Sewing with My Little Sister

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all having a good week/end. This last week has been crazy which is why it’s been a bit quiet around here. This coming week should be a little quieter on my side and louder in the blogging world 🙂

As you’ve probably inferred from the lack of an ALL CAPS post, I was not a finalist in Gertie’s Grand Giveaway. I’m a little sad about that, but I still have an awesome dress to show for it and all of you who have commented about how much you love it are certainly lessening the blow 🙂 Honestly, I’m just amazed I stuck with it and actually got the pictures in on time.

Butterick has posted all the entries here. I’m on page 6 🙂

sewing with my sister

Though I haven’t been posting, I have been sewing. Specifically, I’ve been sewing with my little sisters!!

This is absolutely my favorite project since the Gertie dress! My little sister got a sewing machine a year or two ago and asked me this (four-day) weekend if I could help her sew a project. She wanted to make a bag, but after a little time on Pinterest, we decided to make a simple gathered skirt instead.

My little sisters live with my dad so I didn’t have any of my sewing stuff during these projects. It was difficult not being able to just reach over and get, say, elastic or interfacing. We made do with a zipper she already had, fabric from her stash, and a white wool-blend I had brought over to try some embroidery on (for faux-interfacing).

I didn’t really take in-progress pics, but here’s her sewing. It’s just a rectangle gathered into a skirt and sewn to a waistband with a layer of the wool suiting in the waistband. It was a great beginner project and she didn’t really have any problems.

sister sewing

Mini rant: she has a wonderful sewing machine. It’s a Janome Jem Gold 660 (buy here), which is a lightweight compact sewing machine. It’s got three stitch lengths, lots of fancy zig-zags, a great button-hole feature, but no way to change needle position. So if you’re, for example, sewing a zipper, you’re stuck with the 1/4″ foot with the needle at center position. Bleh. So frustrating. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful machine.

sister's skirt

I wish we had more of the fabric and could have gathered the skirt more, but it’s adorable anyway. I love the fabric. And she loves the skirt!!

sister skirt

Here’s a pic of the zipper. We did a covered zipper, though it doesn’t lay quite flat. I’m super impressed with how well she sewed it, especially with needle-position problems taken into consideration.


She honestly did all the sewing and cutting. I started a few seams for her and walked her through the process (we weren’t using a pattern at all) but this is all her.


We finished this in the morning and she decided that she still wanted to make a bag. It’s going to be a Valentine’s Day gift for her mom (who’s out of town right now).

I talked to her about what kind of shape she was going for, decided that a clutch was a better idea than a bag, and sketched out a quick pattern.

bag clutch pattern

I explained to her how to cut the pieces out and we started sewing.

sister sewing 2

I totally love the fabrics she has in her stash. It’s been such a long time since I’ve sewn with bright quilting cottons … it made me really nostalgic for learning to sew with my grandmother.


We did a few test button-holes on a scrap piece of fabric. I confess, this was my first time ever making buttonholes. I think my Singer has a function for it—actually, I’m sure it does—but I’ve never gotten the courage to try and find it.

It’s really easy on the Janome Jem Gold though. It makes me want to figure it out on my machine. I’m glad it was so easy because it let my sister do the buttonhole.

striped clutch

Here’s the finished bag. I’m so proud of her. It looks awesome. And the fact that the stripes on the flap aren’t quite parallel is totally my fault, not hers. I pinned it badly 😦

striped bag open

It’s hard to compare her almost-first-day sewing to mine, because I started sewing quilts and had tons of experience with straight seams before I started sewing things like skirts and bags. I think she’s better at it than I was, though.

striped bag buttonhole
a close-up of the finished buttonhole

This was honestly an amazing experience. I’m usually so busy on the weekends with homework (and naps) that I don’t have time to really hang out with my sisters. It was great getting to spend so much time with her, and that it was spent doing something I love so much.

It made me more confident in my teaching sewing abilities too. Reminded me that teaching sewing is something I could be doing with my life.

Have you ever taught a family member to sew? How’d it go? Is teaching sewing something you do?

–Samantha 🙂

4 thoughts on “Sewing with My Little Sister

  1. It was so much fun watching you all sew together. It made me super happy… I couldn’t ask for a sweeter Valentines gift!
    (Sorry the sappy dad post is the first comment, but it’s true! Same sentiment applies, btw, to the book review on your sisters blog she did with M)


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