Shop Tours, Travel

The Make Lounge

July 10, 2009

I just adore this little creative space in London (Islington) called The Make Lounge — isn’t it just darling? You can sign up for craft workshops at their studios and meet other groovy crafters like yourself. Then in August, they’ll be adding a retail space that will stock fabrics, books and mags, notions, handmade goods, sew kits, patterns, and more. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of shop meets learning space. It’s community building and I like that aspect best — you can get to know those in your city and have fun doing it.

The Make Lounge

The Make Lounge

The Make Lounge

I see this as a growing trend in America and parts of Europe, Australia and beyond and hope these types of places just continue to grow especially since more and more women are getting back in touch with using their hands to make things. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, these are all invaluable skills to have and once learned, there is no stopping you from making original one-of-a-kind things that not only are functional but also look beautiful and build your self confidence. Plus, there is a great need for us to get back in touch with our local community. Most of us don’t even know our neighbors and that’s a bit sad. Retail/Craft spaces like The Make Lounge is a great place to make new friends and to give yourself a little “you” time away from work and home responsibilities, too. Three cheers for that!

The Make Lounge is located at 49-51 Barnsbury Street, London N1 1TP.

Have you ever taken classes at a similar setup in your local city? What was your experience like?

(images: the make lounge)


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77 Comments

  • Reply Tricia McKellar July 10, 2009 at 8:01 am

    When I was making textile art (quilts not for the bed), one of my favorite things was to take workshops and there are scads of art quilting workshops out there. So many ladies (not to be sexist, but I don’t recall any men) from different backgrounds, different ages, different artistic desires all getting together with a bunch of sewing machines & fabric and having a blast for the day. Good times :)
    .-= Tricia McKellar´s last blog ..Many and One, 8×8 Fine Art Photograph by Tricia McKellar, Modern Photograph with Vintage Look =-.

  • Reply michelle July 10, 2009 at 8:02 am

    It definitely looks like a place for groovy crafters. If I walked past a shop like that in my neighborhood I would run in and sign up for a class ASAP.
    .-= michelle´s last blog ..Small Space, Big Style =-.

  • Reply BODIE and FOU July 10, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Ohh I love this!! I will try to go & check it out this weekend! I wouldn’t mind taking a few more sewing lessons just to move on from my Liberty cushions!

    http://bodieandfou.blogspot.com/
    http://www.bodieandfou.com

  • Reply Annie July 10, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Wow.. I love this place, it’s very neat and I love the colors and the wool balls mobile, I need to make myself one, now! :D
    .-= Annie´s last blog ..Vous êtes pressés? =-.

  • Reply ROOM design studio July 10, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Woooow this is what I need.. a place to relax and be creative and socialize!! I just came from London few days ago.. too bad I didnt know about this!!
    .-= ROOM design studio´s last blog ..Prop Stylist Randi Brookman Harris =-.

  • Reply LD July 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    I love this and I love the name – The Make Lounge! I wish we had more shops like this in the ‘burbs of NY…hm, maybe that’s a smart business venture!

    I went to an embroidery workshop with a friend in NYC and we had so much fun! Its a great way to unwind, meet new people and shop too!
    .-= LD´s last blog ..Clean, Quirky Fun =-.

  • Reply johanna July 10, 2009 at 8:27 am

    This is way cool. Great find. xo
    .-= johanna´s last blog ..Wonderfulness =-.

  • Reply jennifer July 10, 2009 at 8:34 am

    darling! this makes me wish i was in london again =/
    .-= jennifer´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply Elissa July 10, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I was just thinking I wish we had something like this on Long Island. I’d love to meet up with some crafty creative types in this neck of the woods.
    .-= Elissa´s last blog ..Snails =-.

  • Reply jess July 10, 2009 at 8:42 am

    This is such a great idea! I know so many young crafters like myself who are trying to connect in order to share both friendship and skills – this seems like the perfect place! I hope one opens in the NY Capital District soon!
    .-= jess´s last blog ..Pastel Blue Multi Colored Shoulder Bag Beach Market Tote – ‘Cotton Candy’ =-.

  • Reply Fenny Setiawan July 10, 2009 at 8:57 am

    when I read about this post, I was so thrilled that such place exist over there. I always had a thought it would be great if there are a cozy cafe (serve high tea or cute lil cupcakes, or healty salad with great coffee ;)) cum a craft workshop place and invite indie designer at Malaysia here to share their gifted talents and educate others to appreciate creativity :p

    well, its a delicious dream… therefore we do not have such place here :(, hope one day those dreamy places will be in here.
    .-= Fenny Setiawan´s last blog ..Today I heart : Beach =-.

