Presents Fashion Association at LSU 11th Annual Fashion Show Junior Designer division Winner Tommy Do a Brother Sewing Machine

On Wednesday, May 10th Allbrands owner John M. Douthat, and AllBrands associate Courtney Douthat, attended the Fashion Association at LSU 11th Annual Fashion Show.

The event showcased the designs of the students of LSU Department of Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising.


AllBrands is a proud sponsor for the event, and also gave away a Brother SB170 sewing machine to the winner in the Junior Designer division, Tommy Do. He has just accepted an internship with Designer; Adam Selman, in New York this summer.

Welcome Ladies! is pleased to announce that we have 3 new store managers in our retail stores. Cathy Wright has joined our team and is the new manager of our West Avenue Store in San Antonio. Sheryl Bahena our store manager in the Houston Store decided to retire so we are pleased that we have someone just as friendly and knowledgeable taking her place. Margie Coxie is our new store manager. Margie was already working as a full-time sales associate in the Houston store.  Leigh Babin is our new store manager in our Baton Rouge store. When you meet Leigh you will know very quickly why she was chosen. Leigh always has a smile on her face and loves to have fun with our customers. You can learn more about each one of them below.

San Antonio, TX West Ave. Store Manager
Cathy Wright:

Cathy Shea Wright was born into a family of talented women, many of whom worked at the Lowell Textile Mills in New England. As Irish and French immigrants, these courageous souls toiled in the mills, giving their second generation an opportunity to receive a College education.
At the University of Maine, Cathy completed a Bachelors of Science, specializing in Clothing, Textiles and Design. Over the years, her love of sewing and quilting has evolved into her present role of Independent Consultant and Educator.
An award winning sales person for several of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Cathy’s work has been recognized and published. She enjoys teaching current and new owner classes for many of the top brands of Sewing and Embroidery machines on the market today.
Cathy resides in San Antonio with her husband, Kevin. They have two children; Wes and Kate, and son in-law Ryan. All graduates of Texas A&M University.

Houston, TX Store Manage
Margie Coxie:

Margie, was born and raised in Houston. She has always had a love for sewing and many different crafts. She had 16 grandkids between her 3 daughters and 4 sons. Margie and her husband Clyde live on a farm just outside of Houston. Margie loves being at the store and most of all, loves the interaction with her customers.

Baton Rouge, La Store Manager
Leigh Babin:

Leigh Babin was born in Mobile, AL,but  grew up in Fairhope, AL with twin sister and older brother. She graduated from University of South Alabama with degree in Business Mgmt. Previously Leigh managed the Fabrics & Crafts Depts. for Wal-Mart in Daphne, AL and later became a Real Estate Agent in Baldwin County. She also worked for Ascension Parish School Board at Lakeside Primary after moving to Louisiana in 2011.
Leigh enjoys spending time on the water, fishing, and boating. Leigh is married to her husband, TJ Babin and has two children; Bonnie and Nelson, and one grandson, Jason. She started sewing when she was 9 yr old and enjoy all sorts of crafts and sewing but particularly garment construction and machine embroidery.

Snippets of Sewing News – Guest blog by Joanne Banko

Guest blog by  . . . Joanne Banko

Hello to all my Allbrands friends!

It’s your sewing friend from Ohio writing with some snippets of sewing news for you to read and enjoy. Let’s start with a good sewing story shall we? I recently had a great conversation with my friend Denise Holguin, managing Editor at Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Last fall this premier publication celebrated it’s 100th issue! I know many of you have learned a lot by reading this magazine. I thought it would be fun to interview Denise so you can get an idea of what’s involved in producing each issue and see how Denise uses tools of the trade like placement guides, along with sticky paper templates, and target stickers to achieve the ultimate in perfect placement for her embroidery projects. These specialty tools are available for a multitude of embroidery machine models and of course you’ll find them all at!


