Our Summer Holiday Courses 2016

Summer can be a pretty stressful time. The kids are all off from school and although there is an abundance of sports camps and performing arts courses, what do you do with the children that want to do something slightly different this summer?

Little Hands are running their annual Design and Clothes-Making Summer Course all the way through summer, with weekly courses commencing on July 11th. These camps, which run both full days (9am-12pm) or half days give children and teenagers the opportunity and enough time to experience the entire process of designing and then creating their own outfit or accessories. Each day is a totally new experience; one day your child could be designing their Oscar-worthy outfit and by day five, they could be selecting sequins from our vast collections of materials for that finishing touch! However, most of our students take inspiration from our ability appropriate spring /summer project collection and we always encourage them to give anything a go! Not only are all the fundamental sewing and design skills taught each day by our highly qualified staff but your child is fully immersed in the world of fashion for an entire week.

 Your child is fully immersed in the world of fashion for an entire week.

The courses are also very social and the relaxed and non-judgmental environment means that making friends is easy even for the shyest of children. Throughout the course of the week, we also host themed competitions to add a little bit of good-natured fun to the week and often have these run in conjunction with our collaborations with well known companies and fashion houses. This year we have been and continue to work with Lego! This collaboration has been an enormous success with the proof being in our recent May Half Term Course! Our young students were taught the basics of 3D design using Lego and then applied this knowledge to understand how many modern designers produce and conceptualize their designs in the present day. The students were surprised to see how brilliantly their designs turned out and can you take a look for yourselves at their end products in the May Half Term photos below. Fortunately for you, Lego are continuing their work with us into this summer, and their competitions among many others, may help propel your child into fashion recognition outside our North London studio!

Even if your child is slightly younger, we have our Tiny Hands courses for six to eight year olds! This class is adjusted to the younger children and is both a nurturing and exciting way for them to play around with fashion and make friends. These classes are separate to the older classes so we can pay maximum attention to your little ones and let them experiment to their heart’s content.

Our summer courses are quickly filling up so if you think this seems like the perfect week for your child or you if you’re under eighteen, then please book online or give us a call or an email. The weeklong course costs £250 pounds for the full days and £120 for the half day, both of which include all the materials in our impressive selection and the professional teaching and assistance of our qualified staff at all times. Most of all, your child will leave with a lifetime of experiences and a brand new outfit!

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Most of all, your child will leave with a lifetime of experiences and a brand new outfit!

Personal Stories: Lola – how sewing is saving my life

 

It’s a Thursday afternoon, the sun is shining outside but the workshop at Little Hands is packed with children. As the newest member of staff, with little to no experience in sewing and design, I wanted to really understand what in particular drew these girls and boys back into the workshop week in, week out. I had been promised an interview with Lola, who has been attending Little Hands every week for over a year.

Lola is your typical fourteen-year-old from North London. She’s intelligent, very quick witted and obsessed with Instagram and street wear. Her personal Instagram is filled with her dressed in quirky outfits and we quickly get onto the topic of how boring school is.
However, Lola is a recovering from Anorexia Nervosa. Despite her large smile, she is very slim and despite being so open with me about her disorder, it has by no means been an easy year for her. She was inpatient at the Royal Free for five months last year and despite living back at home now, she still very much struggles with body image, mood swings and the constant feeling of judgment.

However, the way Lola is describing her emotions outside of Little Hands to me, doesn’t match the mannerisms of the young girl before me. She’s extremely bubbly, extremely open and most of all, doesn’t seem all too pre-occupied with the food or feels the need to discuss. If anything, she seems like a very happy teenager. She explains to me that once she’s in the workshop, she finally feels at peace. It’s a space for her to focus on herself and no one around her. She doesn’t have to think about her next meal and she can use her brain to come up with new ideas rather than counting calories. It’s her space away from judgment and away from the constant voices inside her head.

It’s her space away from judgment and away from the constant voices inside her head.

Lola first came to Little Hands when her phycologist asked her to find an activity that would occupy her thoughts without her engaging in too much physical activity. She automatically fell in love with Little Hands. “I love clothes and I had always wanted to create my own outfits” she tells me. Lola is certainly creative. She spends a good ten minutes describing her eclectic style to me and then informs me that she once created her own Topshop replica skirt when she realised they had run out of her size in the store. “It doesn’t fit as well as I wanted it to” she tells me. “But I can always just adjust it now at home with the skills I learnt here”.

Whilst Lola natters away about Duke of Edinburgh and her recent decision for a drastic haircut, I really start to understand why Little Hands means so much to her. She feels unashamed here and the guilt that comes with Anorexia doesn’t arise because she is more focused on the process of creating a piece. Of course, sewing is an enormous contributor to Lola’s love of Little Hands but it’s also the atmosphere. “It’s not like school because at school some people just don’t get it. Here people don’t have to get it. They just don’t comment. They see me for Lola. I’m just another girl in class”.

As a recovered anorexic myself, I feel very optimistic both in Lola’s ambition in design but also in her recovery process. We both agree that if she begins to see recovery like the process of creating a dress, she’ll soon be back to full health. She’ll have to be patient, she may make a few mistakes here and there and will probably get angry at herself more than once, but eventually that dress will be Lola’s and she will wear it beautifully.

She’ll have to be patient, she may make a few mistakes here and there and will probably get angry at herself more than once, but eventually that dress will be Lola’s and she will wear it beautifully.

In the middle of me and Lola’s stalking of each other’s Instagram accounts, an design assistant comes to grab Lola and take her back to her dress. Lola has agreed to come out for lunch with me one day this week and I’m sure, she will be ready to bombard me with more stories of antics at Little Hands. Lola is a great teenager, a great designer and a real inspiration to me. I’m just hoping that I can re-create the incredibly re-assuring atmosphere here in Little Hands when I take her out for lunch.