On January 1, 2011, I began a one-year project dedicated to the memory of my entrepreneurial, patriotic, Hollywood cinematographer Dad.  I would seek, find and buy only products made in the USA for a year and blog about the journey. My husband, Don, enthusiastically agreed to follow the Buy USA rule. On New Year’s Eve, 2010, I launched the blog with my first post: Here’s to You, Dad.

To my surprise, within days people from all over the country (and beyond, including China) began reading and clocking in, sending encouraging comments, manufacturing related news items, and tips about American-made products they’d discovered and wanted to share. An ABC World News interview with me (see it here) further spread the word about China Ate My Jeans.  This little project, begun as a way to mourn my father’s passing, had morphed into a larger, shared journey.

We all had so many questions: Do we still manufacture here in the USA? Why is 99 percent of all apparel now made anywhere but here? If we (as a country) are what we make, what does our country stand for? If we care so much about the environment, why do we purchase products that have to be trekked to our seaports via city-block-length container ships? If we care so much about working conditions, why do we purchase products made in foreign countries by underpaid, underaged workers?  Lots of questions. This project couldn’t end after a year. There was still so much to discuss.

So beginning January 1, 2012, I returned to the project in a different way. I would allow myself (and my spouse, who by year’s end couldn’t wait to shop once again at German-owned Trader Joe’s) to purchase imports as needed–a new iPhone, new laptop battery, new clothes, and how could I get by for another minute without an iPad?–but would limit imports to half (or less) of my total household purchases. I would continue to seek, find and write about products Made in the USA, and to interview company owners, research manufacturing, and discuss related news of interest.

If you’re new to China Ate My Jeans, welcome! Hope you’ll read, comment, and send product suggestions as well as news items.  Comments will be posted for all to enjoy. If you’d prefer to contact me directly, my email is: tina@chinaatemyjeans.com




16 thoughts on “About”

  1. Just found the link to your site today; pity. Thus far reading today’s entry is like looking into my own mind. I hate, hate, hate buying items not made in America. I will, if I have to, succumb to something not made in China as a way to differ my money from China when possible. I know it is virtually impossible to NOT buy stuff from China, hey they gotta eat too, but must we really stock our shelves with all things China?? Going forward I will send you the names of everyday items that I find are made in the USA. I will also get caught up on your blog so I do not repeat anything you have already covered. BTW – I drive a 1999 Chevy (partially made in USA and head quartered in USA), all my drinking and wine glasses are Libby (made in USA), and my dishes are Corelle (made in USA), running shoes New Balance (made in USA), running socks Under Armor (made in USA). Keep up the faith and we will turn the tide on imports. I once read “It matters not who sold the apples but rather who owns the orchard” and it is not USA in too many ways!!!!!!!!

  2. Tina,

    This is an amazing blog. I love it. I blog about buying American as well, except with a little more emphasis on the economics of why it is so important. I try to emphasize the personal journey of buying American, but time only allows for so much. But I am blown away by how well you have captured that. I am going to add your blog to my blogroll. I noticed you don’t have one. Should you decide to add one, I would greatly appreciaite being added to yours. And if you get the chance, please check mine out and sign up for facebook and subscriptions and all that. Fantastic blog! Thank you for doing it.


  3. I remember back in the late ’80s when I first started noticing items made outside of the U.S. I live San Antonio, TX and I recall walking into a Lords and Taylor store, liking a blouse and while I was checking for “care instructions” (which I always do as I rather wash not dry clean) that the label said made in Malaysia. After I looked around at many blouses and none had a Made in the U.S. label, I asked a clerk if they had any made in the U.S. and was told “no.” I said well I’m not shopping here. Since that time it has become really hard to find anything made in the U.S. Many times I don’t buy the items or go for items made in the Americas. It’s really good to check your blog and find that there are a few items Made in the U.S. We need to tell people to ask stores about stocking items Made in the U.S.–It’s good for the USA economy!