  • Reply Laura July 10, 2009 at 9:01 am

    So cool! I hope this trend continues and expands (and I think it will!) My dream shop would combine a craft space with a coffee/tea/wine bar, lovely books, flowers, and a rotating selection of gorgeous handmade goods (paper, decor, bags, and jewelry) :)
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Daily Worth & Women Entrepreneurs =-.

  • Reply Kristan July 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

    This looks awesome! I so want to open one of these, haha…
    .-= Kristan´s last blog ..Greetings from somewhere near Angie =-.

  • Reply Kathy C. July 10, 2009 at 9:08 am

    That is so cool! I wish I lived there so I could go. Over here, we only have a place where you can paint unglazed ceramic and then have it fired. I always planned on going, never did get around to it. :(
    .-= Kathy C.´s last blog ..DIY Friday: Love Maegan’s Petal Clutch & Sandals =-.

  • Reply B July 10, 2009 at 9:12 am

    There’s a place like this in Chicago that I love called The Needle Shop (http://www.theneedleshop.net/). They have the most amazing fabric selection (like Amy Butler and Jessica Jones!). I’ve taken sewing classes there, and they also offer open times, although I’ve never signed up for open time. I can’t gush enough about the shop.
    .-= B´s last blog ..Riddle Me…That =-.

  • Reply Susan Mulder July 10, 2009 at 9:33 am

    What a fantastic idea! I would love a place like this to visit and be creative and meet other creatives as well. I had never heard of something like this before! And the place itself is a treat to look at-definitely a place worth checking out-just wish I could pop on over to London… :)
    .-= Susan Mulder´s last blog ..Before and afterlife…. =-.

  • Reply Kim July 10, 2009 at 9:39 am

    This makes me wish I lived in London! Or that something like this existed where I live! Also, LOVE the red and white chairs!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture =-.

  • Reply Amy July 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Wow that is a great idea – I wish I had something like this near me – how fun!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Waxy hearts surprise public art installations! =-.

  • Reply Cicada Studio July 10, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Love.
    .-= Cicada Studio´s last blog ..Creative Spurt =-.

  • Reply sarai July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I think spaces like this are wonderful, especially because I think watching, talking, and learning from others is really the ideal way to learn when it comes to sewing. Sometimes it makes me sad that sewing skills aren’t being passed down from mother to daughter any more, so places like this are just so encouraging!
    .-= sarai´s last blog ..Vintage fabric covered buckles =-.

  • Reply mandie segura July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I think that is SO cool! Thank you so much for sharing, Holly! :)

  • Reply tiffany July 10, 2009 at 10:41 am

    This is so great. What an adorable space! There are a ton of these in San Francisco. I’m actually taking a sewing class on Saturday at Craft Haven. Very exciting!
    .-= tiffany´s last blog ..friday’s confession =-.

  • Reply Arabella July 10, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Readers might be interested in this piece in the UK Guardian about the ‘resurgence’ of crafts:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/09/william-morris-arts-craft-knitting
    .-= Arabella´s last blog ..Bring On The Fans =-.

  • Reply elizabeth July 10, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Oh won’t somebody please create one of these in Northern Virginia!
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..a happy shower =-.

  • Reply Tanna July 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I love this concept and hope to see more of them pop up. In Philly we have sister sewing and knitting stores called Spool and Loop. Super cute spaces. I reconnected to sewing after taking classes at Spool in such a relaxed fun atmosphere. They even have monthly craft “Happy Hours” where you just drop in after work and do a craft project along with wine and cheese. Another option is in NYC called Make Workshop. They have everything from sewing to screenprinting. Look for them in the Lower East Side.

  • Reply Zoe July 10, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I love places like this, especially if you live in a small place and don’t have the space to spread out. There is a great one in San Francisco, I took a glass etching class there, it’s call The Craft Gym, http://www.craftgym.com/. Also, in NY there is the Make Workshop, http://www.makeworkshop.com/. which is mostly classes, but offers some of the most amazing and creative ones. I took a felting class which I loved.
    .-= Zoe´s last blog ..Friday Daze =-.

  • Reply jodi July 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    i’m taking a sewing class at make workshop in nyc next month and really looking forward to it! looks it is a similar place.

    http://www.makeworkshop.com/content/about/about_what.html
    .-= jodi´s last blog ..{234/365} hello =-.

