Posted on March 2, 2016

The Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2016

Knitting/ Knitting Retreat



I attended the  The Knitting Pipeline Retreat this weekend.  What a blast!!!  This was my second year at the treat and I will totally try and go back next year as it first come first available.  The treat is very relaxing a laid back.  It’s held at the Crossroads Methodist Church of which Paula is a member of the church.  It’s very beautiful inside and the volunteers truly have a servants heart.   Here a few quilts that were hanging up.




Paula has a wonderful audio podcast and a a few additional videos as well.

knitting pipeline

I didn’t take any classes this year as I was a bit nervous since this was my first vending event. I sat with a wonderful group of ladies from the North Suburbs, we laughed and laughed.  I am definitely going to check out their guild they’ve had some key players there for sure.

I won a door prize..yay!  Sadly I had to give it away…it was mohair with my eye issues too many loose fibers but it went to a good home.


I worked on by Burberry socks since it was basic stockinette and didn’t require concentration.

burberry socks

I was sewing my fingers off for the retreat but I did a get a few sneak peaks at some of the beautiful yarns.


Julie-Happy Go Lucky Yarns poppin gradients!


Danie of the Prairie  Girls Knit and Spin Podcast—-look at that rainbow sock blank hiding over there…..squeel



Ohhh Jeanette!!!!  Sunvalley Fibers….crushing on all this yarn!


All Hail Sparkly socks blanks for Jennifer of DaizieKnits

There were more vendors but I didn’t get a chance to visit them all or shop.  Now how cute is the necklace….


I also took my sidekick as something as really wrong.  For the life of me the treadling was super stiff.  So what would anyone else do….bring it to the hive mind!  So Julie(happy go lucky yarns, Sarah(Yarn Geek Fibers) and Jennifer( DaizieKnits) got down to business.  Jennifer and I isolated the issue the drive band…thenn BAM..I thought hmm what if I put the drive band on backward..HA that was it yay!


Since I have a ton of yarn and wasn’t able to do much shopping I did  leave a few goodies.


Quice and Co Finch in the Snap Pea r its such a pretty green.

Daizieknits-Ghoul Friends, lol the name simply makes me laugh!

Happy Go Lucky Yarns-OOAK Special Snow Flake

I had a great time and some great new friends and vendors.  Happy Knitting!


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Posted on January 21, 2016

Thrift Store Thursday

Thrift Store



I have a few shows coming up so I have been in the studio sewing up a storm!  Today I got a chance to go have lunch with a friend before her little bundle of joy shows up in a few weeks.  Afterwards I dropped into two thrift shops on the way home.

Vera Bradley Metropolitan Laptop bag $24.99


This Bag is awesome.  Normally I would put my laptop in my purse and put all cords in a pouch like these.  Now I can put it all one together.  This gave me a great idea for designing a laptop bag.  It has a gajillion pockets and such.  It even has the opening to slide it on the handle of your luggate…score!










All this for @24.99…I will take it.


Marc Jacobs Laptop Sleeve $3.99


1-IMG_0511 1-IMG_0510 1-IMG_0512

Brand new ….with the original OFF 5th Tags



Ok hear me out….I don’t like this style of handbag at all….well why did you buy it.  For this….1-IMG_0532

How killer is this hardware??????  Is over 3 inches!  Yasss, it will be perfect on the Swoon Amber I am working on! Well that was it.  Been thrifting lately! let me know what you scored!  Happy New Year!



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Posted on January 6, 2016

Review: Swoon Ethel Tote Bag

Handbags/ Sewing

I hope to make all the Swoon Patterns I own this year.  A Girl can wish can’t she? If January turns out to be any inkling of the rest of the year I am doing might fine!  I decided to tackle  this by using Alicia’s (Swoon Pattern Creator) easiest to hardest ratings.  First Up Ethel:


Pattern Description:  A roomy, sturdy and stylish open tote bag. With a teardrop shape, Ethel veers away from the usual boxy tote. It’s a “stuff it in and run out the door” kind of bag, designed to comfortably sling over your shoulder. There are a few slip pockets for the small things.