To bring you behind the scenes for this story I wrote a blog post called Sew, tell me . . . You’ll see why Denise stopped playing tug of war when she discovered the snap style hoop and glean from her wisdom with excellent embroidery advice for both beginners and seasoned stitchers. She explained why Blue Hair Girl was born and how Patch Celebration was invented to commemorate machine embroidery moments in time. You’ll even find links to a couple free embroidery designs! Our conversation was meant to leave you with a smile and a good dose of inspiration as you progress on your own embroidery journey. You can CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

Now we’ll switch tracks to talk about an entirely different machine, what I like to call a sewing enthusiasts Best Friend! I’m talking about a serger!

Truly, this was one of the greatest inventions ever to be introduced into modern sewing life. I used my first serger at the very young age of sixteen. Now, we won’t count how many years back that was, but at that time sergers were big and expensive, used mainly by professionals. My experience with the serger came by way of a job in a custom drapery factory. There were no color-coded dials or how to manuals for that machine. I relied on experienced co-workers if one of the threads ran out or snapped.

Today’s sergers are so affordable and easy to use they easily find their way into the sewing space of even the most novice sewing enthusiast. Known for their speed and efficiency, these mighty machines can cut hours off the time it takes to complete a project and provide a finish that not only rivals ready to wear – a serger produces stitches that look exactly like the best in ready to wear!

Would you like to try your hand at creating a top notch T-shirt, stitched from start to finish with a serger? The official Brother blog has just posted a project I created to show you the steps for fast, flat construction. You’ll also learn how easy it is to use a serger blind hem foot for finishing and hemming all in one quick swoop with the serger. Complete instructions are available for you to make your own version. CLICK HERE to view this Serger Style T-Shirt Project.

Last but not least, I’d like to encourage you to visit the YouTube Channel. They have uploaded a whole bunch of It’s Sew Easy TV segments originally taped for the PBS show.


These short segments feature my some of my favorite sewing and embroidery techniques. Watch for more videos to be added in the near future!

I’ll say bye for now. I wish you all Happy Sewing!

Joanne Banko is a freelance sewing educator and a self-proclaimed sewing cheerleader. You can see Joanne’s online teaching segments broadcast on the popular PBS TV show, It’s Sew Easy, and online at She is a frequent contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and author of the book Wrapped in Embroidery. The book is available at Visit Joanne at her Sewing and Embroidery website,


Deborah Jones Club Ed Embroidery Party is coming to Texas!


Embroidery Fun and Learning with Deborah Jones

$99.99 Registration Fee

Subway pillow

Discover Deborah’s secrets to getting great embroidery results while you have a blast embroidering on the most exciting projects at any event.
All materials, including embroidery machines, designs, etc., will be provided. We’ll have plenty of specials, door prizes and giveaways.
Each Student will get their own machine to sew on. This means NO MORE TEAM SEWING! We will also have plenty of staff on-hand to assist with projects.

If you’ve attended one of Deborah’s classes, you know how much fun learning about embroidery can be. If you’ve never been to one of her classes, you’re in for a real treat. Either way, don’t miss this exciting opportunity to spend two days with Embroidery Legend Deborah Jones. You will gain valuable knowledge, experience and leave inspired with new unique techniques, projects and memories. Most of all, you will make new friends……CONTINUE READING



Six Unique Projects!
  • Vinyl Pockets Pillow
  • 3D Foam Cap
  • Thread Diva Applique Tote Bag
  • Cuddly Nap Buddy Bear
  • Mylar T-shirt Shadow Work
  • Keepsake Handkerchief
AUG 26TH – 27TH
$99.99 Registration Fee

(see bottom of email for coupon code and details)


Family Tree Quilt by Allbrands Customers Charlene & Kathy Schilling

This beautiful Family Tree Quilt was made by two of our customers (Charlene Schilling and Kathy Schilling) for their Mother-in-law and Father-in-law 73rd Wedding Anniversary. They have 9 children, 28 grandchildren, 52 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.

