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Teen Fashion Bootcamp | A Truly Unique Camp Experience

Fashion Bootcamp 2014

Teen Fasion Bootcamp - A  Truly Unique Experience    

April Johnston, our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Instructor and Project Runway All Star, is back this week with more information on our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 11-15.

Today's video is all about why The Handwork Studio is a special place and our programming in one-of-a-kind. With over eight years experience, April explores how we work to inspire your child and help take their creativity to the next level. Click here to watch her video!

April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  

Got questions? We've got answers. Simply call Miss Alexis at the Studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

We'll see you next Friday with another video from Miss April.

Have a great weekend!

Teaching Young Fashion Designers | Fashion Bootcamp

Fashion Bootcamp with April Johnston

April Johnston, our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Instructor and Project Runway All Star, is back this week with more information on our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 12-15. 

Today's video is all about why it's important to start teaching aspiring fashion designers at a young age. Our Teen Fashion Bootcamp is a 3-week immersion program taking campers through the entire process of building their own collections. Click here to watch her video!

April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - 
register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  

Got questions? We've got answers. Simply pop open window down in the corner to chat live or drop us a message!
Know someone who might enjoy this video? Please share this post with them! You can also call Miss Alexis at the studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

We'll see you next Friday with another video from Miss April.

Project Runway All Star leads Teen Fashion Bootcamp

We are honored that national fashion designer and Project Runway All Star April Johnston will be taking the reigns of our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 11-16.

We wanted to offer you the opportunity to get to know April a little better. Click the video below to see our Q+A session with her. We'll be sharing another video next Friday to talk about our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Program in more detail.

April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - 
register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  

Got questions? We've got answers. Simply reply to this email and let us know how we can help! Know someone who might enjoy this video? Forward this message to a friend! You can also call us at the Studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

Make sure your subscribe to our blog over on the right hand side to get all our blog updates and the next video from Miss April!

Spring Into A New Workshop | Ages 5-12

As the temperatures start to rise, so does our excitement here at the studio. We are thrilled to host our annual Spring Workshop on Sunday, March 30th from 3:00 - 5:30 PM. The workshop fee is $45 and includes all the supplies kids will need to create a unique and beautiful spring-inspired project.


We know this workshop is simply the perfect way to channel your child's creativity through handwork. We are looking for young artists ages 5-12 to join us!
Advance registration is requested and you can register online or by calling Miss Alexis at the studio at 610-660-9600.

As a friendly reminder, we are also hosting Spring Break Camp for Public Schools. You can get all the information by clicking here

We look forward to seeing you and your child soon!

Questions To Ask When Searching for Summer Camp

Questions To Ask For Summer Camp
Knowledge is power and before you register your child for a camp program you should trust that your child will be happy and safe while having an amazing summer camp experience. We've collected a list of some important questions to ask before you register your child for a needle arts, machine sewing or fashion camp program. We included our answers below!

Are you affiliated with the American Camp Association?
Yes. We have been a member for seven years and teach at the local ACA Tri-State Conference each year.

Does your camp carry adequate insurance?
Yes.  We have millions of dollars in insurance coverage

How long has your camp been in existence?
The Handwork Studio has been in business for 12 years and we've been running our camp programs for 8 years.

Does every camper have their own sewing machine?
Yes. In our Fashion and Machine Sewing and Fashion Bootcamp programs, all campers will have their very own machine to work on.

What is your camper to staff ratio?
We have a 6 camper to 1 staff member ratio.

What are the ages and experience requirement for your staff members? 
  • Lead Counselor-  To qualify for this position Applicants must be at least 21 years of age with experience leading a classroom and extensive experience working with children in other setting.  Must be and comfortable teaching many of our crafting techniques.
  • Specialty Counselor-  To qualify for this position applicants must be a minimum of 20 years of age with experience working with children and working with many of our crafting techniques.
  • Junior Counselor-  To qualify for this position applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age and have a strong desire to work with children and a passion for the needle-arts.

  • Counselor in Training (CIT)-  To qualify for this position applicants must have an interest in working with children and in the needle arts.  Applicants must be between 14-17 years of age.

  • Volunteer-  To qualify for this positon applicant must have an interest in working with children and in the needle arts. Applicants must be at least 12 years.

Do you run background check on your employees?
Yes. For every employee we run comprehensive background checks and contact personal and professional references.

Will my child be creating projects all day long?

Children will create projects during certain parts of the day. We also take breaks and eat lunch together. We find that the children enjoy the projects more when they are broken up with other group activities.
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What does it matter?


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(Devon, my daughter, and I in the early years!)