Product Description


  • 9.5″ wide at top
  • 13″ wide at bottom
  • 5″ deep
  • 10″ tall


  • 2/3 yard 44” wide quilting weight exterior fabric
  • 3/4 yard 44” wide quilting weight lining fabric
  • 1 yard fusible (or sew-in) foam interfacing (Pellon Flex-Foam FF78F1)
  • 3 yards 20” wide fusible woven interfacing (Pellon Shapeflex SF101)
  • 1/4 yard fusible stabilizer (Pellon Peltex 71F)
  • Coordinating thread
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 1/4 You should already be somewhat familiar with sewing patterns and common sewing terms.

Here’s my Ethel:


Fabric: Tula Pink Foxfield and Waverly Polka Dots

Hardware: Upcycled from a Guess Bag and NingBags

Pattern Review: I really enjoyed this pattern and agree with Alicia’s recommendation of difficulty 1 out of 4.  The pieces are easy to cut out, no odd shapes no darts if you are unfamiliar.  Since I had purchased my pattern the pattern cover has changed and so had the supply list.  My pattern cover feathers this:


The tote now lists Foam/headliner as the interfacing. I used Pellon Thermalon Plus which I prefer better.  Note this does make the bag heavier and more substantial.  This Tote is straigh forward and if this is your first time making a bag this is a perfect pattern. It will definitely look like a bag when your finished and you will be proud.  Think carefully when choosing fabrics as fabrics (to me) can make or break your bag.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match.  I felt the bag was a tad plain but also I am not a beginner bag maker so i added hardware.  Its not functional just pretty …to me.


That’s the benefit of sewing you can customize any way you want.


When adding your strap hardware be sure to stitch close to your rings so the fabric does not slide.


Top Stitching not the best, that’s ok use a 1/4 foot with a guide, extend your stitch length to 3.5 slow and steady.


Inside pockets are great and remember you can divide them however you want.  You are a handbag sewer…do what you want!

04-IMG_9987-001When you are ready to birth Ethel (the non foam version) besure to LOCKSTITCH your seams as to no rip your opening.




1-IMG_0279-001Tada you are all done!    If you decide to make Ethel let me know your experience.  This tote is available in my Etsy shop: Here



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Posted on December 30, 2015

Featherweight….what is it?

Sewing/ Sewing Machines


Featherweight. I heard this term on the Knitmore girls podcast.  Jasmine would say I sewed it my featherweight.  I always wondered what in the world is a featherweight?  Boxing?????  This question stayed in the back of my mind but I never researched it …..until I had the pleasure of seeing  one. Back in November after leaving my office  I decided to upgrade my sewing machine so I could production sew.  While at the sewing machine dealer I tested a few machines and I asked do you have any featherweights?  The associate, Emily said yes, would like to see one?  Yes Please!

I was born Born June 19, 1940.


Sewing old school Earnestine born June 19, 1940 #singerfeatherweight#vintagesewingmachine#blacksinger#perfectstraightstitching



Featherweights were introduced at the 1933 Worlds fair flaunting its stuff as the first portable sewing machine weighting  in at only 11 pounds. Since most machines during that era were encased in a cabinet and EXTREMELY heavy the Singer 221 was definitely a hit.  Such a hit Over 3 million were produced


This little machine has the best stitches I have ever seen.  Before I blast you with a bazillion pictures let me share a few things about this little doll.

Singer 221-came in 3 colors only.  Black, Pale Celery(greenish tint white) and Tan.  The black units were produced in the millions are are very easy to find but can definitely range in price from free(in a family members home) to 400+.

The black unit also came as  a free arm, Singer 222K-There are a fortune!  AS in in the thousands!



Comes with a box which contained accessories and a place for the foot pedal.  I have a reproduction box the original.

Had tension controls but early machine such as mine had no numbers on it. You can get numbered dials though.


Have become  collectors items and they are very popular among quilters.

Can be painted in all colors but I will warn you paints jobs range from $500-$1100!

Since they have only mechanical parts you can do the maintenance yourself:).  Score!

Here are a few glamour shots of my featherweight  aptly named Earnestine after my Grandmother.




                                                                                              Tension dial with no numbers





The top bulb is orginal…..FIYAH!!!! Whoa this thing gets HOT! So I replaced it with an LED, how cools is that!





this pedal is too funny. The “button” on the left is the only one that can be depressed. The other button is stationary so you sew with your toe, hehehe.




