Welcome, Spring!                  

My goodness, this has felt like a long winter! Here in Wisconsin we’re finally seeing the little plants peeking up and crossing our fingers that the recent flurries were our last.

It sometimes seems as though the Sewing Machine Project is a beautiful plant that we’re being asked to tend. It has certainly taken on a life of its own, with many opportunities, many ways to improve the lives of others in such a creative way. I feel fortunate to be entrusted with guiding this incredible effort, along with an amazing team of Directors. Truly, though, every one of you has helped to tend this Project in some way, whether through donating sewing machines, donating money, or even whispering positive words to encourage new growth. Without you we simply would not be.

I am reminded of a poem that a friend shared with me not so long ago, written by the great Hafiz:

How did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to this world
all its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of Light
against its being,
Otherwise, we all
remain too frightened.

Thank you for all that you bring to The Sewing Machine Project–for your kindness, your generosity and your light.

Read on and happy Spring!


New Orleans, March 2011

I recently returned from New Orleans. This was a busy trip! I delivered machines to the Mardi Gras Indian community, received a community service award from the New Orleans City Council, met with groups wishing to start new sewing education programs, and also with groups helping out in the Gulf in the aftermath of the oil spill. I was also fortunate to be there for Indian Sunday, a day when the Mardi Gras Indians have a parade to show their incredible suits.  The Indians work throughout the year on the hand beading and the suits are constructed on Sewing Machine Project machines. Additionally, the Guardians Institute, dedicated to preserving Mardi Gras Indian tradition, is using SMP machines to teach these skills to future generations.


SeaHope Partners

Our SeaHope bags have been met with enthusiasm! Not only are they available on our website but they are also now available at Spirals, here in Madison and also at Gestures, an art gallery in Rocky River, Ohio. We hope to also feature the bags in shops in New Orleans.
After careful consideration, we decided to lower the pricepoint a bit. The classic messenger bags are now $89 and the artist bags are $139.
We did have a few kinks to work out in the ecommerce sale process but all is well. If you or someone you know tried to buy a classic messenger bag online and were told we were out of stock please check back! We had a little computer glitch and we do have plenty of bags for sale!
There’ll be some new Artist Bags this spring…just received one from the women’s cooperative in Mexico–beautiful handstitched retablos on hand-dyed fabric–scrumptuous! Keep checking back to see these new unique designs.
A portion of the profits from the sale of these bags will be donated to organizations helping those affected by the oil spill. To date we have raised over $1000.

Enchanted Makeovers

Enchanted Makeovers is one of our newest partners. Based in Taylor, Michigan, Enchanted Makeovers transforms women’s shelters into “places of peace and possibility”. EM’s big project for 2011 will be a shelter in the Detroit area. The Sewing Machine Project will be working on insetting a sewing and creative area into the shelter. We just learned that our local representative for Arrow Sewing Cabinets will be donating 5 new sewing tables for the project! We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get started!

American Sewing Guild

I am thrilled and honored to have been asked to be the Keynote Speaker at this year’s American Sewing Guild annual conference in Los Angeles. It will be such a treat to tell everyone about The Sewing Machine Project. If you know of a community group or sewing guild that would be interested in having a presentation about The Sewing Machine Project, please contact me for more information: (margaret@thesewingmachineproject.org).

Please feel free to forward this newsletter along to your friends!



The Sewing Machine Project is:
Margaret Jankowski-Founder and Executive Director
Lois Bergerson-Board of Directors
Susan Dineen-Board of Directors
Peter McKeever-Board of Directors
Andrea Plassman-Board of Directors
Katie Schultz Stout-Board of Directors

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