Traditional crafts and skills are making a comeback. With the emphasis on vintage and being eco-friendly, it’s no longer considered cool, for example, to throw away furniture just because it’s wearing thin.
And, in times of austerity, who can afford to call upon experts to do odd jobs that we all should be able to do ourselves? Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be time-consuming. There are lots of short courses to try all over London – go on, get involved!
Creative Alteration: Make Lounge
What: Do your clothes no longer fit? Or do you buy vintage items that need adjusting? In this 3.5-hour workshop in Islington, you’ll learn techniques to revamp at least one garment, plus the skills – taking up hems, repairing zips – to alter others at home.
Price: £45. You need to have basic skills.
Repairs: London Bike Kitchen
What: There’s no point saving cash by riding around on a bike if you don’t know how to fix it when it breaks. This two-day Intro To Bike Maintenance course in Hoxton starts from the beginning, going through the basics, including fixing punctures and giving your cycle a health check.
Price: £60, includes LBK membership.
Jewellery making: London Jewellery School
What: If you’re thinking about getting into jewellery making – as a hobby or for extra cash – start off with a taster class. On offer at the Hatton Garden school are more than 100 classes, including how to make a silver ring, and recycling your jewellery.
Price: From £42. Class lengths vary.
Food foraging: Fungi To Be With
What: Save cash on groceries by learning how to sniff out your own grub. During this introduction class, your group will wander Hampstead Heath or Epping Forest, while your teacher chats about the different types of fungi, which ones you can eat, and which ones could kill you. Pay attention.
Price: £45 for an all-day course.
Sewing: Sew Over It
What: Who knew you could do so many things with a needle and thread? Learn everything from dressmaking and quilting, to making 1940s tea-dresses and knickers at this North Clapham venue. There’s also a course on how to recreate a Mad Men-style dress, for the more advanced. Guys, there’s stuff here for you, too, including how to make your own shirt. You can do it.
Price: Classes from £30.
DIY: The Goodlife Centre
What: Learn how to carry out those basic jobs around the house – not least so you can get your full deposit back when you leave. Day courses at this venue near Waterloo include DIY In A Day, Basic Tiling, Plumbing, Electrics and Intro To Upholstery. There’s also an onsite Repair Cafe held once a month for free where you can take broken goods (chairs, toasters, bikes) and fix them.
Price: One-day courses from £50.
Baking: Cookie Girl
What: Stop forking out on cookies and fancy cupcakes and make your own. Cookie Girl (aka Xanthe Milton) runs classes where you’ll learn everything from the basics up at her Notting Hill home. Get together some of your mates, and book for the two-hour cake-decorating party (£45 with a glass of bubbly). Guys, this may be a tad on the pink and girly side for you.
Price: From £45.
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