Written by Carol Pomeday
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:11
Two Girls, a Sewing Machine and a Dream is an appropriate name for the business started by 10-year-old Town of Saukville twins who barely resemble each other but can finish each other’s sentences.
Morgan and Hannah Voeller, fifth-graders at Ozaukee Middle School, have turned their interest in sewing into a business that they and their parents Jody and Steve hope will help pay for their dream.
Actually, there are two dreams. Morgan wants to design clothes and own a fabric shop with her sister. Hannah also wants to be a veterinarian.
The girls make and sell funky fleece hats for $5 to $8.50 and scarves for $3 to $7. Hats and scarves embroidered with names cost more.
Expenses are deducted from sales, but the remainder is put into a savings account, their mother said.
If they want to sew something for themselves, the girls use money they received as gifts, not the savings account.
“They know the value of money,” their mother said. “They’re very tight with their own money. They question if they want to buy something and if it’s worth it.”
The girls’ sewing projects recently were featured at Associated Bank offices in Port Washington and Saukville. All the money from sales went directly into their account at the bank.
Morgan and Hannah also sold their items at the Saukville farmers market last fall, and they were the youngest participants in the first Ladies Night for female entrepreneurs at Chrissy’s Now and Then Pub in Belgium.
Their hats and scarves are available at Smith Bros. Coffeeshop and Studio 3-2-1 in Port Washington and the Cracked Shoe in Cedar Grove.
The girls recently completed an order for 28 blue-and-white Jets hats for Roncalli Catholic High School in Manitowoc.
It would seem they must spend all their free time at a sewing machine or cutting table, but that’s not the case, the girls said.
Hannah is on track and cross-country teams and will compete in the Hershey Relay at Grafton High School. She will run the 400-meter race and a relay.
Morgan is her biggest cheerleader and would like to get into gymnastics.
Hannah likes to collect creatures. She has three salamanders and two toads in aquariums in the laundry room. Morgan helps feed them, but is not as crazy about them as her sister.
The girls spend most of their free time outdoors, often helping their father with projects, including raising vegetables and flowers started from seed in a greenhouse.
Once or twice a month, the twins spend the weekend with their grandparents Kathy and Ron Swihart of Lake Church, where they sew most of the time.
“We basically eat and sew,” said Kathy Swihart, an avid sewer who learned from her mother Ann Karrels, who was a seamstress.
“Everything she sewed was perfect,” Swihart said.
The girls have watched their grandmother sew since they were toddlers. Now, their 4-year-old sister Ava watches them.
When the twins were 6, they asked their grandmother to teach them to sew.
“We just wanted to sew, and she started showing us stuff,” Hannah said.
The girls learned quickly and soon were making outfits for their teddy bears, dolls and stuffed animals.
“They would sit down and cut something out, designing it themselves,” Swihart said. “I was surprised at that. They made up their own patterns. I can’t do that.”
Swihart taught their mother to sew when she was in seventh grade. She sewed through high school, but then lost interest, Voeller said.
“I would love to get back to doing it. I just don’t have enough hours in the day,” Voeller said.
The girls use patterns for some items, but like to design their own clothing.
They can operate all of their grandmother’s sewing machines, including a computerized machine and a serger, but they prefer a 40-year-old, foot-pedal Viking sewing machine.
“It sews really good, and they have more control,” Swihart said.
The girls made numerous Christmas and birthday gifts last year, including fleece quilts and pillows for their grandfathers and potholders and microwavable heating pads filled with rice or corn for teachers.
The twins dressed alike until they were in fourth grade and finally convinced their mother it made more sense to buy one outfit they could share rather than two of everything.
“When we first went to school (in different outfits), the kids said, ‘Why aren’t you dressed alike?’” said Hannah, who is a little less shy than her sister.
Hannah is taller, has dark hair and dark eyes. Morgan has light brown reddish hair, freckles and lighter brown eyes. They both have dimples and quick smiles.
Morgan’s favorite colors are pink and purple, while Hannah prefers blue and green.
Their most difficult project so far was ruffled skirts for themselves. They also made hooded fleece ponchos.
The girls want to share their talents with others.
They have colorful fabric to make into pillowcases for patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, and they are brainstorming ideas for what they can make for people in Haiti.
The girls can be reached by e-mail at
Twins Morgan (right) and Hannah Voeller wore ponchos and hats they made for their business Two Girls, a Sewing Machine and a Dream. Photo by Sam Arendt