Purls of Wisdom

Maker Monday: Fashion Designer Madeline Kaplan

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

IMG_5566-1.jpgName: Madeline Kaplan

Age: 24

School: Drexel University, B.S. Fashion Design, class of 2016

Website: madelinekaplandesigns.com








Since she was five, Madeline (Maddy) Kaplan had a love for designing clothes. Maddy, who graduated from Drexel University with a fashion design B.S. in 2016, continues to pursue the passion that ignited when she learned how to sew at The Handwork Studio.

“When I was 5 years old I would staple fabrics together, and soon after I learned how to hand sew,” she said. “I would transform things like pant legs into scarves, and would add embellishments. I started going to lessons with Laura Kelly at her home and that's when I truly discovered my love for this world of creativity.”

Today, Maddy works as a fashion designer specializing in children’s apparel. Rather than her inspiration stemming from as specific element, she finds people and items she encounters throughout her everyday life inspiring. 


“Colors and fabrics also give me a lot of inspiration, and I frequently use that as my jumping off point,” she said.

Maddy said she is most proud of her designs from her senior collections at Drexel.

“I designed and created an award winning kids collection,” she said. “It is whimsical and fun. I really stayed true to myself as a designer.”


Although an award-winning designer, Maddy encountered obstacles while completing her degree at Drexel. One of her biggest challenges: a tailored coat.

“I picked a really complex design, when most of my classmates stuck to more simple silhouettes,” she said. “My design looked like one piece from the back, but in the front it had a separate cape. Halfway through constructing it, I was having a lot of trouble figuring out how to make it functionable.”


Despite her challenges, she persevered and completed her piece.

“It turned out just as I had imagined it in my head, and it gave me an enormous sense of pride knowing that I was able to construct something like that,” she said.

Maddy finds that her fashion design mindset allows her to view the world differently than others.

“I look at everyday objects, and more frequently than not, I think about cool designs I could associate with them,” she said. “In my mind, design is everywhere--when you’re walking down a street, when you’re eating breakfast, what you’re thinking about right before you go to bed. It surrounds us everyday.” 

In regards to advice for aspiring fashion designers Maddy said, “Stay true to yourself. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s really the best advice someone can give. Since I graduated, I’ve faced several challenges. The fashion industry is extremely fast paced and hectic. There’s always a lot going on and sometimes you fall behind. You just have to focus on yourself and what makes you happy in the long run. You have to find your niche and where you fit in. That’s what’s really important.”



Be sure to check back every week to meet another amazing maker!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Maddy's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our summer camp programs here. For project ideas join our YouTube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #SummerCamp #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #FashionDesign #KidsCanSew #Drexel #LearntoSew

Tags: Design, Summer Camp, Narberth, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Fashion Design

Saturday Studio: Anna Welsh

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Sat, Jul 08, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Anna describes her workspace as “organized, artsy and colorful!”

Studio Space copy-3.jpg

Have you met Anna yet? Read her Maker Monday Blog Here.

Be sure to check back every week to see another amazing studio!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Anna's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our summer camp programs here. For project ideas join our YouTube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #SummerCamp #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #Knitting #KidsCanSew #littlebagsBIGIMPACT #TreeHouseBooks

Tags: Machine Sewing, Design, Classes, Narberth, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Eco Fashion

Maker Monday: Little Bags.Big Impact's Anna Welsh

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Mon, Jul 03, 2017 @ 11:00 AM


Name: Anna Welsh

Age: 12

Company: little bags. BIG IMPACT

Achievements: 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year & 2017 Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition Semi-finalist  

Website: http://www.littlebagsbigimpact.com/

Bio: Anna Welsh, a sixth grader from the philadelphia area, has a passion for sewing, learning and protecting the environment. As a result, she founded little bags. Big Impact, a company that sells handcrafted clutch bags created from resourced vintage materials. Fifteen percent of each sale goes to Tree House Books, an organization dedicated to improving child literacy and education in the North Philadelphia area.

Big Discovery

At the age of six, Anna began taking handwork classes at The Handwork Studio, where she discovered her talent and love for sewing. She graduated to machine sewing classes at the age of 11.

“These eye-openers early on inspired me to incorporate handcrafts and other handmade materials into my everyday life,” she said.

Now, little bags. Big Impact allows Anna to continue and share her passion for sewing and helping others.

Little Materials

Anna finds the fabric for her little bags at various organizations that collect scraps from warehouse closings and local donations. 

“I have been fortunate to incorporate all of these fabric scraps into my little bags,” she said. 

Another unique touch Anna incorporates in her clutches is a zipper charm. The charms vary from tassels, to beads, to recycled earrings! 

Big Inspiration

Anna said she is always inspired to create new pieces for her collection. She often finds inspiration from her conversations with others.

