The Sewing Machine Project

Hello everyone. Every now and then something happens in the world that makes my heart sing and this week I want to share this wonderful “feel good” story with you.

Here is the story in brief, you can read more about it on The Sewing Machine Project website.

Margaret Jankowski of Monona, Wisconsin, had learned to sew as a little girl, but it was not until 2004, when a devastating tsunami hit South East Asia that she learned of how one woman had lost her sewing machine in the storm. She had saved for years to buy this sewing machine and it was her only source of income.

Margaret Jankowski

This woman’s plight struck a chord with Margaret, and she decided to round up old sewing machines and ship them out to Sri Lanka. The response to her plea for donations of sewing machines was so overwhelming that Margaret formed an organization which has since shipped 3,350 sewing machines to schools and community centers nationally and internationally in Sri Lanka, India, Kosovo, Mexico, Liberia, El Salvador, Guatemala and New Orleans following the hurricane in 2005. People are taught to use the sewing machines which not only helps them to rebuild their lives but also empowers women to start small sewing related businesses.

All photos courtesy of

“The Sewing Machine Project now operates on a local, national and international level offering machines and creative opportunities. One of the primary tenets of the SMP is the idea of Paying it Forward. We ask that every person receiving a machine “pay it forward” in a sewing-related way. This idea gives our work a ripple effect and reminds the recipients that despite their own difficult circumstances, they as individuals are important and capable of making a positive difference in their community, giving them a renewed feeling of self-worth.” (quote The Sewing Machine Project)

I love the thought of “paying it forward”, and it got me to thinking how we could use our embroidery in similar small ways, by freely sharing our knowledge, donating surplus materials or simply repaying an act of kindness? The smallest gesture could have a powerful impact on our community and make a positive difference to the world.

Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful week, keep smiling and happy stitching!


22 thoughts on “The Sewing Machine Project”

  1. What a touching story of compassion and empowerment through The Sewing Machine Project! Reflecting on this, it’s incredible how woven logo patches and woven label patches can also weave connections and inspire positive change, one intricate detail at a time

  2. I’ve read your embroidery article. This is really an amazing content you have described complete things about embroidery. This is really special for beginners to develop their embroidery skill.

  3. What a beautiful story, so inspiring. Embroidery and sewing are such beautiful, creative, mindful crafts that give hope and a future for so many. God Bless those who give of themselves to bless others, as they become a blessing that continues to give.

  4. Hi Trish. My name is Paz Hormazábal. I’m from Chile. I teach embroidery. During the pandemia I created some Free online Enbroidery Workshops. On IG I am @manosdepazbordados. I know how good and peaceful it is for our mind and soul, the process of stitching, it is meditative and creative, perfect for this difficult moment of the world. It has been such a beautiful experience for both parts, for my students who have now a new tool to express their creativity and get inner peace and for me it is a precious gift to share my knowledge, meet so nice women, who have become my friends, but above all, the best part has been to give love. I’m so happy for this. Warm regards and hugs from Chile. Thanks for all you give Trish. 💙🌺🌸❤️

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Paz. I think it is amazing that you offered free online classes during the Pandemic! It is people like you who make the world a better place and I know it must have been very much appreciated. Trish

  5. Thank you Trish, for sharing the story about the sewing machine project. That reaffirms faith in the goodness and generosity of so many people. As one who sews, this story spoke volumes. As one who embroiders, it also spoke to my heart about a favorite personal project of mine: providing embroidery supplies to migrants and displaced persons who are waiting in asylum for a peaceful resolution to their plight. Needle & thread arts are such creative pastimes for those who have so little. Their gratitude is overwhelming. If anyone has suggestions on where or how to obtain additional supplies for these ‘bordadores’, I would be grateful. Be blessed wherever you are, my fellow stitchers, Anita

    1. Hi Anita. That’s wonderful that you supply migrants and displaced persons with embroidery supplies, so glad to hear that! Perhaps you could provide us with details of where supplies can be sent and I will post it on a future blog post? Trish

  6. With all the turmoil we see and hear now, this is the bright light that brings hope and love to the world. God bless Margaret and those who are on her team.

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