How to search for clothing manufacturers

Rather late in the game, I’ve discovered flow charts. A recent post to the F-I Facebook page inspired this one on how to search for clothing manufacturers. Said one visitor (in response to my news that domestic apparel production continues to increase for the third quarter in a row and is now at 20%!)

It sure would be nice if there was a list of manufacturers in the USA. It’s pretty difficult to figure it out. Have any recommendations for women’s wear?

I’ll give the redux of my response to her below but back to the cheat sheet I made on how to search for clothing manufacturers:


If you’re new to these parts, the cut to the chase summary is that instead of looking for a clothing manufacturer, you should be looking for a sewing contractor. And to find a sewing contractor, you need to first find a pattern maker who will hook you up with a contractor. This is pretty basic stuff; the A of the ABCs. May I suggest reading a book about it? It’ll make a world of difference.

I’ve been working on another flowchart -do you find this sort of visual helpful?- which explains the various options you have when considering how to go about producing your collection. Specifically, the difference between hiring a full service contractor, going with private label, versus managing your own product development. I had hoped it would be done today but no such luck. Sheesh, writing entries takes less time. That sounds negative; in truth I’m rather hopeful and excited about the possibilities.

[Making the flow chart was a little harder than it looks because I have an ancient version of Excel (2003). I can’t upgrade easily because the newest version needs a newer OS version (I’m still running WinXP). The latest and greatest PC flavored OS requires a 64 bit system and mine is 32. Wah! When I bought my server in 2007, it was so super-duper it was supposed to last me forever! Don’t you just hate migrating? Enough griping. And don’t tell me to migrate to Apple because I’ll throw a virtual chair at you. Very few of my programs will run on the super-duper MacBook Pro I (also) bought.]

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