“Just having a conversation with someone can change your mindset, thinking, and motivation,” she said. “Sometimes, I find myself daydreaming about how I can take an idea someone gave to me and incorporate it into my business and personal crafts.”

She also finds inspiration from reading magazines, newspapers, and books. Sometimes Anna reads a whole article; other times merely a picture strikes an idea.

Other inspirations include businesses, entrepreneurs, Instagram, and giving back to her community. Her passion for education and reading is what inspired her company’s contribution to Tree House Books.

Big Pride

Anna is most proud of the polar bear project she knitted at the age of seven. She uses the bear as a reminded of her perseverance and hardwork.

“Yeah—the eyes may be crooked and there are endless holes, but it gives me joy and pleasure just knowing that I created that piece and it is actually holding together,” she said.

Anna is also proud of her Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Philadelphia Center for Advancing Entrepreneurs and the National Association of Women Business Owners - Philadelphia Chapter, which she received this month (your Handwork Studio family is proud of you too, Anna!).

Facing Big Obstacles

Anna said, she has encountered obstacles when creating pieces. Her solution: talk it out with Miss Meredith at The Handwork Studio.

“I am thankful for Miss Meredith from the Handwork Studio to help me out,” Anna said. “She’s amazing and has a creative solution for everything.”

Big Advice

As for advice to future entrepreneurs and designers, Anna said, “You have to be committed and be willing to take risks. There may be long nights and you may get frustrated. However, if you are creating something you love, it will all be worth it!”

 Be sure to check back every week to meet another amazing maker!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Anna's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our summer camp programs here. For project ideas join our YouTube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #SummerCamp #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #Knitting #KidsCanSew #littlebagsBIGIMPACT #TreeHouseBooks

Tags: Design, Classes, Narberth, Knitting, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Eco Fashion

Saturday Studio: Lizzy Gee

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

“In three words, the summation of my studio space can only be described as ‘my colorful world,’ but if you asked any of my friends, they'd probably simplify it to only two words, ‘very Lizzy.’”

-Lizzy Gee, Senior Design Student at Pratt


Be sure to check back every week to see another amazing studio!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Lizzy's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our fall classes here. For project ideas join our You Tube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #FallSession #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #DesignStudio #KnittingStudio #HomeschoolerClasses #KidsCanSew # Workshops #BirthdayParties #Pratt  

Tags: kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, Design, Classes, Fall, Narberth, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Narberth kids' activities, Narberth, PA

Maker Monday: NYC City Fashion Designer Lizzy Gee

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 11:00 AM



Name: Lizzy Gee

Age: 21

School: Pratt Institute

Studio Location: Brooklyn, NY

Website: http://www.lizzygee.com/

Bio: Lizzy Gee, a rising senior fashion design student at Pratt Institute, has been creating as long as she can remember. She discovered fashion design at The Handwork Studio at the age of eight.



Fashion Design

Lizzy describes fashion in two words: “wearable art.”

“I discovered fashion design was my favorite form of creating since it combines function and art,” she said.

A comprehensive process, fashion design involves numerous skills to transform sketches into fashion pieces that speak the creator’s vision.

“There's illustration, digital illustration, technical drawing, print design, machine sewing, hand sewing, and so on,” Lizzy said. “Some designers are better at certain stages of the process, compared to others, which helps to differentiate their aesthetic (from other designers).” 

Design Inspiration

Personal experiences and interests inspire Lizzy’s fashion design concepts.

“Anything can possibly inspire me, but overall beauty, love, and humor are the main elements where I find inspiration,” Lizzy said.  

Unique mixes of these elements generate Lizzy’s brilliant ideas--typically involving a story--that she then tells through her designs.

Top DesignLizzy Gee Romper

Lizzy takes most pride in her Rainbow Ruination Romper. 

“It combines much of what I try to achieve through concept and function,” she said. “I designed all textiles as well as the silhouette to show the colorful pollution that is hurting our environment by creating textile patterns with my photography and a silhouette that references hazmat suits used for environmental cleanup.”    

In addition to telling an environmental message, the entirely organic romper provides functional sustainability through the bodice’s ability to transform into various styles. 

Design Challenges   

Lizzy Gee DesignLizzy believes challenges are part of the fashion designer job description.

“Part of the fun with design is to challenge my craft in order to improve,” she said. “I love designing for people in all walks of life, so, in order to see how my ideas transcend different body types and occasions, I must research and plan my design in order to avoid issues once gone on to construct.”     

One of Lizzy’s most recent capsule collections consisted of menswear pieces, new territory for the designer who typically constructs unixsex or womenswear.  

“Even though I was much more anxious to combine my style with menswear, after researching to solidify my line up and creating samples of the garments to fit on the model, the collection came together,” Lizzy said. “I felt even more satisfied with the final product by having overcome the obstacles.”

Everyday Design

Living in an exciting place like Brooklyn, Lizzy has inspiration and ideas constantly around her. She captures all her findings with her camera and files them at her studio.

