Originally Posted – 7/13/2020
Last Updated – 3/19/2023
I often get asked if there are any quilt fabrics made in America and the answer is yes, American Made solid fabrics are grown, spun, and dyed right here in the US. American Made is a line from Clothworks. They currently have 97 different colors, a muslin, a ready for dye, and a ready for printing fabric. I don’t know of a color that can’t be found in this fabric made in the US.
American Made Brand Fabric
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American Made Brand Fabric
In many ways the lockdown back in 2020 was a blessing for me. I was able to attend a lot of quilt industry zoom calls and it was one of those calls that introduced me to Ted Hoffman of Clothworks and the American Made Brand fabric line. I was fortunate enough to get to chat with Ted after the call to find out more about how he and his wife got into the quilt fabric world, why they wanted to make quilt fabric in the US, and more.
How Ted and Candice Joined The Quilt World
Clothworks is based in Seattle, Washington. Ted worked for Microsoft, starting when the company was rapidly growing. As the company grew Ted felt his entrepreneurial spirit grow as well. He wanted to find a company that he could work with his wife Candice at. They weren’t startup people and wanted to purchase a proven company.
Clothworks had been family owned and operated for its entire life but the owner didn’t have anyone to pass the company onto so he was looking the sell it. Ted and Candice got to know the owner and went to Quilt Market and fell in love with the quilting community. As quilters, we aren’t shocked to learn that competing companies are friends and look forward to seeing each other at trade shows it certainly was a shock to Ted. The tech world isn’t that way. So 15 years ago they took the leap and joined us in the quilt world with Ted as CEO and his wife Candice as Creative Director.
The Begining of American Made Brand Fabric
Ted reminded me a lot of Paul. Not being from the quilting world he didn’t know a lot of the whys and isn’t afraid to challenge them. The textile industry changed after WWII, with most domestic mills focused on making industrial textiles and Japan focusing on high-quality low batch runs of consumer fabrics.
When the crash of 2008 happened Ted wondered why couldn’t some fabric be made here. That’s when he learned of the changes and the whys. Textiles are an easy way to bring economic development to areas and Japan had spent decades developing the process to make what we call quilter’s cotton. Ted couldn’t see why that wouldn’t work here. Providing farmers an outlet for their crop, providing truck drivers loads to carry, and mills orders. So for the next two years, Ted worked with cotton industry experts to develop a plan to make quilter’s cotton here in the US. It wasn’t easy, he had to convince mill owners that there was a demand and money could be made. In 2014 the first version of American Mande Brand fabric was shipped. Over the years they have continued to improve all aspects of the product to give us the quality of fabric that we are used to using.
Making Fabric In the US vs Overseas
I wanted to know about the differences between producing fabrics here versus in Japan and now Korea. He said that the mills in Japan and Korea (who were trained by the Japanese), have perfected screen and rotary printing for the detailed requirements of quilting fabric production They know exactly what and how to do it, send them the idea and the order and they are on it. There’s no teaching required because they’ve been doing it for years.
Producing fabric here in the US has been kind of like recreating grandma’s famous recipe. My grandma was known for her cooking ability. She wasn’t known for writing those recipes down well enough to recreate them perfectly. Grandma would leave key steps out, like setting the bread outside on the porch during the summer to produce the same crust. That’s how it has been producing fabric here. Everyone in the supply line had a general idea but there was a lot of tweaking and experimenting to get the recipe as close as possible because the methods had been lost over the years. With the first version of the fabric, they just wanted a viable product. They took the feedback to the spinners, weavers, and the dyers so they could improve on the fabric.
Final Thoughts From American Made Brand Fabric
I asked what Ted wanted us to know in closing. They are a family-based company. The people they work with and their partners are looking to make the world a better place. Treating others with dignity and respect is ingrained in their business. They have made a fabric that has provided a market for farmers to sell crops and jobs to fellow Americans in the textile fields and shipping fields. Not only has it brought jobs and economic growth it is a product that everyone in the production process can be proud of.
Where to Find American Made Brand Fabric
In the last three years the American Made Brand fabric line has exploded not just in the colors that they offer but where you can purchase them. The line is now available at most of your favorite online quilt shops and in a lot of brick & mortar shops across the country. I even found a few colors available at JoAnn Fabrics.
More From American Made
Beyond growing the colors of fabric available Ted and Candice have started a baby quilt company. American Made Bedding is made by quilters just like you using the American Made fabric line.
American Made Quilt Fabric, fabric made in the US