Some of these attachments are hysterical looking!


Holes to place in a seam guide as the needleplate has no markings

To use modern taller,ligher in weight spools you will need a thread stand. If not your thread will "jump" off your machine...ask me how I know, lol.

To use modern taller, lighter in weight spools you will need a thread stand. If not your thread will “jump” off your machine…ask me how I know, lol.



Isn’t’ she just a doll?  There’s so much info on singer featherweights and I have learned so much.  If you want want there out there but…..betcha can’t buy just one!


Toodles! and Happy Sewing!



Posted on November 29, 2015

Vivian Handbag and Traveler Pattern Review

Handbags/ Sewing

I needed another bag to take to my moms for Thanksgiving. ….Quick.   No Judging. I am looking at you like Ester would look at Fred Sanford.   Say hello to the Vivian by  Swoon.


My Senna tote was killing me as I had it stuffed with all the components necessary for an episode of Survivor!  So I figured I would remedy that and make a handbag.  The Vivian comes in 2 sizes a handbag size finishing at 12″and a Travellor size at 17″.  I needed the Traveller:).



Time is Deer-ZeetZeet Etsy Shop I purchased this fabric once before and used if for a knitting project bag

Black and white Polka Dots/Grey and White Polka Dots -Waverly

Made my own piping

Pattern Overview:

I’ll admit I didn’t read..I am a bad mammah Jamma huh? made this bag by looking at the photo!  Since I decided to make this in 2 days before I headde to my moms I owe it all to Ali Cat and CO.  She did  a sew along some time ago so I followed her.  This is a quick sew as their aren’t many pieces but there are several areas where you need to play close attention, straps, zipper and drop in lining.  This bag calls for a foam stabilizer which was a first for me it was very easy to work with.  I recall thinking foam! I could only imagine sewing through that dense foam sold a Joanns used for out door cushions.  It is not at all like that, its very easy to work with and did not require a walking foot.  It was a great quick sew!



I omitted the inside zipper pockets since I don’t use that and tend to have a gazillion zippered pouches I used instead.  I added studs to the handles.


A Word of Caution

When lining your straps I only like to see one stitch line. I adhere my straps to the body with hem tape.  That ensures ZERO movement and perfect alignment at the base of your bag.  Use an edgestitch foot for perfect stitching.  I tacked down the lining to the seams to reduce droopie-ness.  There’s a tute on the swoon blog.  Drop in linings always require special attention to take it slow.



Juki F600

1/4″ foot with guide

Edge Stitch foot

Zipper foot

Wonder under

Scotch tape

Hem tape

Posted on November 6, 2015

WonderWoman Tote Bag

Handbags/ Sewing


Whew It has been a whirl wind yall!

norman rockwell

Let’s see……we’ve moved ….almost…it took over a month and required some serious downsizing. You know that is blashphemy for a crafter right!  During the move the gas company had the street blocked off for 2 weeks at the old house.  Then 2 days later they blocked off the new house!  (side-eye) .  Then Street cleaning on the side of the street in which we needed to park!  Next rain..I mean if I believed in Voo-doo someone definitely put a hex on us!  Well today is the last day so I am hiding waiting on Amazon and the husband is taking care of the last bits.  I had a small setback with my eye..just google eye concretions…that’s all I’m saying. Now take all that and add several days of overtime and double workshifts for the husband.  Did I get your sympathy yet???  I surely did need it!  Today we are on the move again and the closest we’ve been to some sort of normalcy!

With all that I did have a few custom projects going on and Ha!  I made all my deadlines….yess.  I also have some new goodies that I will share with you shortly too.  Before I said my final ado to corporate america I was asked to create a Wonderwoman Tote Bag with a custom message inside.I also knew I wanted to come up with my own design for a tote bag too.  Here are the deets!  My pictures are not the best as we were deep in the bowels of moving so forgive me.

Custom Wonder Woman tote is coming along....#wonderwoman#customtotebag#shophandmade#sewing#hopkinsstudio

I had a great time with this tote.  I used  a combination of fabrics to anchor the WW toss fabric.  Sometimes the toss fabrics have so much going on that you can’t really see the bag design.  I love the front pocket and hardware.

