Yesterday I received this question, “I have a sewing machine I’m not using, is there anyway we can ship it to Zambia to help support the program?” In this post we’ll explain our answer, the current state of the sewing cooperative machines, how you can get involved, and our long-term machine goals.
The Current Set Of Machines
The sewing cooperative currently uses four primary types of machines. They are:
Baby Lock: We are honored, blessed, and grateful that several years ago Baby Lock donated 6 entry level machines via World Vision that we use. These machines are currently our best machines and we are thrilled to have them. They are easy to get repaired, keep running, operate nicely, and are easy to use as training machines for new seamstresses.
Singer: We regularly purchase Singer sewing machines locally that are both treadle powered and electric powered. We have about six of these currently. The reason we use these machines is very simple. The power goes out regularly, and we don’t have a generator or solar powered system (yet) so the foot powered method is very helpful. Yes, this is very old-school, ancient by western standards, but it is better than sewing by hand. Unfortunately these machines don’t tend to last as long, but they are easily repaired and can be kept going or replaced.
Knitting Machines: We use two hand-powered knitting machines to make the school uniform sweaters. These machines work great, require no electricity, and are work-horses.
Old Random Weird Machines: Unfortunately because we always have some machines that are out of service and waiting for repair, we also use some pretty old and weird machines. This is less than ideal, but it is necessary because we don’t have enough good quality machines.
Here are pictures so you can see what the current set of machines looks like:
A Huge Thanks To Our Machine Donors
We are incredibly grateful for what we have and are working hard to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us. The most recent set of Singer machines was purchased with funding from Nancy Alexander at Lady Bug Wreaths. Here is a video we made for her that you might enjoy watching:
Our Current Maintenance Program
These machines are heavily used and frequently break. We currently have a small repair budget that allows us to keep these machines operating. There are local machine stores and repair people that can come and fix issues and solve problems. As you might guess, several of the people on our team are also very good at simple maintenance and repair too.
Wanted: A Long-Term Strategic Partner
We need to acquire a set of (12 to 15) high quality machines that can be used for ongoing production. Only time will tell how this happens, but we know it will. If you’re reading this and you work at a sewing machine manufacturing company and would like to begin working with us and donate a set of high quality machines, please contact us. This will allow us to use our Baby Lock machines as training machines, and our Singer machines as ’emergency use’ machines.
Our hope is that these higher quality machines can be donated – and if they are – the amazing company that steps up will have a new strategic partner in Sew Powerful and Liberty Jane / Pixie Faire. Cinnamon has previously served as a brand ambassador for Bernina, so we are comfortable being good partners and using our very large email marketing effort, organic traffic, and social media engagement to spread the word about your good deeds.
Wanted: Individual Donors For Sewing Fund
If you love sewing machines, and would like to help us ensure our cooperative has the best machines possible, then we’d love your on-going support. You can designate any gifts to “sewing fund” and we are happy to use the money accordingly. You can give a gift of any amount via paypal, just visit the link on our giving page. To give a larger amount and ensure we get the designation details correct, we recommend you contact us.
Why We Can’t Send Your Machine To Zambia
Many of you reading this have extra machines that you would like to donate. Please do! Your machines are valuable and we need support. But unfortunately we can’t send your machine directly to Zambia. The challenge is two fold:
- Shipping machines to Africa is very costly. So we cannot take machines without the funds to ship them. So giving us one sewing machine is not helpful. But that’s just half the problem.
- Our sewing cooperative team needs to all be using the same machine (or just a few models that they can master). Having a collection of random machines is not helpful, since the service, parts, training, etc. would all be different. This would lead to confusion, frustration, broken machines, and a waste of time and money.
The Best Way To Donate Your Sewing Machine
There is of course a simple solution. If you have a machine that you no longer need, or aren’t using, then you can sell your sewing machine locally and simply donate the money to us so we upgrade and improve the machines we use in the cooperative. There are lots of great ways to sell machines including eBay, Craigslist, offerup, local Facebook Selling Groups, garage sales, local stores, and many more.
Please consider selling your machine today, sending in the funds, and letting us know it is for new sewing machines. Your un-needed machine could be a huge help in fulfilling our mission of creating purposeful products including both school uniforms and hygiene supplies.
If you have any questions about this topic, we’d love to hear form you. Please use the contact form and send us a note.