RicRACK and Allbrands in New Orleans, LA

Allbrands.com is pleased to continue our partnership with RicRACK in New Orleans, Louisiana. On January 23, 2024 Barbara Douthat stopped by to donate three McCalls pattern racks full of antique patterns, lace, buttons, zippers, and thread from the late Annette Douthat’s collection of supplies; over 200 yards of new on-the-bolt fabric; and twelve machines donated to the AllBrands.com warehouse that were serviced by machine repair contractor Joe Armstrong from Top Ten Technical (and creator of Joe’s Clean Air).

RicRACK is a nonprofit creative reuse store and sewing studio doing its best to keep textiles out of landfills. They are located in New Orleans on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. They teach two sewing classes a week to kids and beginners using donated machines from Brother, TheSewingMachineProject.org, and Allbrands. They’ve owned the building for 3.5 years and have been a nonprofit for over 10 years. The energy in the store is quite remarkable, an inspiring hang-out for sewers.

Lizz Freeman Kelly, RicRACK coordinator, states they are blessed to have volunteers and donations from the film industry/donors; however, what they need most right now is money. If you are able, please consider donating to RicRack so they can continue serving the sewers of New Orleans.

RicRACK is located less than 10 miles from our Allbrands New Orleans store and approximately 35 miles from our Allbrands Slidell store. Plan a day to visit the best of what the greater New Orleans area has to offer in sewing, quilting and embroidery.

Holiday at Allbrands Stores

Every year, our Allbrands stores enjoy participating in a friendly holiday decor contest. Entries from Allbrands San Antonio, Houston, Bossier City, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge stores have been received so far.

Stop by to see the decorations and shop in our stores until Saturday, December 23 for the sewing, quilting, or embroidery enthusiast on your list!

Stores will be closed
Sunday, December 24 Christmas Eve
Monday, December 25 Christmas Day
Sunday, December 31 New Years Eve
Monday, January 1 New Years Day

All of us from Allbrands stores and cooperate office wish our customers a happy holiday season. We look forward to “sew” much more in 2024!

Giving Tuesday 2023: Causes you can sew for

As the days get colder and colder this holiday season, you may find yourself spending more time in your craft room. Whether you enjoy knitting, sewing, or quilting there are many wonderful charitable organizations that would appreciate receiving handmade items from your time and talents for those in need.

Here are several organizations that you can use your skills and expertise toward sewing for those in need in your community:

Quilts of Valor
The Sewing Machine Project®
Project Linus
Quilts for Kids | Making Quilts for Kids in Need
Ryan’s Case for Smiles
Days for Girls
Sew Powerful
Operation Christmas Child
Little Dresses for Africa/Britches for Boys
Firehouse Quilts
Emma and Evan Foundation
Little Angel Gowns
Operation Chemo Comfort

If you end up donating to any of these organizations, please share a photo in the comments. We’d love to see all of the work our Allbrands community is doing for others in their time of need!

Brother Donates Fifteen Sewing Machines to ricRACK

RicRACK, a sewing and textile recycling nonprofit in New Orleans, LA, is passionate about keeping textiles out of the landfill and teaching the people of New Orleans how to sew. Recently, Brother USA donated fifteen sewing machines to the cause, allowing even more people in the community the chance to learn to sew.

The Brother machines have already been put to good use at the rickRACK studio! We are so happy to have partnered with Brother, The Sewing Machine Project, and rickRACK for all their wonderful work around the communities of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Allbrands Creative Sewing 2023 Lone Star University

During the last weekend of August 2023, the Allbrands Creative Sewing store in San Antonio, TX hosted Lone Star University, signaling the return of a customer favorite event.

Registrants were grouped into “sororities” that were scheduled for a rotation of six classes during the two day event. Classes were taught by Becky Thompson, Barb Mikolajczyk, Jennifer Gleich, Courtney Douthat (Allbrands After Hours) , Barbara Douthat (Allbrands Live), and Tammi Carson. They worked on projects ranging from vinyl using the Brother Scan N Cut to quilting with the Edge-to-Edge technique.

Here is what some of the attendees are saying about the 2023 Lone Star University:

There’s still time to sign up for Bayou University at Allbrands Baton Rouge on September 15-16, 2023 and Embroidery University at Allbrands Slidell on September 29-30, 2023. We hope to see you there!

Step Inside Lee Miller’s Texas Traditions Boots

Texas Traditions logo

Lee Miller and his apprentice Charlotte are known for creating one-of-a-kind boots in their workshop located behind his home. They have molds for the feet of various artists, including Lyle Lovett, Hall and Oates, Willie Nelson, and many more. Their custom creations are highly sought after, with a five-year waiting list and prices starting at $5,000.

Barbara Douthat, from AllBrands, had the opportunity to visit Lee Miller’s workshop in Texas between attending Brother Experience and Lonestar University in August 2023. Accompanied by Lee Miller’s wife, they were given a tour of the workshop and had the chance to see all of his equipment and techniques.

