Purls of Wisdom

Fashion Bootcamp Helps Girls Break into the Industry, One Intern's Story

Posted by Laura Kelly on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 07:49 PM

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So many girls love fashion, especially in their teen years.  After years of teaching kids to knit, embroider, craft and machine sew, fashion was the next perfect skill to teach our young needle artists.  So 5 years ago we developed ourFashion Bootcamp for girls ages 12-17.  What makes our program special is that is that beside teaching sketching, inspiration and how to create a story board, we take it one step further by taking the girls on field trips to NYC and 4th Street in Philadelphia.  After a shopping spree for fabric, trims and accessories the girls come back to the design room and actually create their designs.  The pride and sense of accomplishment is just wonderful.  
Several of our girls have gone onto fashion school and we are so proud to have them come back and teach with us every summer.  This year, Maddie Kaplan, a Drexel fashion student, is with us helping in our Narberth camp before she moves over to Fashion Bootcamp to assist Miss Crissy with this summer's group of fashionistas.  
Here is a brief conversation we had with Maddie:
1) What do you love about fashion? The thing I love most about fashion is the creativity within it. People express themselves through what they wear every. With fashion, you can be whoever you want to be. It's hard to explain why, but my biggest passion is fashion design. And it has been since I was 5. I guess it's just fate sometimes. It's meant to be.
2) Is fashion school everything you ever dreamed it would be? Fashion design program at Drexel is very intense. And I can't say it's exactly what I expected, but I know all the hard work will pay off. Fashion school is not as glamorous as you think it would be. It's a lot of work, it's a lot of all-nighters in the sewing lab, and exchanging a night out with friends to do pattern making homework. I will eventually live my dream, but the road to that is a little bumpy. 
3) What suggestions do you have for young girls who think they want to go into fashion?  I would say: Expect a lot of work, it's not easy. But if you love it, like I do, you would be willing to work hard and be dedicated. If you can't imagine yourself doing anything else, fashion is for you.
4) How did Fashion Bootcamp and Miss Crissy help you? Miss Crissy sealed the deal for me. After completing Fashion Boot Camp and having that amazing feeling from a big accomplishment, I knew, hands down, this is what I wanted to do. Miss Crissy isn't easy on you, she pushes you to show your full potential.She has faith in everyone. She is one of my biggest inspirations. Fashion Boot Camp provided me with experience - experience with inspirations, drawings, patterns, and sewing. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in fashion design. I promise you, it is well worth the cost. You won't regret it.
--Maddy Kaplan

Summer Camp Fun at The Handwork Studio

Posted by Julia Yosen on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 @ 12:18 PM

Hello Friends,

We are in full swing with summer camp and we wanted to give you a peek at all of the fun we are having with our lovely and creative campers.  We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with every wonderful child that is participating in our camp programs this summer.  Make sure you stay tuned to our Facebook Page for our weekly photo updates.

Interested in joing us for summer camp? 
You can contact us or just click the button below to get registered!

Register Now!

--Miss Julia

Tags: Summer Camp

Sewing & Fabric | Everything is Bigger in Texas

Posted by Laura Kelly on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 08:57 AM

Believe it or not, Miss Julia and I are wrapping up our 3rd and final week of Summer Camp in Dallas.  It has gone by so fast! Just 5 more days of patterns, pins and pajama pants for me here in Texas, and then it’s northward ho! I must say though that Texas has been great to us, and we will miss it.  Not only are the people kind, the campers enthusiastic and the food scrumptious, but this state certainly does have its fair share of fabric stores too! 

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This past week my fellow Machine Sewing instructor Miss Sophia treated me to a trip to her favorite fabric warehouse – that’s right, WAREHOUSE that is chock full fabrics and textile delights.  It is called Super Textiles and has millions of yards of fabric and just as many buttons!  I was ecstatic, and managed to control myself when I was there…I only bought 12 ½ yards of fabric! Sheepy wandered off while we were there, and I eventually found him purchasing buttons (they were really tiny ones).  I hope that on our travels back up north we find more great fabric stores.  Although with everything that Sheepy purchased, I am not sure if we’ll have any room in our van…

--Miss Alisha

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Road Tour

Summer Camp in Full Swing at Sidwell Friends School!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 07:26 AM

Hello from DC - Miss Amanada here!  If you haven’t figured it out by now, summer camp is in full swing! We will be having about 50 campers join us at Sidwell this week in DC, it might even be our biggest week yet!

Sidwell Friends Handwork Studio Camp

Miss Melissa came down last week and we put thepedal to the metal and set up our four classrooms in no time flat. You can see from the picture we had tons of help from all of our new staff! We had a great first week of camp where we made knitted ice cream cones, button clocks, and block
printed journals.  And I’ve already heard from some campers that they
will be back later in the summer and I can’t be more excited.