“When we started this comforter we allowed room for growth. Each family was assigned a color with their family members with a lighter variation of that color. We had to adjust and add limbs accordingly. It took 3 1/2 months to complete it. In addition to the comforter we made pillow shams with our mother-in-law and father-in-law names on them. Then we made a heart pillow with all nine of their children’s names along with their wedding dates.”


New Series of the popular PBS It’s Sew Easy TV starts the week!  Watch Series 1100 – Always In Style

Guest blog by Joanne Banko

Hello to all my Allbrands friends!

I know that many of you watch It’s Sew Easy TV in Louisiana on and elsewhere too!

So . . . I thought you would like to know that the new series starts Thursday June 23rd.

CLICK HERE to read my recent blog post with lots more information about the upcoming series and details about the new shows. And remember to visit your Allbrands retail locations for the machines and supplies featured on these It’s Sew Easy PBS programs.

I hope to talk to you again soon. Until then, I wish you Happy Sewing!





Joanne Banko is a freelance sewing educator and a self-proclaimed sewing cheerleader. You can see Joanne’s online teaching segments broadcast on the popular PBS TV show, It’s Sew Easy, and online at She is a frequent contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and author of the book Wrapped in Embroidery, available at


Visit Joanne at her Sewing and Embroidery website, and on Facebook at


The first step to finishing quilts, is getting started!

Meet longarm quilter Donna Estes, a beginning quilter who has fallen for free-motion quilting after being encouraged by her daughter (Eugenie Decker/Allbrands Baton Rouge, La Store Manager). You may have seen her in your favorite quilting magazine, recently featured in an HQ advertisement.  Donna also teaches FREE MOTION QUILTING CLASSES at Allbrands. (see class calendar)


Donna EstesDonna was on the hunt for a new creative challenge when she was asked to make a top for charity. Thanks to a background in sewing, she was prepared to take on the task. Although she was not initially drawn to the process of piecing, the creativity found in finishing quilts quickly became her primary focus. Donna completed her first quilt in January of 2014 – she never would have guessed that only a few years later, it would be “all about the quilting”.

Learn more about Donna and her quilting at


Donnas-Quilt-800pxQUILT DETAILS

Fabric: Glisten Collection from Whistler Studios

Pattern: Seasonal Stars by Kristy Daum

Quilting: Free-motion quilting on my HQ Avanté®


Learn more about Donna and her quilting at

Donna also teaches FREE MOTION QUILTING CLASSES at Allbrands. (see class calendar)

Article source:

Renee Fleming at Baton Rouge Symphony’s Great Performers Concert


AllBrands owner John Douthat with LSU student Louis Ong and Renee Fleming after the concert. Louis, a baritone from Malaysia stays at the Douthat’s home while he completes his bachelors and masters degrees in vocal performance. John asked Renee if it is true that singing to a baby before it is born will imprint the song for later recognition. Renee said research in Germany shows that it does! John and Annette’s daughter Yvonne Hartinger teaches voice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and just had our first grandchild, so we’ll see. Yvonne’s husband Virgil Hartinger is a classical tenor who travels throughout Europe.

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Advocate staff photo by Pam Bordelon, Symphony Great Performers, At the pre-performance gala for the Baton Rouge Symphony’s Pennington Great Performers in Concert are sponsors, from left, John and Annette Douthat, AllBrands’ Scott and Leslie Berg, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry; Julio and Debbie Dumas; Jack and Becky Harris, and Rena and Todd Ledet, Price LeBlanc Lexus.

See complete article

SewCuba! is thrilled to announce this new initiative partnership with The Sewing Machine Project. We will be sending sewing machines and supplies to support sewing classes in Cuba. Please consider making a donation through a 501(C)3 non profit, to sponsor a sewer!


As Cuba opens to the world and authorizes self-employment and small businesses after decades of a state-controlled economy, YOU can make a difference in this transformation for Cubans who use sewing as a way to improve their lives.