Lee Miller uses a Juki DDL-5550N for stitching, which he customized with a leather belt to allow for a special technique that slows down the machine as needed. In addition, he has a few older machines from the 1930s that are used for saddlework and boots and can do stitching without a bobbin.

The DDL-5550N Series lockstitch machine offers several improvements for a better sewing experience. The enhancements made to the thread take-up mechanism, feed mechanism, thread paths, and hook result in a more responsive machine that can provide consistent stitch quality even when working with different materials. Ultimately, the Juki DDL-5550N increases efficiency and productivity in your sewing projects.

See Lee Miller’s work on his Instagram.

New sewing and embroidery Machines from Brother at Brother Experience

Brother held The Brother Experience event in Austin, TX from August 13-17, 2023 to launch their 2023 lineup of new Brother machines and accessories. During the event, Barbara Douthat from Allbrands.com showcased some of the new products from Brother during Allbrands Live, including the Brother Entrepreneur One PR1X, a Disney embroidery machine with a crosshair 2-point positioning laser, a fun and imaginative collection of built-in fonts, and 495 built-in embroidery designs, among other features.

Brother also updated its Stellaire series with new XJ2 and XE2 models. The XJ2 is a sewing and embroidery quilting machine that comes with 760 sewing stitches, including 20 tapering and 3 Sashiko, and a 9.5×14 hoop with 2-point embroidery positioning function and LED pointer. The XE2 is an embroidery machine, also in Disney theme, that comes with 101 built-in Disney embroidery designs and 9.5×14 hoop with 2-point embroidery positioning function and LED pointer.

Brother Print Moda

Additionally, Brother also announced the launch of its much-awaited Brother HLJF1 Print Moda, a DTG Direct to Fabric Printer that comes with a wide variety of built-in templates in Artspira coupled with the printing power of PrintModa. The printer is the ultimate crafting companion, has wireless connectivity, and is powered by the Artspira App. The package will come with a printable cotton fabric roll and black, cyan, magenta, and yellow Inkjet ink.

Finally, the best deals of the year on these new Brother products will be available at the Houston Quilt Festival happening on November 2-5, 2023, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, at our 7 store locations in Slidell, Metairie, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Bossier City, Houston, and San Antonio, and on Allbrands.com.

New from Bernina! Sewing, Embroidery, and Quilting Machines for 2024

Bernina University (BU) is an event held annually when Bernina unveils their new products for the upcoming year. This year BU was held in Dallas, TX from June 27-30, 2023. It’s always a thrilling event to see the latest innovations in sewing and embroidery machines. Let’s take a closer look at some of the standout machines from this year’s lineup:

  1. Bernina B790 PRO: This sewing embroidery quilting machine comes with the Embroidery Module L (SDT) included. One of its impressive new features is laser pinpoint placement, which allows you to mark your start and travel points as you sew and embroider. With its 4-point placement function, you can easily and precisely position your designs on your fabric. It’s a machine designed to bring precision and ease to your sewing and embroidery projects.
  • Bernette B79 Yaya Han Edition: As the top-of-the-line Bernette model, this special edition machine is the first Special Edition from the brand. With a 5″ color screen and a 6×10″ embroidery area, it offers plenty of space to bring your creative ideas to life. It also comes with 3 hoops, 18 different feet, and features like Dual Feed and On-screen Stitch Designer. The machine even includes Software 9 Creator, which is valued at $1500. With its unique and striking design, Yaya Han hopes that the B79 Yaya Han edition “Sewing and embroidery can become your life long passion.”
  • Bernina Internet Models: The B540, B740, and B485 are the three internet models introduced at BU this year. The B540 comes in both sewing and sewing/embroidery variants, offering an 8.5″ arm, a 9mm stitch width, and 6mm stitch length. The B740 model boasts features such as Auto Threader & Trim, Foot Lift, Pivot, Speed Control, and an Extension Table. The B485 sewing machine comes with a Jumbo Bobbin, 5.5mm Stitch Width, Auto Thread Trimmer, and a Color Touch Screen. These models provide a range of options for different sewing and embroidery needs.

It’s truly amazing to see the variety and capabilities of these machines from Bernina. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year at BU!

AllBrands Donates to the Sewing Machine Project

Thanks to your business, we were able to donate another 25 Brother machines to The Sewing Machine Project! We have partnered with The Sewing Machine Project for many years now. Previously, we have donated over 100 machines to this nonprofit and are proud to announce we’ve just added 25 more to that number.

25 Brother RLX3817 sewing machines packaged and ready to go to The Sewing Machine Project

We are incredibly grateful that your business helps us participate in philanthropic efforts across the country. We can’t wait to donate more sewing machines and supplies to another charitable cause.

Margaret Jankowski, the founder of The Sewing Machine Project, sent us a letter after receiving our latest donation. Read it below:

Letter from Margaret Jankowski, founder of The Sewing Machine Project, to AllBrands.com

Thank you again to Margaret Jankowski and The Sewing Machine Project for facilitating this! We look forward to continuing to grow this partnership.