“I am lucky to have found a profession I love to do even in my free time,”she said. “ I can have a drink with a mini-umbrella, put on a playlist, and sketch new designs anywhere I go."

Design Advice

Lizzy Gee 3.jpegWhen it comes to advice for future fashion designers, Lizzy said, “Try not to listen to others expectations or judgments until you have listened to your own. If what you dream is less practical, you can make it practical by showing the world it can be done. Take every opportunity that has the potential to help you achieve your dream. It may not happen overnight, but determination is what builds your dreams. And most importantly, have a ton of fun!”

Be sure to check back every week to meet another amazing maker!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Lizzy's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our fall classes here. For project ideas join our You Tube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #FallSession #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #DesignStudio #KnittingStudio #HomeschoolerClasses #KidsCanSew # Workshops #BirthdayParties #Pratt 




Tags: kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Kids Birthday Parties, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, Machine Sewing, Design, machine sewing classes begin, Classes, Fall, Open Design Studio, Narberth, Knitting, Fashion, The Handwork Studio, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Sewing Machine, Narberth kids' activities, Philadelphia, Narberth, PA

Staff Spotlight: Miss Ana + Miss Elanor

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 @ 10:19 AM

Have your been to our studio in Narberth lately?

If you've visited us for a class, workshop or party recently, or maybe even over the last few weeks of summer camp, we're sure you've had the pleasure of meeting our Lead Instructor and Studio Administrator, Miss Ana. Miss Ana has been leading classes, camps and our day-to-day studio operations since February of this year. We are happy to annouce that Miss Ana has a new side-kick, Miss Elanor, our Studio Assistant. You'll see Miss Elanor in the studio throughout the week working with Miss Ana and then leading our studio classes on Sundays.

We are so excited to have these two lovely ladies leading us through our school year activities in our studio. We wanted to offer you an opportunity to get to know them a little bit more, so we've asked them some questions and we're sharing their answers below!

Miss Ana will go first on our Staff Spotlight:

What is your favorite past time? I love watching films and going to catch a movie with a friend. 
Where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world for 5 days? Iceland! I'd love to see how gorgeous it is in person. 
Why do you love working at The Handwork Studio? It's amazing when a child turns an idea into a tangible thing. The entire process is beautiful, and they tend to treasure their creation more because they created it. I love being a part of that.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life? I cannot pick just one person, however, I think that I always have admired strong women artists in both music and visual arts who challenge our perception and way of thinking! Like Kate Bush or Eva Hesse. 

When you were young what did you want be when you grow up? I only ever really saw myself as wanting to be an artist for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I wanted to paint like Monet. 

And now for Miss Elanor:

What is your favorite past time?
I love creating things for my friends and family.  Most recently, I have been designing and screen printing greeting cards.
Where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world for 5 days?
I would hop on a plane to Rome and spend 5 days backpacking around Italy.  
Why do you love working at The Handwork Studio?
I get to spend every day creating, getting my hands dirty and helping kids do the same.  I'm honored to be fostering the next generation of makers.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
My mom, Kelli, is my biggest inspiration and best friend.  She has taught me to be selfless, mindful, and strong.  

When you were young what did you want be when you grow up?
If you asked me when I was 5, I would have said a ballerina.  By 10, I realized it was more about the tutus and less about the dancing, so I would have answered a fashion designer. 

Wasn't that fun? We'll be highlighting different members of our staff each month so be sure to subscribe to our blog over on the sidebar --->

Are you ready to get to crafting with Miss Ana + Miss Elanor? Our Annual Halloween Candy Making Workshop is this week and we've got loads of creativity packed into our Fall Class Session.  We'd love to see you and your child in Narberth!


Tags: Narberth

Fall Discount for Classes in Narberth

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Sat, May 23, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

Fall Class Discount

Even though Memorial Day Weekend is here, the weather is perfect and we're preparing for Summer Camp, we want to give you some extra time to think about our Fall Classes at our Narberth Studio. We're offering a 20% discount on all Fall Classes until June 30, 2015.  


Here are the classes you can choose from:


Handwork & Machine Sewing 
No matter your child's age or ability, kids are patiently taught various age appropriate handwork skills such as; knitting, crocheting, embroidery and embellishment techniques. Children get to personalize each project through color selection, technique and embellishments. Many different projects are accomplished during the year and as your child's skills grow so does the complexity of the projects.

Fashion & Machine Sewing 
Kids will get the basics of hand and machine sewing while making fabulous projects. They will learn real, practical skills that will last a lifetime while having fun and feeling good about themselves and their skills. Totally cool projects for today's totally cool kids.

