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

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, use the chat feature on our website, or call your local store for more information.

AllBrands Donates Sewing Machine to LSU Fashion Show Winner

AllBrands donated a sewing machine to one winner of the Fashion Association at LSU’s fashion show. AllBrands is also proud to have sponsored the show.

The Junior Class winner, Bess Schuler, received a Brother Project Runway sewing machine.

One of Bess Schuler’s models with thje donated sewing machine, a winning design, and Kalli Champagne, AllBrands’ marketing manager.

The show consisted of three sections: styling, Junior Class collections, and Senior Class collections. The students honed their skills from their curriculum at LSU to create a wide variety of styles.

Due to social distancing guidelines, the 2021 fashion show was a video compilation of all the contestants’ designs modeled in LSU’s quad. View the entire show below!

AllBrands Donates Machines to Louisiana Key Academy

This week AllBrands had the privilege to donate 4 sewing machines to Louisiana Key Academy, a tuition-free school for students with dyslexia.

Baton Rouge store manager Robert Hall with Jennifer Billings of Louisiana Key Academy

Heather Bourgeois, principal of Louisiana Key Academy, has worked with her teachers to create an advanced drama elective course for the school’s middle school students.

Middle schoolers can spend a semester on costume and set design. They will then collaborate to create sets and costumes for a production younger students will put on later in the semester.

Louisiana Key Academy is a charter school located in Baton Rouge that specializes in teaching children with dyslexia. According to their website, “Louisiana Key Academy’s mission is to serve the community at large, to educate and remediate children with dyslexia in an evidence based curriculum and to stand as an excellent model and resource for other schools and communities.”

To learn more about AllBrands’ philanthropic initiatives, click here!

Allbrands Donates Sewing Machine to Winner of 4-H Fashion Show

LSU’s 4-H chapter held its yearly fashion show virtually last week. The It’s Sew You! section of the fashion show saw its winner in Chloe Litteral from Calcasieu. She will be receiving a Brother RST531HD Sewing Machine, donated by Allbrands. Runner-up Kelcy Hammonds from Bossier purchased the fabric for her project from Allbrands after attending a summer workshop at the store.

View the top contestants of the It’s Sew You! portion of the contest and their submissions below:

4-H is an organization dedicated to providing programming to children and young adults. According to their website, kids and teens participate in “hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors.”

Below is the full 4-H Fashion Show. Congratulations to all the contestants!

Watch the full Virtual 4-H Fashion Show here!

Allbrands Helps Church Distribute Masks to Baton Rouge Locals

At Allbrands, we’re dedicated to our customer’s well-being. In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are adjusting out business model to still provide you with the supplies you need while keeping you and our employees safe.

Two weeks ago, we assisted Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church in their effort to distribute thousands of free face masks to members of the Baton Rouge community in collaboration with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy and local councilwoman Tara Wicker. Allbrands donated fabrics for this project and we’re so glad to see it go to great use! See the full story below from WBRZ:

Allbrands partners with Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge and Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge to create quilting class

On February 26, John Douthat and Barbara Chatelain from Allbrands met with Todd Ulmer, social services director of the Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge, and Renee Chatelain, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge to plan a therapy program for homeless men sheltered in the Salvation Army’s Baton Rouge location.

The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge helps to find work opportunities to those struggling to find work in the area. While Renee Chatelain was touring the bunkers where the Salvation Army hosts the homeless, she thought it would be great for the men living there to have their own quilts.

According to Chatelain, it’s important to recreate that good positive energy one associates with quilts. She was inspired by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit in Alabama that works to preserve the quilt artistry of a group known as the Gee’s Bend quiltmakers, with the oldest examples of these quilts dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. These carefully preserved quilts vary greatly in style, ranging from housetop and bricklayer quilts to more abstract designs.

Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore, director of community engagement at the Arts Council of Baton Rouge, works regularly with incarcerated people. He hopes to talk with the members of this group, once it is created, and help them find images that are meaningful to the members to incorporate into their quilts.

According to Chatelain, everyone can remember their grandmother’s quilts. She hopes this will bring comfort and a welcome creative outlet. Todd Ulmer, program director for the Salvation Army of Baton Rouge, agrees that this will be a great source of therapy for the group and will also serve as a way for those living at the Salvation Army’s local shelter to exercise some of their creative skills.

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.

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.

Youth, Creativity, and 4-H

The winner of the Ready to Wear division, Lillie Christaw,  pictured with her prize and LSU 4-H youth development sponsor, Tanya Giroir.

From a very young age, creativity was something people in my environment embraced. My father, having previously been a professional musician and my mother being one of the craftiest people to walk the earth, I was consistently encouraged to express myself and think of creative solutions to problems I encountered. Now, at 22, I find myself able to embark into unknown territory with a level of confidence, knowing I can creatively navigate most situations and use my creative abilities every day here, at Allbrands. However, far too often in modern society, creativity is viewed as less of a valuable trait. Being able to follow the status quo and act within certain guidelines is typically viewed as being the “smart” way to act, and that makes sense. When a society functions as a hivemind with no creativity to push change, things run more smoothly; there are no desires for social change, no desire for progression. It just stagnates and everyone simply exists in a monotonous, flavorless, colorless society.

Creativity is the driving force behind change. Every single social movement, societal improvement, or trend has had a passionate and creative mind behind it. With no creativity, there would be no cars for us to drive, no lights to help us see in the dark, no paintings for us to look at with a mundane sense of wonder and simply ask ourselves “how?” As a company within a creative industry, we at Allbrands believe it is our responsibility in our community to encourage youth to embark on their own creative journey and keep that same hunger for creation alive into adulthood.

Allowing our children and youth to fully express their creativity is incredibly important. Not only are we nurturing our future leaders and innovators to have minds that solve problems creatively, but the immediate payoff is huge. Students who participate in arts and other creative programs during or after school tend to perform better academically, develop a stronger sense of self-worth, and have a more efficient work ethic.

Winner of the Ready To Wear division, Lillie Christaw in her award-winning garment

In an effort to encourage our youth we have been partnering with 4-H to provide a prize to one of the division winners of their Summer Fashion Revue. The mission of this specific 4-h Program is to grow confidence, encourage creative expression, develop confidence and poise, and allow students to familiarize themselves with the process of organizing and participating in a Fashion Revue. This year, we donated a Brother SB170 to the winner of the Ready to Wear division. In this division, participating high school aged students had to gauge market interest and sew a garment that could plausibly be successfully sold in a retail setting. From the design of the garment to the fabric selection and full outfit styling, the participating students embraced their creative talents and showed us what they were capable of. The winner of the division, a student from Caddo Parish named Lillie Christaw (pictured in her garment above, below with her prize), won judges over with a summary and playful one-piece romper. Despite her excellent styling and design, what ultimately separated her from the other contestants was her exceptional construction and execution of all techniques used to make the garment. Allbrands would love to send congratulations to Lillie, and all young creators like her who embrace their creative sewing talents.

See more looks and photos from the 4-H Fashion Revue • Learn about 4-H