4 Ways to Improve Your Home Air Quality

Given the current pandemic, people are spending more time inside now than ever. According to the EPA, though, concentrations of air pollutants can be up to 5 times higher than average outdoor concentrations. This can have adverse side effects, especially for those who may spend more time indoors due to medical conditions.

Never fear! While it can be difficult to figure out where to start, we’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to improve your home’s air quality. Here are four actionable steps you can take, along with a multitude of tips!

Step 1: Get Informed

First and foremost, it’s crucial to know what needs improving. We recommend scheduling a home indoor air quality test so you know what you’re up against. Anything from pet dander, mold, tobacco smoke, or ozone from cleaning products can affect your air quality and, by extension, your health. 

During an air quality test, a specialist will come to your house and identify potential pollutant sources and inspect your air conditioning system. After this audit, you should know what pollutants are affecting your home. You may even be able to find a connection between air pollutants and a health issue.

Step 2: Clean Your Home Thoroughly

After your audit, you may realize there’s something in your home that could be contributing to air pollutants, like carpet or draperies. It can come as a surprise. No shame, we’ve all been there! It could even come from a product you use to clean. Here are a few home cleaning tips we recommend: 

  1. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. Not only will you eliminate potential ozone in your air, the Earth will thank you! Here’s an all-natural enzyme cleaner we recommend.
  2. Clean and sanitize your carpet (if you have it). Ideally, you should avoid carpet altogether as it can trap in dander, grime, and other possible pollutants. If you like your carpet or you can’t get rid of it, though, we recommend sanitizing and cleaning you carpet with something like this Sanitaire carpet cleaner.
  3. Mop your floors frequently. Even if you don’t have carpet in your home, your hardwood, laminate, or tile floors can still be host to dust, dander, and a wealth of other pollutants. We recommend this Reliable mop.
  4. Clean walls, ceilings, window frames, and door frames weekly. We don’t usually think of these as being places where dirt and dust hide, but they hold more grime than you’d think! You can use a damp cloth like this e-cloth set to get started.
  5. Change your vacuum filter on a regular basis. We often forget to replace or clean our filters, but this is essential. Forgetting this may mean your vacuum has to work overtime to get rid of dirt and possible allergens. A well-maintained vacuum is instrumental to a squeaky-clean home.

Step 3: Be Smart About Your AC and Heating Devices

It’s still pretty warm where we are, so air conditioning is almost always a welcome relief. We run our air conditioning often here, so it’s important that it’s well-maintained. Even if you’re not in the hot, humid South, here are some ways to be smart about your air conditioning: 

  1. Set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise in summer. If you’ve never tried this, you’re missing out! Changing your ceiling fan’s direction will make it run at a higher speed, creating a breezy effect that will make you feel cooler. 
  2. Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them. Devices plugged into sockets use heat. Anywhere you can eliminate heat is useful, so unplug those appliances!
  3. Use a dehumidifier in conjunction with your AC. Dehumidifiers remove moisture, something we’re all too familiar with here in the South. Once that moisture is gone, your AC can run more efficiently and will cool your home quicker. 

It is September, though, so that crisp fall weather is right around the corner for many. Many of you will be using your heaters soon, so make sure you’re doing these 4 things: 

  1. Have your heating system inspected regularly. Regular care and maintenance can save you so much money on electricity bills!
  2. Set your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. Remember what I said earlier? This will do the opposite, pulling cool air up and pushing warm air down. 
  3. Close your chimney’s flue if it’s not in use. Eliminate pesky drafts anywhere you can!
  4. NEVER use your oven to heat your house. Not only is this inefficient, but it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning or even start a fire. 

Be Proactive

It’s so important to be proactive in avoiding potential allergens and pollutants. There are other ways to improve your home’s air quality that aren’t just about your AC and heating systems. If you live in an apartment or you’re just on a tight budget, don’t worry about replacing your entire heating and cooling system. Here are a few other things to do: 

  1. Be sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Be sure you have detectors in your home and that they’re working properly!
  2. Invest in a humidifier for the winter. These are awesome if you live in a dry climate. Not only are these perfect for the dry, cold weather, but they can also help with inflammation caused by allergies. This humidifier is one of our favorites.
  3. Get an air purifier. These destroy dust mites, mold, and other allergens. They’re also great if you live in an apartment and can’t change your air conditioning and heating system. We love this sleek purifier from Airfree.

There are a lot of options on this list—don’t be intimidated! Just taking one step to improve your home air quality is a step in the right direction. No matter your air quality situation, there are big and small things you can do to eliminate pollutants and allergens. You have plenty of options and we’re here to help! For more products, check out our other air purifiers and our general home cleaning solutions.

If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us for answers. Email us at csrgroup@allbrands.com, use the chat feature on our website, or call your local store for more information.