  • Reply Linda July 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    The Workroom in Toronto (theworkroom.ca). I’ve only been in the shop once (great fabric, books, etc)…I’ve never taken a class but I read Karyn’s blog (makesomething.ca) all the time and she is great!

  • Reply Mari July 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    There is a MAKE workshop in NYC:
    http://www.makeworkshop.com/
    They opened in 2002. I’ve taken some great classes there.

  • Reply Katrina Lynn July 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    the balls of string hanging above the sofa are super cute! How awesome would it be to fill an entire ceiling that way!
    I love this space! I’m all for community spaces that promote the arts! Los Angeles needs one of these! Anyone know of one in the area?
    .-= Katrina Lynn´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply Gina July 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    This place sounds awesome!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Flickr Trail =-.

  • Reply Virginia @ Where You Hang Your Hat July 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    What a wonderful place! I’ve been thinking I’d like to learn how to sew before I invest in a machine…this is such a great concept!
    .-= Virginia @ Where You Hang Your Hat´s last blog ..i heart indy. =-.

  • Reply liz elayne July 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    i really hope that these do start popping up as this would be such a beautiful way to build community and create/learn together!
    .-= liz elayne´s last blog ..simple things (on this day) =-.

  • Reply Jessie July 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    OOoOh! i’ve seen this place before!! it looked amazing from the outside, thanks for sharing what it looks like inside :) wish i could sign up for a class – but i live 500miles away!!! dammmm!

  • Reply veojeo July 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    If your looking for designs or graphics this website is full of them. Ranging from dogs to aliens to fuzzy rubber its got it all! You can even get shirts with the designs on them! What else can i say click on the link.
    http://www.cafepress.com/toadbot

  • Reply jennifer | themakelounge July 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, thank you so much! :)

  • Reply Carla Valverde July 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Hello.
    I have a similar shops and we sell those or similar items, also give workshops, now we moved to a smaller shop so i thought that people would stop looking for workshops at our place, but… nop. They really love it and continue with us. I think that this types of places work as a meeting point too.
    Best Regards, Carla

  • Reply sia July 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    swoon… love those red + white chairs

  • Reply Johanna July 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    This is my dream! The lounge is fabulous! I have small retail space available to me but wonder if there is enough of a market in my area (South Florida) to open in this economy. Hmmmm.

    I have taken classes in places like this a few times. A gallery in Fort Lauderdale holds monthly workshops which are a blast! On vacation in Nantucket I took a ‘design your own clothing’ workshop upstairs from a boutique. Great!!!
    .-= Johanna´s last blog ..My First ATC =-.

  • Reply catherine s. July 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I SOOOO wish we had something like that here in my city, but we’re too small. Hubby and I are hoping to move to something more metro that may offer a place like this. Printed off the pics and it’s on my inspiration board – thanks! Love, love, love this idea – I would be there ALL the time. Hmmm, maybe I should open one here? Or wherever we land? Thx for the post!
    .-= catherine s.´s last blog ..It’s HEEEE-REE! =-.

  • Reply Kim @ The TomKat Studio July 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    So much fun! I would love to have a shop/crafting studio one day! We have a craft studio here called Blissful Living Studio, but I haven’t visited yet (surprisingly!) Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Kim @ The TomKat Studio´s last blog ..Birthday Week Final Giveaway – Custom Invitations! =-.

  • Reply Lucy July 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I did a course at the Make Lounge. Spent a lovely morning there…and I was so inspired, I bought a sewing machine afterwards. It’s a fab idea and really well executed! (Going to have to visit the Selvedge store soon too!!)

  • Reply donna July 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    We have something like this in Toronto called The Workroom (http://www.theworkroom.ca/). Now if only I had time to go check them out and take a class.

  • Reply maria July 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    What a cool place. I love the outside color and their store sign. I haven’t taken classes at a place like this, but it sure does seem fun.
    .-= maria´s last blog ..What I Divulged Today: 07.10.09- Honest Scrap =-.

  • Reply Bandit a la mode July 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    We have a place like that in Denver, CO called Fancy Tiger…. it’s not quite as adorable though…

  • Reply Katie July 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    We have something similar in Toronto, Canada! Check out http://www.theworkroom.ca. I haven’t taken any classes there yet, but I’m definitely hoping to soon!

  • Reply Leah Taylor July 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Ooooh I lived in Islington 2 years back and I wish it had been there then !! I must trek back up there to check this out, it looks fab…

  • Reply Genelle July 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Love this! I could definately see something like this in America. I would love it where I live, and I think it would get rave reviews! Thanks for sharing Holly!
    .-= Genelle´s last blog ..Miss You Dog, Card =-.

