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?

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