Why should we teach kids knitting or machine sewing or embroidery?  It's not because it will get them into a better college, or bring them untold wealth.  It's probably not because you thought "Boy I really wish my kids could crochet!".  


So what is it that brings thousands of kids to us every year?  I'm sure it represents something different for each of you.    For me, it has always represented LOVE.  When I see small kids embroidering a furry creature, I conjure up warm fuzzy thoughts...a fire, a mother crafting with her kids, small hands, big creativity. However for you, it could represent what you'd like to do for yourself if you had time.  Or maybe it reminds you of your own childhood making an A-line skirt in home ec.  Maybe your mother is knitter and you are looking for a way for your daughter to connect with your mother in a way that would make your mom proud.  Whatever the reason, there is probably no arguing that your reason comes from someplace in your heart.

As you may know by now, our beloved Miss Eva has recently left us full time  to pursue a career in public health.  As I say, no one ever really leaves The Handwork Studio-so we refuse to say goodbye (luckily she remains as our part-time bookkeeper).  However I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask Eva what needle arts means to her.  She came to us as a child at 15 and she leaves us as an accomplished woman.  I was curious how handwork played a role in her life.  Please read our interview below and comment on what handwork means to you.  Please feel free to drop her an email at  She'll appreciate what it represents!

(Miss Eva with Miss Julia & Miss Alisha at the Dickins Festival December 2012)

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What does needle arts represent to you? Needle arts represents something familiar and cozy to me. I grew up, both in my home and around the Handwork Studio ladies, with fibers and textiles all around me. Especially in the context of the studio, it represents warmth, friendship, and so many laughs - and this is something I get to experience every day, both with my colleagues as well as with your children.


What have you learned about the importance of teaching kids needle arts?
Being with the studio for so long, watching kids grow and mature, I have recognized the confidence needle arts gives to children. Finishing their first row of knitting by themselves, or finally whip-stitching their stuffed animal closed that it has taken the entire session to sew - it's like finally understanding that tough math forumla in school - and feeling utterly elated when you finally get it. It's an amazing process to be a part of and has always made me feel so happy that I am able to contribute to that process.


What surprised you most about working with kids?
Working with kids has reminded me how completely capable and incredibly creative they can be. Parents often ask us, will my five-year-old really learn how to knit? Will they really be working with sharp needles and scissors? It still amazes me how kids, especially young ones, come to an understanding of how to properly work with these very grown up tools we use. They understand that this is real deal, and they seem to take on a new sense of responsibility when they realize we are trusting them with these tools.


What will you miss the most?
I will miss the people, hands down. Every individual I work with here is so special to me and I consider each one such a wonderful friend, and while I know this won't be the end of my friendships, I will miss seeing them and laughing with them every day (and believe me, we laugh every day). I will miss being able to craft with your children, sharing in their delight when they create something that is their own, and I will miss watching them grow. Being part of The Handwork Studio family has truly been a pleasure and I know I will never find a place as special as this, but I am confident it will always be a place that I can call home.

A Mother's Pride - a Valentine's Story from the Heart

Those of you that know me, know I'm not much of a crafter (irony of that we'll save for a future blog).  However what I do love are kids, and this business was built around the idea of loving, nurturing and teaching kids from the perspective of a mom.

And so this past week, my dear friend, mentor and supporter Marjie sent me the sweetest email.  She knew that this email would mean a lot to me as a business woman, but probably even more as a mom.

Marjie had a Valentine's Day lunch with her long time friend Judie. This is a picture of Judie at lunch.  

Judie Koss

You may notice Judie's beautiful scarf.  It is hard to tell from the picture but her scarf is made up of red hearts, brown hearts and even cow hide like fabric hearts.  Judie's daughter made that scarf for her in our camp and Judie wore it on Valentine's Day.  As a mom, there is great joy in receiving a gift that your child made for you.  It is always perfect,  you love it just as it is and in Judie's case, you wear it proudly. 

Though Marjie knew Judie for 20 years she didn't know Judie's daughter went to our camp, but she recognized our work immediately. Marjie knew that I'd be so honored that Judie loved and wore the scarf, not only because it was made at The Handwork Studio but because it meant so much to Judie.  Now, my kids are 19 and 17 so I don't get the handmade gifts anymore, like the finger knitted bracelets that I wore for months until they fell off my body.  I wore those bracelets until they were felted and frayed and utterly gross because they kept a part of my kids close to me at all times.  So Marjie knew that sending me that picture would make my day and bring a tear to my eye. Seeing the photo made me grateful for the work we do and showed me that maybe we do touch others along the way.  Thank you Marjie and Judie, you look beautiful.