  4. Tina,
    We are the All American Store – the only retail/hardware store in America that sells only items made or assembled in America. We have two locations in the Dayton, Ohio market with more to follow. We can relate to your search for American made products and have done so for over two years. Please visit us at allamericanstore.us it would be a delight to speak with you.

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!! I just saw the ABC piece wonderful :) I am so dang proud of you, what a great way to honor your Dad and help people realize how much it makes a difference to buy American. I actually do not know of any others who care about this issue. I always try and buy American, but not as good as I probably could be. It can be exhausting, or an all day/week event. We have 8 children, 6 still at home from 20-6 ages, and it is a challenge in clothing especially to find American made. The second best for me is buying at a thrift store, thus the monies are going directly to who profits from the sale, ie Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. I have always encouraged others to buy thier produce, dairy and meats locally first, from California second, from the USA third. We are in farming, a dying profession. Anything I can do to keep an American farmer in business I’ll do. Keep up the great blog!! the only one I will follow regularly! blessings~~

  6. March 17, 2011

    Dear Tina,

    Thank you, thank you and thank you. I love what you are doing!

    I’ve been a proud domestic clothing manufacturer for 25 years. I’ve watched the apparel industry basically disappear. With that said, I STILL HAVE HOPE! I think that people are starting to reevaluate their values and are becoming more aware of the consequences of their actions. I appreciate what you, Dianne Sawyer and the media are doing. It’s time for our country to wake up!

    I recently created an inspirational clothing line called HeartThreads™ Clothing. Every shirt is custom made to order (in the USA) with the customer’s size, color AND an affirmation of his/her choice printed on the inside close to the heart. I believe that the affirmation brings out the full potential of the wearer. These are affirmations such as, “Happiness! There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. My happiness is now.” My goal for these affirmations is to bring out the best in the wearer. It doesn’t hurt that each shirt is top quality supima cotton with a very flattering cut and superior dye job, either!

    I am very passionate about making HeartThreads™ domestically because:

    • Our shirts have virtually no carbon footprint. From seed in the ground to finished product is 450+ miles. The mills (based on our spec’s.) buy the Supima cotton from farmers in Fresno, CA or Phoenix, AZ. The shirt is knitted in Los Angeles, CA then cut and sewn in Gardena, CA. It is finished/ distributed from our office in North San Diego.

    • The positive intent of being manufactured in the USA creates positive energy. I believe that the best way to diffuse positive energy to the world is by a positive act or thought. Everyone who touches the shirt in the manufacturing process, from the local cotton growers to the sewing operators is paid appropriately and feels positive about the outcome. When every part of the shirt is made with a positive mind set, you are creating an act of kindness. This intent ultimately infuses positive energy into every HeartThreads™ shirt.

    • By producing HeartThreads in the U.S., we support our own cotton farmers, workers and fabric mills and help the economy. Ultimately, consumers have more money to spend on things like inspiring shirts and other made in America products. It’s pretty simple.

    As you can tell, I wasn’t kidding when I said that I believe in “made in the USA”. I try to take my manufacturing to the highest level and the shortest distance!

    Again, thank you for all that you are doing to support all of us who are trying to keep jobs and quality products in America.


    Scott Wilson
    HeartThreads™ Clothing
    6612 Grulla St.,
    Carlsbad, CA 92009
    e: SWilson@HeartThreadsClothing.com
    p: (760) 715-0581

  7. Jeepers.
    I think I have been on this kick since 1988 when the first Wal-Mart opened in the area. It is kind of ironic that even though I drove Uta crazy whenever we were shopping, and I looked at the labels (here in Germany) and noted where things were made, that now she is even cognisant of the fact.
    It got to the point where she would not want to go shopping with me due to comments like ‘check for fingers from the Chinese children’, or ‘how much blood was spilled for the oil that was used to get the ‘stuff’ here’? Today a co-worker wanted to get bowls for the Kindergarten, and said, “Go to Kodi, we can get them for next-to-nothing.” Uta replied, “But they are surely made in China”. What a woman!
    Somewhere at the farm is a 17 page paper I wrote back at University titled “The coming Global Economy.” Not to burden anyone with more details, as now I am writing the whole thing up on the site http://shakeyourfist.com

    BTW, the other blog regarding route 66 and all can be found here: http://englishspokenhere.de/ESHblog/

  8. Hi Tina – found your blog via the ABC News series on Made in America and just read your posts to date – LOVE what you are doing!