What’s great about Sidwell is that there is such a large community here where
campers want to come back week after week. Sidwell has tons of great
summer programming and we feel so honored to be included and welcomed
into the Sidwell Summer family.

Happy Summer!

Miss Amanda

Tags: Summer Camp

When in Texas.... Ride a Bike... and Crochet

Posted by Julia Yosen on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 11:56 PM


By now you may have noticed that Miss Alisha and I have made it to Texas and are in the midst of teaching handwork and machine sewing camp.  We have just completed our first successful week of crafting.  Sadly on Friday's we do have to shut down and we are left to our own devices for two whole days... Some people call this a weekend.  Well, being that we have a handwork mobile, a sheep, and a healthy sense of adventure we decided to take advantage of our time and mosey our way down to Austin, TX.  

Austin Sunset

A little over three hours from Dallas, we set foot in Austin and set-up camp in the beautiful McKinney Falls State park, took in a fabulous sunset over Lake Travis , checked out the famous 6th Street strip, saw some scorpions, turtles and lizards, 

Austin Turtle

and the icing on the cake for this trip was finally getting to ride a tandem bicycle through Austin!   Riding a tandem bike has been on my bucket list for years.  Who better to cross this off the list with than Miss Alisha and Sheepy.  However, I was not quite informed prior to renting the bike that Miss Alisha had not been on a bike in 25ish years...  I believe I was told as we got on the bike and wobbled precariously across the sidewalk.  We are not ones to give up so we perservered and with a little teamwork we were riding like pros..sort of. We at least did not run anyone or anything

Miss Alisha and Miss Julia

over.  Check out our fun video montage of Miss Alisha and I riding bikes and other scenes throughout Texas.  

Happy Trails!

Miss Julia


Tags: Miss Julia, Road Tour 2012, Miss Alisha, Texas, Summer

Camp, Crochet, Bikes, Dancing & Fun | Road Tour 2012 Video Update

Posted by Megan Collier on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 09:30 AM

Summer Road Tour 2012  Last Week Ms. Julia and Ms. Alisha hosted camp in Dallas Texas and they continue with week two starting today. However, it was a long road to Texas and there is still a ton of exploring to be done when they aren't 
teaching our wonderful campers all about Handwork and Machine Sewing.

  Their video from the road this week features dancing, a tandem bicycle, and a whole bunch of crocheting.  Make sure you watch all the way to the end for a wonderful vocal solo from Ms. Julia herself!

  You can click here to learn more about Parish Episcopal School and our camp program there!  Looking for another location?  Check out our location page to find a camp location near you!

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Road Tour

Stitching Up Some Summer Camp Fun...Texas Style!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 @ 11:35 PM

                                              Hello from Dallas! 

Texas! Miss Julia and I have arrived in Dallas and have begun the first of three weeks of creating with our old (and new!) friends at the Parish Episcopal School.  It's great to see some of our friends that we made last summer have returned for another fun filled week, and along with them some new names and faces to get to know!

We aren't the only camp at Parish, but we are certainly one of the craftiest...after all, who else comes with one thousand yards of yarn and 14 sewing machines in blue denim van ready and raring to go?  Thats right, nobody but us!  Look forward to more from me and Miss Julia from the road!!

--Miss Alisha

p.s. We know you are wondering if we actually "camp out" on the road. So we made this video for you!  Enjoy!

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Road Tour

The Handwork Studio Road Tour...Take Two!

Posted by Alisha Tillman on Sat, Jun 02, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

In what has become a perennial event, The Handwork Studio is once again taking the show on the road!

Last summer, Miss Julia and I embarked on a journey that would become one of the most adventurous craft excursions to date; and in a matter of days the craftsome twosome will do it once more!

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Over the past several weeks we have been cutting, stitching, rolling balls of yarn, felting, putting in zippers, tracing patterns and packing boxes in preparation for the tour, and in year two it’s a lot easier!

Here’s what we have gleaned from our first year on the road

  • We now know how to expertly pack The Handwork Studio Mobile in record time. 

  • We know now that putting the ironing board on top of everything in the van means it will fly forward when we step on the brakes. 

  • Always check to make sure you have your cell phone & GPS


  • You never wear all of the clothes that you pack.

  • Yarn is a universal language

In the year that has passed since Miss Julia and I left for our first Road Tour we have spent many, many days reminiscing about the fun that was had in our new camps and the friends we made along the way.  What’s even better is that since we will be returning to places that we visited last summer we get to see those that have now become our old friends!

I have to admit; there is a different type of excitement that I feel now.  One of familiarity and comfort knowing the adventure that being on the road will bring, and being able to follow the footsteps that we left for ourselves last summer.  Here’s to another great trip!


--Miss Alisha

Tags: Summer Camp, Fun, Road Tour, The Handwork Studio, Summer