Crafting a Heartfelt Valentine's Day


Valentine Heart Pillow


So Valentine's Day for this mom is filled with conflict.  One of the things I remember most growing up was the HUGE box of Russell Stover candy that my parents gave me every year.  I loved that heart shaped box. I looked forward to that heart shaped box, no I longed for it.  Today however we know better.  Is a pound of chocolate really the best way to express your love to your kids?


Now, don't get me wrong, my kids (are they still kids when they are 18 and 19?) will get a heart, maybe just not the largest one.  Instead I'll try to express my love with something handmade.  Now you might think that is obvious coming from The Handwork Studio lady, but truth be told......I'm not the craftiest.  My work is my craft.  But the longer I work with kids the more I see the power of a handmade gift.  


In our classes, we often see kids work for weeks on a project, pouring their heart and soul into their creations. Then after much hard work, they proudly proclaim how they are going to give it to a parent, a grandparent or a friend.  Sometimes we are even lucky to watch it happen when mom walks into to the studio and is given the gift.  Such pure, honest, beautiful love.  


So this year, if you don't already, let me encourage you to make something for or with your kids.  If you are looking for some ideas, here is an oldie but goodie from an article we did last year with MetroKids, or the craft Martha Stewart did on the Today Show this morning.  You can even check out our Facebook Page and see the great, simple heart pillows our kids made yesterday in a workshop.  Send us your pictures or comment on what you'll be doing for your kids this year.  I'd love to hear about it.  


Happy Valentine's Day from all your friends at The Handwork Studio.  

How Do You Teach Needle Arts & Machine Sewing to Kids?

How do you teach your child to knitt?  To machine sew?  To embroider?  It is really very simple and what we do everyday in classes, camps and workshops.  Hint: It isn't about crafting at all.
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(Here I am with my daughter Devon in 2007.)
  1. With patience - Try a new craft and you will remember how frightening it is, how much you don't want to make a mistake, how silly you feel when you don't get it right.  Kids feel all that too.  Make sure you let them know it is ok to make mistakes.  Everyone does.
  2. With love - Remember it is about passing something down, not about teaching perfection.  They will ALWAYS remember you were the one that taught them.
  3. With fun - Our philosophy is that if we make our classes fun, kids will keep coming back.  If kids keep coming back they will eventually learn with time, with age and with motor skills.  The goal is to keep them coming back!
We hope you will find time to craft with your kids.  You'll get more out of it then they will:)

Fashion, Crafting and Machine Sewing Camp Launches Summer 2013

machine sewing camp, fashion camp, teach kids to sew

teach kids to knit, summer camp








Tomorrow Marks the Launch of Summer Camp 2013!

We've been working very hard the past few months to continue to make our programs better and better for you and your children. We know as a parent, you have lots of choices for your kids so we want to wow you by teaching your kids to make really cool projects, have them learn something new, create an environment where they will have a really fun time, and make sure they feel valued and loved with our amazing team of counselors.  We hope you join us!


New Exciting Happenings for Summer 2013:
1) We've kept our full day 2012 pricing the same for the summer 2013 in most all of our locations!  
2) Added New Locations - This year we are happy to work with:
  • Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA
  • Park School in Baltimore, MD
  • Lawrenceville Day School in Lawrenceville NJ
  • College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown NJ
  • St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School in Alexandria VA
  • Congressional School in Falls Church VA
  • and back to Newtown Friends School in Newtown PA
3) Of our 26 locations, now 16 of them have before and aftercare!
4) For our Fashion and Machine Sewing Camp,  we will continue to use Simplicity Creative Design Group patterns as well as teach from Brett Bara's book Sewing In a Straight Line.  Brett is a author, television host, blogger and designer and every camper in this program will receive an autographed copy of her book!
sewing straight cover lo
5) Fashion Bootcamp this year continues to offer unique opportunities for young designers interested in the fashion world.  We will again give them access to the industry:
  • meet and talk with designer Tamar Daniel
  • brown bag lunch and discussion with Brett Bara (see above) in NYC and receive an autographed copy of her book
  • tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts summer fashion exhibition
  • learn to walk the runway with a fashion model
  • meet with designer Jay McCarroll, season one winner of Project Runway and Fashion Professor at University of Philadelphia.
  • and our annual tours of Philadelphia's Fabric Row and NYC's fashion district  
Our long time student, Lizzy at Miss Crissy's Fashion Show
Miss Eva is in the office Monday-Friday to answer all your questions and help you to register (610)660-9600.  We look forward to working with your kids this summer.  
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