    It’s a wonderful thing that your Dad inspired you, but it’s quite another that you are actually pursuing this, and have committed to doing so for an entire year – and blogging about it! Really inspiring – so thanks!

    I’ve been manufacturing women’s baseball caps in the US for 5 years now – and am on my third factory! It’s almost impossible to find a baseball cap made in America nowadays. Many companies say they manufacture ball caps here in the US, but they are actually importing the caps and then embroidering them here.

    My company, Madcapz, (http://www.madcapz.net) is different in that we actually do manufacture the caps here – 100%!

    It’s a passion of mine, but to be honest, is getting more and more difficult with the continually increasing manufacturing costs here.

    Many thanks for writing about your journey and I look forward to following along!

    Best regards,
    Carrie Bell
    President & Owner, Madcapz
    Larchmont, NY

  9. I came across your blog when doing research for my personal challenge to find American made goods in everyday mall stores. Congratulations on all your work thus far! I would love to talk to you more about your challenge and obstacles, resources and surprises you have come across, etc. I am particularly interested in finding ways to support our economy by buying USA Made products while ensuring I do not support sweatshop labor practices.

  10. My dad pointed out your site. I just wanted to let you know that we are one of the few Catholic retailers in the country that doesn’t buy from China. We do buy from Italy, South America and Korea but have never sold anything from China.

  11. Tina,

    I recently started reading your blog. I have only read the last few entries but definitely plan on catching up within the next couple of weeks. I love what you are doing and what a great tribute to your dad! The Resources page is so helpful.

    Honestly, I did not start thinking and looking into buying products made in the USA until about a year and a half ago when I met my now boyfriend who brought it to my attention. I did not realize just how much stuff is made anywhere BUT the USA.

    My ethnicity is Chinese but I was not born here. I was actually born in Indonesia and lived there until my family moved to the US when I was 12. I’m 24 now, so safe to say I pretty much grew up here. I became an American citizen last November and consider myself an American. My boyfriend and I try to buy American made. We encourage those around us to do the same. For Christmas I bought him 3 shirts from All American Clothing. He wears those shirts all the time. His favorite was actually the least expensive one of the three and it says “save USA jobs one shirt at a time. Are YOU helping?”

    It upsets me that so much stuff is made in other countries and people wonder why the economy has tanked and is not improving. How can they not see it? The thing is, I did not see it either until it was pointed out to me. That is why I think your blog is great in that it is helping to spread the word around. Keep up the good work!


  12. Hi! I’m so happy to have found your blog (from the ABC interview) and to learn that there are other Americans out there seeking to buy American. Relieved to know I am not alone. It has always bothered me the amount of items made outside the US, particularly China but it was not until yesterday that I decided I’m not going to do it anymore. Even if it means going without, I’m going to do my best. I started with only buying American made school supplies for my oldest daughter. Let me tell you, it took a lot of time and effort but we did it (although we still need to find scissors!). My daughter (10 yrs) even got involved and was so excited when she found an eco-friendly binder that was Made in America, http://www.bindersforlife.com

    Looking forward to reading more on your blog. Thank you!


  13. Hi Sarah,

    Ah, school supplies. That has got to be a challenge! Remember Ticonderoga # 2 pencils? They used to be Made in the good ol’ USA. No more. Sigh.

    Thanks so much for sharing the Binders For Life link. Awesome discovery. Maybe someone out there has a lead on American-made scissors…? Fingers crossed.

    And a huge thanks to your daughter. She’s the hope for our future!

  14. I have enjoyed following your blog this year and have found many great things as a result…

    Are you going to extend the project?

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