bonus.  The bad news is that the process has become much more automated in the past, and creates many fewer jobs than the textile mills did when they closed down and manufacturing moved overseas.  However, to my mind, a few good jobs is better than no good jobs.  And the reduced labor costs helps in the competitive pricing area so it's a bit of a catch-22.

Then there was an article on the search for skilled sewing labor to keep up with demand for US-made products.  When the jobs went overseas all the skills and knowledge evaporated.  The few people still around who worked in industrial sewing are generally past retirement age and not looking to return to the factory floor.  The article profiles a course for factory sewing that can't turn out graduates fast enough to meet demand for U.S.-made products.

I am 100% guilty of loving my huge wardrobe and deep closet, but this sort of clothes collecting only became available to the masses when jobs went overseas where labor is such a small part of the cost of clothing as to be negligible.  However, labor prices in the third world are rising as money flows into those economies, the cost of living increases, and expectations for standard of living rise.  I hope that we are reaching a new equilibrium that allows for liveable wages and good jobs on both sides of the ocean.

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Fabric Mart 9-2013

I have been remiss in confessing some recent purchases.  Fabric Mart got me when they put silk at 40% off.  I'd been eyeing the peacock fabric on the left for a couple of months and finally pulled the trigger.  The side border print is challenging and will require a simple dress without a waist seam.  Would you believe that I have zero envelope patterns without waist seams?  They are essential for fitting with my swayback.  I'm going to try Burda 11-2007-110, a simple dress that will show off the print.

The rayon/mohair suiting was the impetus for the order, as it was the "crazy price" item.  It is much better quality than I had expected at that price and I like the subtle metallic windowpaning.  It will be a work dress.  The striped silk will be a shirtdress, and the mesh polka dot knit is because when do you *not* need mesh polka dot knit?  It will be a fabulous accent to any number of items.


Fabric Mart 10-2013 40% Off Sale

Well then a month later Fabric Mart had 40% off everything on the site.  Diabolical!  They know I can't resist that kind of deal.

The cotton twill is a heavy denim weight with a lot of stretch.  It will be a dress from Burda 08-2013-116.  I'd had my eye on the blue sweaterknit for a while; I love the butterfly wing abstract print and the colors.  It will be a long-sleeve tee and I might also be able to eke a dress out of it as it's very wide.  We'll see how it performs in sewing; it is rather thin and may be prone to rolling and/or disintegration.  The red circles knit is for a dress.  I ordered the gray to make a long sleeve Vogue 1282 Donna Karan cowl variation.  I don't know why I thought it would have a sweatery texture.  It was described as poly knit and it feels like poly knit.  I don't think it's a luxe enough fabric for that project, though I do like the color and print.

The J Crew silk was my "splurge" item.  The olive/antique gold floral print is even more gorgeous and lustrous in person than on screen.  It will be a long sleeve work top.  My first thought was a tie neck blouse, but I'm afraid we're on the tail end of that trend and I want this to be a top I can wear for years.  I'm not crazy about button front blouses--I feel like they're harder to wear with a skirt than pants, and I am in a skirt 98% of the time--which limits me a bit in the classic department.  Any ideas?


G Street 10-2013

I also paid a visit to G Street (incident to a necessary trip to Home Depot, I swear!).  They had these two sweaterknits on the bargain table.  The pink is very sheer and will be a cardigan.  The red is a bit thicker and will be a long sleeve tee.  I'll either line it or double the fabric, depending on how it behaves in cutting.  I am obsessed with never having the perfect red for t-shirts.  I don't know why it's such a compulsion for me, especially since red isn't even in my top 5 favorite colors!  My top five are turquoise, olive, hot pink/fuchsia, blue purple, orange, though my wardrobe doesn't much reflect my love of orange.  What are your top 5 colors?

14 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh, Fabric Mart. Somehow I missed these couple sales, which I'm kind of sad about but really it's a good thing. I still have a ways to go on my last Fabric Mart haul! You got some beautiful fabrics! That J. Crew silk especially, it will make a gorgeous top!

Uta said...

The silk prices are amazing - no way could I have resisted either! Can't wait to see what you make with it.

fabriquefantastique said...

that will keep you busy....

Kristy said...

That's really interesting to hear of a resurgence in the US textile industry. With all the focus recently on the working conditions of those making our clothes that we can buy so cheaply I've started wondering about the origins of the fabric we buy - probably the same situation I suspect....

Faye Lewis said...

Wonderful fabrics Trina. I saw a peacock print would fit beautifully into my stash!

Clio said...

Wow, glad I was traveling and unaware of those sales! Nice buys.

Well said about textile manufacturing - I'm glad there is some good news about mass produced clothing. I hope this is the beginning of a trend.

liza jane said...

Thanks for the link, I found that article fascinating. I live about 30 minutes from Gaffney. I drive by empty textile mills all the time around here so it's nice to read about some of them returning, even if the bottom line is because of money.

T. Sedai said...

That 40% off everything deal got me too! Your fabric choices are lovely - can't wait to see what you do with it all.

Oh, and my top 5 colors are: turquoise/teal, purple, black, blue, and green. And I tend to wear them a lot too. At this point I need to start introducing other colors into my wardrobe.

emadethis said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in my discomfort with button downs + skirts. Sometimes I feel guilty about the # of tees I make, but something about that combo feels too stiff to me.

My top 5 are peachy pink, cream, aqua, pale green, and white.

Nancy K said...

It always gives me a bit of a laugh when you 'confess' your fabric buying. Guilt when buying fabric is certainly not necessary. If you feel the need for justification, look at how much you sew. Men never feel guilty when they buy their toys so why do self supporting women need to feel guilty? Enjoy your purchases and I look forward to seeing what they turn into. What I want to know is how women with large stashes and apartments store all of it!

Jane M said...

I loved that J Crew silk and can't wait to see your version. I was able to resist but that 40% off was fabulous. You scored!

Sheree said...

I was really interested to see J. Crew fabrics at Fabricmart . After spending ages picking out my fabric, I discovered they do not ship to the U.K. What a shame.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I fell for the 40% off the site sale too! But it was so amazing and there were a few pieces that I had been stalking too. You were not alone! *LOL* And you know I don't need anymore fabric!!!

I read those NYTimes articles too.

KayY said...

When you get to the Burda dress, beware the neck. I made this as a top and from my notes on PR, I added 1" all the way around the neckline. It' snow wearable but still quite open. http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/64169