Sunday, April 10, 2011

Made in USA: All American Men's Cargo Shorts

I've searched in vain the last few years for some American-made cargo shorts. At last!

From All American Clothing Co., the new shorts feature two big buttonable pockets on the sides and two rear pockets, again with buttons. There's a draw string inside! 100% cotton makes them cool and comfortable.

I especially like the fact that All American has not skimped on quality or features to keep the price low. When you put them on, they feel like a pair of well made khakis, not the flimsy stuff you get at the big box stores. And actually the price isn't bad at all.

And another thing: All American followed up with an email about a week after delivery to make sure I was satisfied with my purchase. Note there's a good article on the importance of buying American on their web site's home page.

Check 'em out today - All American Cargo Shorts from All American Clothing Co.

Made in USA: L.L. Bean Men's Belts

Once again I resort to my ol' buddy L.L. Bean for a couple of American made gems.

Back approximately in the Neolithic age when I was a young wayfarer to exotic locales, somebody had the good sense to give me a money belt. I have worn one ever since, and to tell you the truth, I think I've only been through two of them. I've had little experience with serious crime in my life, even when we used to have an office in Mexico, but I can attest to the money belt gambit working at least once in the span of the decades. And that was right here in Nashville when three youthful thugs held me up at gunpoint in front of our old office. Not a one of those young Einsteins thought to ask me for the money in my belt.

The last belt had performed years of faithful service but it was on its last leg. Indeed, shortly after my new belt arrived from L.L., the strap broke. The new belt is very handsome, well made, and of course made in the U.S.A. Note that a folded bill fits nicely behind the zipper. There's room for about five bills folded such. The belt is listed as the Chino Belt with Money Zip. Be careful which one you purchase, as some are imported.

Finally, I found yet another type of American made belt at L.L. Bean. Shown at left, it's a really good deal in that it is reversible, includes an extra strap, and adjusts perfectly to fit the comings and goings of the middle-aged belly. This one is known as the Four-In-One-Belt.

And that concludes my belt shopping for the year. Or perhaps the decade.

Made in USA: All American Polo Shirt

Now presenting my spring collection...

I have recently purchased several new items of clothing, all made in America. Pictured here is one of the excellent polo shirts made by the venerable longtime manufacturerer King Louie America, purchased from the All American Clothing Company site.

The shirts are 100% cotton, available in several colors, all made in America. I can tell you from personal experience that they feature quality stitching, a comfortable fit, and ease of laundering. (I'm just a throw it in and pull it out kind of guy and they hold up well under that regime.)

New Product: Cork-Top Cutting Table

We've had many requests over the years for cork tops on our cutting tables. Designers like to pin their patterns into a cork surface while working with them. I'm glad to report we finally have cork tops available, both for ordering with a new cutting table and in sheets for applying to an old table.

Although I have yet actually to see the cork in person, it is described as a 1/4" thick "self-healing" cork. In other words, when you pull a pin out, the hole closes back up so you still have a smooth surface for your next use. Our table company rep says it's "pretty slick stuff" - that's slick as in nifty, not slippery.

If you order it with a new table, the cork is delivered already laminated to the standard table tops. Free-standing, the cork comes on 4' wide rolls. If you want to retrofit cork to an existing table, we will cut the 4' wide sheeting to whatever length you need, but if you require wider than 4', you'll have to piece it.

Unfortunately we do not have a recommended method of applying the cork to an existing top, so you're on your own there. Glue doesn's seem to work too well, according to the table manufacturer, which is why they laminate it. But you can't do that out in the field. Double sided carpet tapes comes to my mind. If we get a good report on using that, or some other method, I'll pass it along.

We price the cork by the square foot and price it as an option, so if you'd like a quotation, please contact us.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

♪♪ “My Baby is American Made…” ♪♪

It’s clear from talking to you folks out there in customer-land that many of you were not even born when the Oak Ridge Boys had a hit with this song in 1983.

The song related that so many things in life were now imported but at least the most important thing was still American made—the girlfriend!

The fact that “American Made” was written almost thirty years ago gives some perspective on where we are today. After thirty more years of the push to globalization, it’s harder than ever to find American made products.

But not if you’re a SouthStar customer! For one thing, you can go to our web site and find a big long list of other folks like you in the sewing industry making things right here in the U.S. Just click on “Sewing Business Resources” to get to our Made in America Showcase. And drop us a line if you’d like your company added.

Also, you can read our blog “SouthStar Says” (which can also be accessed from the Resources page) authored by Yours Truly. I have several reviews on the blog of American made sewn products that I buy and wear or use, and the number is growing. In fact, look for a review soon of some fabulous cargo shorts I’ve recenty acquired, some polo shirts, and a couple of belts, all made here in the U.S.

Now, let me clarify: we are not anti-import. In fact, as you know, we sell a lot of very fine imported products. But we love to champion U.S. manufacturing because that’s our “home team”—and of course it’s good for business!

Putting our money where our mouth is, this month we’ve greatly expanded our line of American-made Heritage Scissors. You may have noticed that some old American name brand scissors you’re used to using are no longer American made. Give Heritage scissors a try. They are excellent!

And then you can sing as you work:

♪♪ “My scissors are American made…” ♪♪