As with anything you make you learn things along the way.  That’s the benefit of being a maker.   So I jotted down notes too.

I really enjoyed this as I was making it for an awesome friend to give as a gift and the tote included a handwritten note.

She was worried the message wasn’t perfect but it was from the heart and that’s all that matters.  So glad to have been able to make this tote and its a good draft of what I would look for in a tote bag.

So glad to be back sharing with you and chat with you soon!



Posted on September 26, 2015

New Beginnings, New Blog and a New Bag Review

Handbags/ Pattern Review/ Sewing

There are lots of things happening here in the Studio over the next month!   A new career, new location and a new bag.  Lets chat shall we?

On to New Beginnings

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to dedicate myself full-time to my business, Hopkins Sewing Studio!  I am over the moon about it but I have a ton of work to do.  So I ask for your patience as I get it all together.  Now let me catch you up!

New Blog

Say hello to  I am teaching myself all the things! Pray for me yall! I have transferred my posts from to here.  Still figuring it all out.


Now all that housekeeping business is out-of-the-way on the bag!


Say hello to my new little “everyday” Bag.



Pattern Overview

I was  in the market for a new “everyday purse” and I like them big.  You never know if I will have to use it as a flotation device:).  I switch bags when I commuted to work so I exchanged from my Backpack to my tote bag to my purse.  I took a good look at my purse and I could have died, the thing was barely constructed.  vegan leather(pleather..what ever you want to call it) was peeling off and it wasn’t even worthy of the thrift store!  Ladies check your handbags it just may be time!  So this prompted me to begin to think about sewing a new everyday bag when I had a chance.  Enter the Senna Tote.  A collaboration between LGB and Willow and Co.  I felt this tote was a little snazzier with the zipper and rounded fold over top so I gave it a shot

Source: LBJ Studio Etsy Shop

Source: LBJ Studio Etsy Shop $9

I enjoyed this pattern.  It was written really well and used graphics instead of camera pictures.  If this bothers you don’t worry there are very little pieces and its very easy to follow.  There are several reviews for this pattern some even from first time bag sewers.  The pattern provides different options, hardware and fabric cutting guides which is always helpful.  The Senna Tote used interlining which was a first for me since I swear by interfacing but the bag holds up wonderfully.  I definitely learned to trust the designer on this one.  It’s a one day-er so get busy.



Ex Libris collection by Allison Glass purchased from my local quilt shop

Book Plate-Charcoal

Historical Fiction in Gold

Historical Fiction in Strawberry

Zipper Pull-Joanns-Isn’t she just a doll!

I used the Pink on the inside to brighten the bag a bit.  I took the seam sin 1/2 inch I hate saggy linings or when the insides droop.



I also used the pink to highlight my personal label.



I lined and made bias tape on the pockets to add some contrast. , added rectangle rings, stiff bottom and bag feet.

08-IMG_9521           IMG_502317-IMG_9530

The pockets are not lined, that’ s a no-no for me I had add lining.  I did not add the magnetic snaps.  I wanted to be able to access my ipad from this pocket which ended up shallower than I expected.  If I added my ipad the snap would have been in the way.


I used pellon 71F to make a stiff bottom and added feet.



I LOVE this zipper pull!


IMG_5027 (1)


Remember the false bottom…I forgot I wanted to added it.  Thank goodness for this small iron because I had to stick it inside the lining opening all ninja style like to fuse my stiff bottom, LOL.  It’s good to have a bazillion irons!  Using rectangle rings….ack.  I should have used these instead.  Already on order… The rings turn to the narrow end while carrying..ick.  You live you learn.



If you have any trouble at all it will be the curved zipper. Be sure to line up your dots and take your time and you will be fine.

Here a few more pictures of the finished bag and the cute taken when the weather was Beautiful outside.

IMG_5026 IMG_5023 I really enjoyed making this tote and want to make a few for my shop.  Of course when you make a bag you must make matching accessories too.


I made a high zipper pouch and lined it with my DIY matching laminated cotton.  I hate when creams or lotions lose their tops and create a mess.  I couldn’t resist making this little tissue holder using this tutorial too.