  • Reply karyn July 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    i hope to get to london one day to visit MAKE, it looks seriously cute. i own a similar shop in Toronto, Canada – called ‘the workroom’. we teach all kinds of fun classes (quilting, upholstery, clothing, natural dyeing, etc), sell fabrics & notions and do all kinds of events (craft fairs, stitch n’ bitch nights). the most amazing thing about it is the community of creative people that it continues to bring together. i love helping people discover their crafty selves!
    .-= karyn´s last blog ..HAPPY HOMEMADE VOL.1 =-.

  • Reply Regina July 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    We have a place here in Mesa, AZ called Blissful Living Studio (http://blissfulliving-domesticbliss.blogspot.com/) and I keep wanting to try something there, but I haven’t yet. Maybe this will inspire me to finally do it! All the classes look great.
    .-= Regina´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply juliette July 11, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I definitely love this idea. I wish we had one near us! There are so many places in the US where I could really see this idea take off!
    .-= juliette´s last blog ..Saved by a free printable =-.

  • Reply Charlotte July 11, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Isn’t it amazing the creativity of women. What a wonderful idea that’s certainly worth repeating.
    .-= Charlotte´s last blog ..He Had Such Great Potential =-.

  • Reply B July 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I love this place! I’m doing two workshops there this summer! I can’t wait!
    .-= B´s last blog ..A creative summer =-.

  • Reply Kathryn July 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    this is awesome!!! what a great idea! I have never heard of such a thing! what a good thing for a community!
    .-= Kathryn´s last blog ..reverie/down & out giveaway =-.

  • Reply erika July 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    yes actually! my whole life i have been a crafter. my recent obsession with crafting is making clothes. in los angeles there is a great studio called the sewing lounge. a cute young girl named jessica owns it and gave me a great one on one lesson, and taught me all about my specific sewing machine. i will be back for more classes!
    .-= erika´s last blog ..gute nacht =-.

  • Reply Iris July 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Holly,
    thank you for your interesting article about this cute and beautiful sewing shop. Just a few days ago I´ve read in our local newspaper (Hannoversche Allgemeine) that a Nähcafé is going to open today in our city at Maschstraße 13. Feeling encouraged with your article next week I will go and take a look at it. (Everything´s just because my English teacher gave me the advice to read English articles on the internet.) Have a good flight next month and welcome to Hannover again in August!

  • Reply pat sloan July 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    so great to see classes continuing! I took my first quilt class about 20 yrs ago and now it’s my full time job.

    look for quilt shops, fabric stores, yarn shops, scrapbook stores and beading shops in your area… all have classes and you’ll be so inspired!

    you may ask around for guilds too… another fabulous way to learn
    .-= pat sloan´s last blog ..A little cookie doesn’t hurt ANYONE =-.

  • Reply Emily-Claire July 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Oh how I love your blog! You serve as such an inspiration to me as I start my own blog. Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Reply Dorota July 12, 2009 at 6:25 am

    What a place! I love the idea to make it so simple … I run a similar place in Poland, make workshops every day, but my studio looks like … old, vintage magazine comparing to this creative and clear space. I admire the idea …
    Dorota from Poznan, Kreatywnie.com

  • Reply Skye bloo July 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Shame we don’t have more things like this in America. I wish I knew of one in my area. I love the concept of this place, I’d spend most of my time there. And it has an awesome Ambiance!

  • Reply JJ July 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Here in Toronto, Ontario we have a wonderful place called “The Workroom” http://www.theworkroom.ca where you can use all of their equipment to work on your projects for an hourly fee, pick up great fabrics, notions and patterns or take classes that they offer as well. It’s a great space and if you live here you should check it out!

  • Reply Shannon July 12, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    We have something similar in Melbourne – the Thread Den http://www.threadden.com/ I haven’t taken any classes yet myself but hope to one day
    I’m also a member of a local great craft group called Brown Owls that has expanded throughout Australia this year and other parts of the world http://www.brownowls.com.au/

  • Reply Rosalind July 13, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Oh my goodness I would love to see one in every city in Australia!!

  • Reply Andrea July 13, 2009 at 3:34 am

    My mother tought me knitting and sewing and I did a lot of in my youth. A few month ago I started again and I love it. Love this place in London.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Ferien! Retro Camping =-.