Register Now

Open Knitting Studio 

Your teen or tween can take their yarn work skills to the next level in our Open Knitting Studio. Kids will select a knitting or crochet project of their choice. This is an ideal class for students interested in learning to work various stitches, multiple yarn colors and read knitting patterns. It you have ano experience knitting, we'll start you off on the right stitch with a project you can master with our our skilled instructors' guidance. Please come to class with an idea for your next handwork creation or choose from one of our many projects.

Register Now

Open Design Studio 
It is all about choice in this class designed especially for teens. During open studio time, the kids will select a project to sew and embellish the project the way they want! Perfect class for our experienced machine sewers who are looking to choose what they will make, however, no experience is necessary as instructors will help kids choose projects that will suit their skills. Please bring in a pattern or ideas of what to create, or choose from our many patterns.

Register Now

Need help deciding which one is best for your child? Give Miss Ana a call at the studio Monday - Friday 9 AM - 5 PM at 610-660-9660 to learn more and chat about your options! You can also send us a message.

Tags: Classes, Fall, Narberth

8th Annual Art Show This Friday!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Sun, Apr 26, 2015 @ 10:17 AM

8th Annual Art Show
We're wrapping up our school year studio season with our annual art show. We hop you and your family can join us for the festive occasion and also enjoy Narberth's First Friday activities. 

From September thought May our students in three sessions have worked dilligently to share their creativity through their fantatic handcrafted projects. From machine sewing to needle felting, there is no shortage of inspiration to be found at our annual art show!

Snacks and refreshments will be served and all are welcome! Be sure to RSVP below to let us know you are coming.

When: Friday, May 1st
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Where: 35 N. Narberth Ave, Narberth PA 19401


 We look forward to seeing you and your family on Friday!

Tags: Events, Classes, Narberth, Art Show

Narberth One Day Camp Tomorrow!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Thu, Mar 05, 2015 @ 02:07 PM

-One Day CampsOne Day Camp | March 6th
Looking for a day of craftactular good time for your children during the upcoming inservice day at school? Check out our One Day Camp as a unique option for your children to stay entertained! 

Our upcoming   One Day Camps in Narberth for ages 5-12:

Friday, March 6th

Full Day   9:00 - 3:00 PM         $95 
Half Day  
9:00 - 1:00 PM      
Afternoon 1:00 - 3:00 PM       $45 

Our One Day Camps are project based and your child can spend their day away from school creating awesome projects with our fabulous instructors at our Narberth Studio! No previous experience is necessary and you can  register online  or by calling Miss Ana at the studio at 610-660-9600.

Have Siblings? We are offering a 10% discount on your second and third child when registering for One Day Camp! Please call the studio to register with this discount! 
March Workshop!

Spring Break Camp is Enrolling!
Despite all the snow and sub zero temperatures, Spring Break Camp is fast approaching! If you are planning out your child's break, please consider our camps as an option for your child. Camp is offered by the day at two locations in Narberth and Rittenhouse Square!

Hop over to our website to get the details on  Spring Break Camp  for ages 5-12.
We're hosting two locations for your convenience:

Narberth Studio
Private Schools: March 19th - March 27th
Public Schools: March 30th - April 1st

Rittenhouse Square - Ethical Society
Dates: April 1st - 3rd 

Tags: Narberth, One Day Camp

You're Invited to Winter Camp!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 02:29 PM

You’re Invited to Join The Handwork Studio for over your vacation break for Winter Camp! We simply love the holidays and spending two weeks with our creative campers and hope you’re children will join us for a creative good time.


We’ve got three fantastic locations for camp this year! In our cozy Narberth Studio and our Mobile Studios in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia and Georgetown Day School in Washington D.C., children will stay inspired and entertained each day while creating all kinds of great handmade crafts from stuffed creatures to warm fleece mittens. The Winter Camp is project based, one where kids learn multiple techniques while creating their project in an artistic andengaging process.  All projects are gender neutral and no previous experience is necessary.   


Our Winter Camp has been designed to meet a parent’s needs. Camp can be purchases by the day with the choice of Full Day (9:00-3:00), Half Day (9:00-1:00) and Afternoon (1:00-3:00) options.

Winter Classes Facebook(3)
Registration is open online or by contacting the studio at 610-660-9600.

Winter Break Camp will be offered for in three locations this year!

Narberth Studio in Narberth, PA:
Week 1: December 22nd-24th and 26th; Week 2: December 29th-31st and January 2nd.

The Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia:
Week 1: December 22nd, 23rd and 26th; Week 2: December 29th, 30th and January 2nd.

Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C.:

Week 1: December 22nd and 23rd ; Week 2: December 30th, 31st and January 2nd.


Please keep us in mind as you plan your child’s winter vacation break! You’re kids are the best and they make what we do the best work in town!


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us or call Miss Mary at the studio at 610-660-9600.

Hope to see you soon,

Your Friends at The Handwork Studio

Tags: Narberth, Washington DC, Winter Camp, Philadelphia