Give the Senna Tote a try Buy It Now.

Happy Stitchin!


Posted on September 15, 2015

Ruby Made by Rae Pattern Review


I made another top a few weeks ago.  Yes I will get better so I am going to keep practicing.  After perusing around on I decided upon the Ruby top/dress by Indie designer Hoeskra of Made by Rae.



I really liked this pattern.  The pattern is visually pleasing, its color coded.  It is designed for the beginner so Rae has tried to make it as simple and non-intimidating as possible.Success!Rae offer several seaming options which speak to the absolute beginner or the experienced.  It actually gave me a refresher on the various seam options and how to execute them.  I felt as though I were gaining skills and learning new ones all at the same time.  I spent the majority of my time finishing my top and I am pleased with it!.The pattern can be made into a top or dress or as in my eyes a dress that I will wear as a top. So lets have  a look:

1-IMG_2269                             1-IMG_2270

Pattern can be purchased at  MadebyRae or

$16.00 23 page PDF

Farbric:  Hobby Lobby



I scored these fabrics at Hobby Lobby.  I adore Hobby Lobby and I MUST stop when I see one.  I picked up this fabric and new it had to be for this top/dress.  This fabric is 100 percent cotton.  I prewashed on warm  and dried it in the dryer.  No fading, bleeding but it is not the softest.  I thought it would soften after washing, it did not.  so its pretty firm


Zilch…well unless you count the hem, I serged it:) and left it exposed.



You remember the neckline from my sailor top..well that wasn’t going to happen again.  I finished my muslin and felt pretty good that I got it on and all was well. I can laugh now but I think I am impressed with making a muslin and have in my mind that is a “fake” garment that I am not using it for it’s true intention.  To allow for a  good fit.  I am happy I got the garment together when I should really be looking at and addressing any fit issues…alas next top!  The pattern is only a few pieces so it a quick sew.  Can you spot the issue?  The sleeve well the sleeve less……..right at the edge.  You see its over my shoulder….not sure what the technical part of that would be called.  My finished top is a tad bit over my armpit so I think I will make the medium bodice next time.  I am learning about my self looks like I need to make garments smaller in the shoulders than the bust.  Ha!  that is the joy of sewing and also the reality that everyone’s body type is different so patterns do not always fit exactly….google fit model and you will see.

Lets us all Gather…I learned my lesson with my gather foot on my sailor was a mess.  This time I took my time without my fancy dancy gathering foot and got perfect gathers.





Based on the version you choose as your finish that’s where I spent the majority of my time.

1-IMG_9891 1-IMG_9890

I chose flat fell seams and they took a while.  I definitely love the look but they do take some time.  I also chose the option to bind the armpit and the sleeves.  Now Rae does offer a non binding option with video but I chose to make the pattern as is.  Man Oh Man it was quilting all over, LOL.  I need a little clover binding thingie because woo to make teenie binding..fold it over..and the the death steam from the iron..ack!





Whew…That was something, lol.  Once it was all pinned….hurry up and wait…I was taking my time to ensure it was neat.





The hem.  I wanted to use my serger on every garment to ensure I get comfortable right.  Well one tip I learned was to thread the serger with different colors until you are more comfortable so I did that….and it worked so I was serging along. Then all of a sudden it hit me..rats if I hem this you will see it thread since my thread is dark…whoops! So I left the hem down but serged.  That still makes me laugh.


None at all with this one.

It was windy when I took the picks but here are a few more.

1-IMG_9915 1-IMG_9919

And this is how I wore it!  All hail to the cardigan!


Ruby Dress Top designed by MadebyRae Highly Recommend!

Happy Stitchin’




Posted on September 8, 2015

Happy National Sewing Month

Source: NationalSewing

Source: NationalSewing

Boy have I been sewing up a storm so this month falls right in line.  I’ve decided not to make personal goals but a few for my business and that’s it.  Since its NSM lets talk about  our sewing equipment and what I like about them.


Naturally, a sewing Machine.


