Partnerships–The Sewing Machine Project and Allbrands

By Margaret Jankowski, Founder, The Sewing Machine Project


The Sewing Machine Project is a nonprofit organization that works with other groups across the country to donate sewing machines, sewing supplies, and sewing classes. Since 2005, The Sewing Machine Project has distributed over 3,000 sewing machines. Below is an article by founder Margaret Jankowski about their partnership with us over the years, as featured in the VDTA-SDTA News magazine’s January issue.

Our partnership with John Douthat and AllBrands in Baton Rouge, LA has stretched over many years. John found us and we’ve been collaborating for over a decade. And for every step we’ve been grateful.

Some photos from The Sewing Machine Project’s recent efforts in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and in Cuba for their Sew Cuba program.

We have shipped pallets of machines to different AllBrands locations, most often to the Metairie, LA store for our work in New Orleans. We ship the pallet or UPS set of machines shortly before we plan to work there and then fly in and pick them up on that end. The AllBrands staff members are amazing and so helpful.

AllBrands donated 100 Brother machines after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Partnering with a charitable group gathering supplies for a container in Mississippi, John shipped the machines to Mississippi and we shipped fabric and notions to the same site. The charitable group, hurrying to deliver supplies, gathered everything and sent it on to Haiti.

John arranged a partnership with LSU’s New Orleans campus and we shipped a pallet of machines to supply their theatre department as they recovered after Hurricane Katrina. We met John for a presentation of the machines in their newly renovated theatre.

It was John’s work that helped us partner with a company supplying small industrial machines for use on sailboats when we laughed our SeaHope project in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. With SeaHope we gathered donated sails from sailors in Wisconsin and took them to Houma in Terrebonne Parish, LA, to make into messenger bags to sell as a fundraiser. John connected us with Sailrite out of Indiana and they donated 10 compact industrial machines for the project. Proceeds from the sale of messenger bags were donated to organizations working with those affected by the spill.

Sister Gisela, a volunteer for The Sewing Machine Project’s program in Cuba, holds up a new creation.

The Sewing Machine Project worked with AllBrands to ship machines and supplies to Cuba to begin sewing lessons there. AllBrands donated the machines and we asked our donors to offer fabric and supplies. Together we launched a sewing program in Cuba. Today AllBbrands collects donated sewing machines for our work in New Orleans. They are currently preparing a set of donated machines for a 4-H group helping kids learn the benefits of sewing and then will prepare a second set for a group of working teens creating a community center in the area. Partnership works. While the SMP clearly benefits from AllBrands’ generosity, AllBrands benefits as well being known as a leader in the community as well as putting their brand in front of new sewers who, when able to purchase their own machines in the future, will more likely then not, purchase through AllBrands. We are exponentially grateful for the kindness that AllBrands has shown us and continues to show the world.

To learn more about The Sewing Machine Project, visit their website here.

Sewing Group Bands Together for Australia Wildfire Relief

Checklist of needed supplies for the Animal Rescue Collective Crafters’ Guild from January 4, 2020.

Sewing groups aren’t just a way to make friends, but can also be a way to make a difference in the local community. Now with the rise of social media, the world is more interconnected than ever. In the wake of tragedy small groups can make a difference not just locally, but all across the globe. 

Since September 2019, devastating wildfires have ravaged Australia, destroying homes and decimating ecosystems across the country. According to ecologist Chris Dickman, over a billion animals have died since these fires have started. If you’ve been active on any social media platform these last four months, you’ve likely seen many images of injured animals rescued from the devastation. Being so far away from such a large environmental disaster, it can feel like Americans can’t make a difference in a tangible way.

While the situation is dire, folks around the world are coming together not only raise money, but to create and donate resources. Rescue centers in Australia are in urgent need of bat wraps, joey pouches, and blankets to help those animals who were able to make it out of the fires. The Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild, located in Australia, is working with wildlife groups and crafters around the world to get these desperately needed supplies.

Australian rescues desperately need joey pouches for rescued animals. As the name suggests, these pouches can fit joeys, or baby kangaroos. They mimic kangaroo pouches where young joeys rest until they’re old enough to fend for themselves. According to the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild, will help not just those baby kangaroos, but also sugar gliders, possums, koalas, and wallabies. The patterns for the pouches were shared on various social media platforms and can be scaled up or down to create different sizes for different animals.


One member of a local sewing group, who met in our Baton Rouge location, creates joey pouches to be sent directly to Australia.

One such group came together this Thursday at our Baton Rouge location to help with relief efforts. This sewing group in particular met in our Baton Rouge location in 2013. Now, almost 7 years later, the group is still getting together and sewing regularly. A local wildlife organization has been reaching out to businesses in the Baton Rouge area to ask for any help in sending resources almost 10,000 miles away to Australia. One customer got wind of the need for help and assembled her sewing group to help. Thursday the group came together to make joey pouches of all shapes and sizes to send directly to local rescues in Australia. The ladies worked on several pouches on our Brother Dream Machines in our sew studio.

These ladies donated supplies and so can you! Patterns for these pouches are available here, so please pass the patterns on or make your own pouches! In a time of serious environmental disaster you can make a difference like these customers did.

Our 6 Retail Locations Get LED Displays

Greetings Everyone. We thought we’d let you know that in each of our 6 retail locations we’ve installed these new LED Displays. They provide an interactive experience for our customers allowing them to stay updated with all the happenings with Allbrands.com. From classes, to events, to just information about us, these TV’s provide an awesome outlet to stay connected with us. Visit your local Allbrands retail and check it out. Who knows? You might just see yourself on TV