In partnership with of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Sewing Machine Project is offering sewing machines and sewing supplies to the people of Cuba. This effort will serve to support and revive sewing, allowing Cubans to fashion clothing out of their homes for personal use and commercial sale. Sewing is one of the occupations permitted by the Cuban government to stimulate self-employment.

AllBrands will generously donate 25 Brother sewing machines for the effort. The Sewing Machine Project will be offering sewing supplies and fabric to round out the donation.

Your financial donation is so important. For as little as $25 you can support an upstart sewer, giving him or her the supplies he/she needs to move forward, sewing for the home or as a cottage industry. Your kindness will manifest in sewing kits, fabrics, supplies for individual sewers and the sewing classroom.

Making a donation is easy! Simply click on this link and you’ll be zipped right over to our donation page! As you go through the steps you’ll be given the option to earmark your donation for Cuba. Thanks!

The Sewing Machine Project is an IRS 501(c)3 organization and your donation will be gratefully received and tax deductible.


The Sewing Machine Project

Express Yourself with Machine Embroidery and Say it with Stitches!

Hello to all my Allbrands friends!

Today we’re talking T-shirts! It seems almost everyone, everywhere loves to wear the quintessential Tee, from babies and children to teens, tweens, Grandmas, Grandpas, and just about everyone else on planet earth!!! Are you interested in embroidering on T-shirts? Watch It’s Sew Easy TV, Episode #910 this weekend on your local Louisiana Public Broadcasting station and you’ll see the show where I talk all about T-shirts.


You’ll find out how to create a custom design with easy to use multi format BES3 Lettering and Customization Software to make your T-shirt really special. You’ll also get tips for stabilizing knits and ideas for making sure every t-shirt embroidery design is just right before pressing the start button on your embroidery machine.


In show #910 It’s Sew Easy TV continues their trip through the decades of fashion. The theme for this episode was the disco dancing seventies. Kind of a crazy fashion era but certainly one where T-shirts became mainstream and found their way into everyone’s wardrobe. The history of t-shirts is an interesting subject. While T-Shirts were worn well before the 1970’s, in previous decades they were mostly white and still generally regarded as “undershirts.” That changed dramatically by the 1970’s. With the explosion of color and new ink products suitable for printing on garments, T-shirts became commonplace both as a fashion statement, and a form of self-expression.


Today’s T-shirts range from casual to elegant with styling options that make them one of the most popular outerwear items of all time. Modern embroidery machines along with Lettering and Customization software make it easy and fun to embellish ordinary T’s and personalize them to suit the style and taste of all ages and various interests. Embroidered lettering is attractive and durable. It’s easy to transform a T-Shirt with exciting designs, added expressions, names, and monograms. With embroidery capability you can indeed Say It with Stitches!


The featured pink Tee on the show has a very personal and special meaning. I embroidered it for my sister who is a survivor and wears the pink ribbon as reminder of the precious gift of life and the success of restored health. Perhaps you might want to embroider the pink ribbon for someone you care about. You’ll find it available as a Free download from the Brother sews website. CLICK HERE for the Brother version of this pink and powerful emblem.


As always, you can visit the project section and find a link to instructions for this episode and many more. I hope you enjoy the show! It’s scheduled to air Saturday September 26th at 9:30 am. Visit for more details. CLICK HERE to search for PBS stations all over the country.

Talk to you again soon. Until then, Happy Sewing from your sewing friend,



P.S. Will I get the chance to see you in Baton Rouge? I hope so! I’ll be teaching along with Deborah Jones and Louis Carney for the big bash known as Bayou Embroidery University. CLICK HERE for more details. Looking forward to seeing you there so we can talk sewing and embroidery live and in person!

Joanne Banko is a freelance sewing educator and a self-proclaimed sewing cheerleader. You can see Joanne’s online teaching segments broadcast on the popular PBS TV show, It’s Sew Easy, and online at She is a frequent contributor to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and author of the book Wrapped in Embroidery. The book is available at Visit Joanne at her Sewing and Embroidery website,