Brother PC420.  I scored my machine as a vendor sample, it was unopened and never used for $75!  At the time I was in the market for a machine that” did more stuff” so I had been researching online.  I saw this machine and I noticed there were only 2 machines left I snatched that baby up like the last piece of chicken! I knew if it didn’t work I could return it but I would figure out all that …..later.  Its been  about 4 years and it has served me well.  I love the start/stop button as opposed to the foot pedal, auto threader, see through bobbin, nice weight,  pretty quiet and a bazillion different foot options.  One day I may graduate to a Bernina but until then I will keep on rockin’ my Pc420.


My Serger

Brother 1034D-My serger is new to me and is pretty easy to use.  I will admit I was super scared of a bat in the house scared, lol.  Then I said  to myself ……its a machine…you are smarter than it!  I wanted professionally finished edges in my handmade clothes and now I have that ability.



Rowenta Travel Iron

This iron makes it so easy when pressing smaller seams.  I make a lot of bags and this iron can get into the smallest seams even get inside of pockets.  See the tip.


 Its light weight so if you have heavy hand or are use to the weight of the Oslo iron  just be mindful.


Janome Artistic Iron Press

Makes adhering interfacing a breeze and saves a TON of time!

Rep your equipment and tell me why you like it!

Happy sewing@




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Posted on August 27, 2015

Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top Review

Sailor Top-Cvr

Fancy Tiger Crafts Pattern $18.95 PDF 16.00 Creative Bug Membership $4.95 pieces only video included

I have been sewing….ALOT. I was determine to better my skills so I am tackling it one project at a time. Since I am self taught I depend on the internet tutorials and classes. This time I decided to make the Sailor Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts via my Creative Bug Membership.  So I used the pattern pieces and followed the online video class.



The ladies of Fancy Tiger describe the sailor top pattern as an easy-to-wear & easy-to-sew raglan sleeve top with a sweet gathered neckline. Its a-line shape is never clingy. This wardrobe staple is oh-so-practical for every day wear & looks great in many different fabrics. I agree with all the above. The pattern can be used with multiple fabrics and can easily get out of hand!  Meaning you can end of making a baziliion.


Since this was a quick sew I decided not to make a muslin…..not the best idea.    I did have fit issues and I want to be sure I get the pattern adjusted because I would love to sew several more.



Cotton and Steel Dandelion from Craftsy.  I prewashed  my fabric for the first time with Aquae Soak.  The fabric had a substantial hand unwashed.  When washed it seemed to just melt and had great drape and was just as vibrant.

This was one time I was glad to have various marking tools this pink marker worked great.  Also the first time I traced right on the fabric.  Normally I would pin then cut but this was much easier.


I made the size large for all pieces. Modifications NONE, Zilch!  This top was a front/back and two sleeves not much to  modify.  I normally lengthen my shirts nope not this tim..I let it be.


First up sleeves! Wait…what?  yup you construct the sleeves first.  nothing to it.  Let finish the construction.  Using Rowenta travel iron is great pressing small pieces and it heats up super quick.


Lets wrap this top up.  I was careful to make sure the seams matched too.


I finished my side  seams with my serger a Brother 1034D this was my first time using it.  BUY IT NOW.


                                      I added the yoke and that was it.  Yay time to try it on.


Ugh…..skued.  why is this puling to one side…..and back puckers.  Hmmmm UNDO. I took the from and back off. So how the Yoke was simply too big.  I guess that means I could have narrow shoulders?  Did I cut out the wrong size.  not sure.  I took the front and back loose.  I ended up having to put to darts in the back about 1/2” and then I was good to go.  So yes  I need to revisit this again.  This pattern is rated beginner plus since there are so few pieces but it s a lot of curves going on here. I don’t like to make the same thing twice so I will let it rest then revisit.  As I said its definitely a top I would like to have a few multiples of.


The gathers are smooth.


Now the back lie flat


have to tell the photog husband to make sure my shirt is all the way down next time:).

01-IMG_2246 02-IMG_2247

And yes we always must have the bathroom shots, LOL.  When I wore my top to the office I had a cardigan on which I wear daily.

What I loved

Minimal pieces

flattering for all

great wardrobe builder

several reviews already

Second Thoughts

Should have made a muslin no matter how few pieces

Would like to make it longer next time.


Gathering Foot

How long to make?

one day

I will make this top again so stay tuned.  Happy Stitchin’



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