  • Reply Olha Pryymak July 13, 2009 at 5:46 am

    thank you for picking up another gem. Got to pop in since it’s so close by me.
    .-= Olha Pryymak´s last blog ..Commercial rd. and Hanbury st. =-.

  • Reply Magchunk July 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I love this idea! There is an Arts Center here in Seattle (Pratt Fine Arts Center) but most of the classes are 8 weeks and cost a few hundred bucks. I haven’t been able to spring for that yet (want to do screenprinting!) but they had one week where they held intro courses for 4 hours each for only $50. I went to the screenprinting class and made some prints that I have to figure out how to use now. But it was fun and so inspiring. All of us students were newbies, so it was fun to learn together. They also let you rent out workspace daily or monthly if you’re a member. I’d love to find somewhere besides Joann’s where they had sewing courses.

    Oh and in Tacoma WA there is an Open Throw studio for ceramic arts that I’ve been wanting to check out (buy a kit for $25, and then most of the time is free). Kind of cool.

    Ok, off to catch up on your posts. I was camping all weekend and am so behind!
    .-= Magchunk´s last blog ..6 Rules for Entryways =-.

  • Reply Emmeline July 14, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Gives me some new ideas for my studio called Emerald Arts. I run workshops and lessons there too, all art based. So much fun seeing people get that glint in their eyes, discovering new things, trying new mediums.

    :)

    -Emmeline
    .-= Emmeline´s last blog ..Meet Pig and Wuru =-.

  • Reply Inna July 14, 2009 at 2:57 am

    I just opened up a space like this at the Crocker Galleria in downtown San Francisco! We are always open for drop in crafting of all types (with a big focus on reusing and upcycling!) and we’ll be offering classes and fun events soon!

    Get in touch with me to learn more about it! Love that people are so receptive to the maker spirit!!

  • Reply Momo July 14, 2009 at 5:41 am

    Thank you for introducing this cool spot.

    For 2 years, I ran a similar kind of place in Singapore called Pauseability. Too bad that I could not keep up with the rent, and so had to close it. We still meet twice a month, once for making and trading Artist Trading Cards and the other for just some crafting.

    It is truly a wonderful way to relax and also meet people – to pause and explore possibilities, as I would say it.
    .-= Momo´s last blog ..Vintage Wonderland =-.

  • Reply Emily July 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Does anyone remember Spark Craft in Somerville, MA? Sadly it went out of business, but was of very similar inspiration!

  • Reply aphrochic July 15, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I have never been to a place like this, but it is so inspiring. I love the idea of building a local community around art and design. I do hope for more spaces like this. Acting locally is going to be fundamental as artists and designers find ways to make it in this new economy.
    .-= aphrochic´s last blog ..I Heart CB2 =-.

  • Reply resalikescolors July 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Anyone seen anything like this in LA?
    Awesome idea and what a great way to meet fellow crafters/artists.
    .-= resalikescolors´s last blog ..doodle =-.

  • Reply Lane C July 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Here in Minneapolis we have Crafty Planet, which is the best little craft shop. My friend had her bachlorette party there last year and emborider sqaures for her wedding quilt. They supplied the materials and we brought in treats. Hands down the best bachlorette party ever!
    .-= Lane C´s last blog ..AH Summer? =-.

  • Reply Robyn July 18, 2009 at 7:00 am

    We had one in Cambridge, MA. It seemed like for them to make a profit, the classes (and materials!) had to be super expensive, so it didn’t do so well (or at least that’s my theory!) and it’s now out of business. Had a private class taught there for part of my bachelorette party, which was totally cool; the other (public) classes I took were decidedly underwhelming and expensive! Sad… I wish it would take off!
    .-= Robyn´s last blog ..Staycation =-.

  • Reply justine justine September 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    wauuw!

    i want to open one! this is great! an absolute dream-place!
    .-= justine justine´s last blog ..handmade sterling filigree drops earrings for women =-.

  • Reply Krystyn December 22, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Oh I want to visit. I’ve never been to London before but if/when I ever get there, I’ll be sure to stop by. Looks like great fun!!
    .-= Krystyn´s last blog ..pouting =-.

  • Reply Debbie Lattuga February 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I learned to sew in high school and never thought about it until my daughter turned 2. Wouldn’t it be cute to make her a costume. Borrowed my mother’s 25 year old Singer…. and the rest is history.

    I wish there were more places like ‘The Make Place’. Women need community and I think places like these offer that.
    .-= Debbie Lattuga´s last blog ..Heart Rate Monitor Training | Calculate Maximum Resting Heart Rates =-.

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