Is the US still a major textile maker? + other fabric questions

The wife and I were in Jo-Ann’s Fabrics yesterday.

Lately I have been trying to avoid “Made in China” as much as I can, so I was looking at where the fabrics were made. Here are the countries I saw:

  1. China
  2. Taiwan
  3. South Korea
  4. USA
  5. Japan
  6. Indonesia

Nothing from Europe at all. There were only a few from Japan and perhaps only one from Indonesia. I didn’t look at everything in the store, but I took a decent sample (maybe 20 to 30 different rolls looked at).

To my surprise, rolls from the US were plentiful; perhaps the US, China, and Korea were close to tied with equal amounts.

Now, very few clothes are actually stitched in the US these days, but what about fabrics themselves? Are only hobby-type fabrics made here, or is the US still a major textile manufacturing country?

Consider that Question 1. Here are some other questions for which answers will be met with gratitude:

  1. How is the Sew-Your-Own hobby doing these days?

  2. When was the peak of this hobby?

  3. How does that peak compare with today’s levels?

  4. What trends do you see in this hobby today?


I believe that the U.S. is the largest textile producer in the world, but I’m having a hard time finding stats. The EU produces a lot of textiles and claims to produce more than the US or Japan.

U.S. textiles have greatly declined since I was associated with the industry back in 1964-1975. The only thing that has saved some mills are niches (one mill I know specializes in fireproof fabrics for firefighters) and quotas. The quotas have been lifted effective January, 2005, so now we’ll see what happens.

I cannot tell you anything about sewing as a hobby. However, there is a good chance that the fabric store you visited was operated by Hancock Fabrics. Hancock is one of only two Mississippi corporations listed on the NYSE (oops the other one probably was World Com). Anyway, Hancock was founded in Tupelo, MS back in the 50’s. It has bought up most of the fabric store chains around the company. It recently moved to a new location, within a few miles from my house. They are huge, but my bet is that the “hobby” has declined greatly, since the time when my mother made many of my shirts.

The majority of textiles are used in clothing manufacture, not to be sold in fabric shops. :dubious: :smack:

I suspected this, but what are the percentages for each that are made in the US?