Look Nifty, Be Thrifty

Erin O’Hara

Just because you’re low on funds doesn’t mean you can’t still live the high life (or look like you’re living it, anyway). There are classes all over the City that’ll help you learn the skills to make everything from clothes and jewelry to plates and picture frames. All of your prized handmade possessions will knock your friends’ socks off. Luckily, with your new craft capability, you’ll be able to knit them a new pair in no time.

Sew Fast Sew Easy
Exercise your sense of style (while giving your wallet a break) by becoming your own personal fashion designer. Sew Fast Sew Easy offers basic sewing classes for beginners and more advanced sessions for the experienced, where you can make a leather clutch, for example. Upon completion of Stitch & Bitch University, a 10-week comprehensive course, you will receive a certificate that says you are a certified seamster. And the teachers definitely know their stitches—one of them, Kenley Collins, was a top-three finalist on season five of Project Runway.

Knitty City
Craft something to keep you cozy this winter at Knitty City. This yarn store has a warm, welcoming atmosphere, as well as everything you need to start stitching. Not only does it offer unbelievably affordable knitting and crochet classes for beginners and beyond, it also hosts a kids’ knitting club, parent-and-child knitting sessions and special knit-along workshops, where experts help you with your own project. Plus, Knitty City features a men’s knitting night, a charity crafting group and a book club, all for free.

Etsy Labs
The people behind etsy.com, a website that lets creative crafters sell their handmade everything, bring their extensive DIY knowledge to the masses. At Etsy Labs in Brooklyn, you can be making everything from soaps to books to screen-printed T-shirts in just a few hours. The prices vary depending on the class, its length and the cost of materials, but you always leave with something you made from scratch—and the skills to keep doing it. Etsy Labs also hosts a weekly craft night where you can work on that week’s special project or your own creation, and hang out with other crafty folks. Supplies, snacks and space are all free of charge!

Brooklyn Bead Box
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to binge on bling, head over to the Brooklyn Bead Box and create handmade jewelry that’ll look like it cost you an arm and a leg. In its reasonably priced one-session classes you’ll make jewelry of your own, including wire-wrapped rings and beaded cuff bracelets. BYOB (bring your own beads), or buy some from their large selection at the store. Plus, receive a 10% discount on all purchases made the day of the class.

The Potter’s Wheel
Impress your dinner guests by serving them salad out of a handmade bowl. At the Potter’s Wheel in Queens, take a 10-week-long class in wheel-throwing or hand-building and learn how to make an array of stunning ceramics. And once you’ve got the techniques down pat, you can buy workshop time and use the studio to turn all of your pottery dreams into reality.

Makeville Studio
You’ll be a cut above the rest when you take one of the woodworking classes at Makeville Studio. In each class, you’ll master a specific tool by making a project with it, from picture frames to keepsake boxes, even a wine rack. Or learn all the basics at once with the workshop certification course, and then rent out workshop space to create anything else you can conceive.