do it your own damn self

Th e Seam Rippers’ Guide to Stuff in Vancouver

The Seamrippers Craft Collective is a D.I.Y. project with the goal of creating a supportive environment for making stuff and for the people who make it. We have recently opened the Seamrippers Craft Center in downtown Vancouver for this purpose. The center is designed to serve as studio/resource facility, gallery, and hosting venue.

The studio is open to both members and non-members who are welcome to drop in, and includes a screenprinting studio, sewing equipment (regular machines, industrial machine, a serger), knitting and needlework supplies, a loom, bookmaking supplies, a large cutting table and a craft library. The gallery is dedicated to showing contemporary craft in all its variety and show proposals are welcome. As a hosting venue, we hold craft fairs, offer workshops, free socials (like Sunday night knitting), ‘ESL through craft’ classes, and more.

In this Discorder space, we usually write a how-to craft column but this month we’re doing things a little bit differently. Here is an incomplete list of all the craft supply stores and related places that I can think of. This list will be available on our website shortly at (, please feel free to add any locations that you feel were neglected.

Beadmania Beads: 1011 Commercial Dr., (604) 258-6400
Beadworks: Net Loft, Granville Island, (604) 682-2323
Country Beads: 2015 West 4th Ave., (604) 730-8056
Beads and lots of ‘em. Every size and colour imaginable.

The Birkeland Bros. Wool Ltd.: 3573 Main St., (604) 874-4734
A delightful family owned-and-run yarn store — here you’ll find all sorts of knitting supplies, from wool and needles to pattern magazines. If you buy a skein, you can wind it into a ball with their winder, and if you have any questions about anything knitting-related, they’re sure to have answers.

Budget T-Shirt: 25 West 8th Ave., (604) 874-1800
Budget is the next best thing to ordering wholesale. They sell blank tshirts from a variety of brands including Fairline (good baseball t’s) and American Apparel (good colours, wide selection). You have to make a minimum purchase of $200 which is easier than you think, especially if you go with a friend. You can call in your order over the phone to pick up the next day but make sure you have one of their catalogues as they don’t carry all styles by all brands.

Button Button: 422 Cordova , (604) 687-0067
An incredible selection of buttons both practical and impractical. All different kinds of buttons can be found here including very tiny ones (my favourites) and very beautiful vintage ones. You’ll never know how you lived so long without paying more attention to buttons.

Craft House: 1386 Cartwright St., Granville Island, (604) 687-7270
This is a good source of inspiration more than anything else. They have exhibitions of craft artists’ work that is always of the highest quality.

Douglas Trading Post: 991 Granville St., (604) 687-4024
Possibly one of my favourite stores in Vancouver for the random items that they sell. They have a wide range of jewellery-making supplies (chain, pendants etc.) They also sell beads, leather, feathers, stickers, rhinestones and plenty of the unexpected. Don’t be in a hurry when you are browsing and expect to leave with something that you weren’t looking for.

Dressew: 337 West Hastings, (604) 682-6191
Probably the best fabric and notions store in Vancouver, maybe anywhere. They have a huge selection of fabric, an awesome discount section, and rows of every trim imaginable. They buy out stock from other companies so they often have very strange items like bridal headresses and Halloween costumes. If you see something you want, buy it; it will probably be gone when you come back. And remember, they only take cash.

Fabricland: 1678 South East Marine Dr., (604) 321-1848
They have a good selection of basic fabrics at reasonable prices. Not as great a selection as Dressew or Textile Clearance Warehouse.

Hartman Leather: 1345 Railspur Alley, Granville Island, (604) 685-0880
The only leathercraft store in Vancouver that I know of. They sell full skins, leather dyes, leather fasteners, and embossing tools. If there’s something that you need to work with leather that they don’t have, the world might implode.

I’m Impressed: 1494 Carwright St., Granville Island, (604) 684-4657
Rubber stamps are a simple way to decorate paper and other surfaces. Stores like these sell stamps in sets (alphabets) or themes (leaves etc.) And many colours of ink. You can also get your own image transformed into a stamp. Just make sure that the lines aren’t too thin or close together or you may be stuck with a blob.

Loomis: 1629 Main St., (604) 681-7351
1664 West 4th Ave., (604) 733-1331
Loomis on Main St. is the larger of the two stores, but both have a wide variety of art and craft supplies. They have a varied selection of decorative papers as well as those for drawing and print making. They have a decent selection of screenprinting ink and some basic supplies. Loomis also has a wide selection of craft supply kits and books, many paints for different surfaces, scrapbooking supplies, and fabric paints.

Maiwa: Net Loft, Granville Island, (604) 669-3939
There are two Maiwa stores in the Net Loft on Granville island. One sells products from Fair Trade resources all over the world, mostly textiles. The other sells dyes and inks for printing and dyeing fabric. They also carry affordable screens for printing.

Michael’s Craft Store: 9711 Bridgeport Rd. Richmond, (604) 273-6311
1000 Main St. Ste A 1, West Vancouver, (604) 913-6145
Every craft supply you could ever need and some you probably never will. Michael’s has a lot of basic kits in every craft medium and some products that I haven’t found anywhere else. If you have a specific project in mind don’t get distracted by the fake flowers or the paint by numbers sets.

Opus: 1360 Johnston St., (604) 736-7028
Very similar to Loomis. A large framing department and wide variety of paints for different surfaces. A good selection of paper. Loomis, however, has a better selection of craft supplies.

Paper-Ya: Net Loft, Granville Island, (604) 684-2531
Guess what, they sell paper. Every kind of paper, both decorative and functional. They also sell stationary (in sets), rubber stamps, resource books and really beautiful ribbon. They have what is probably the best selection of bookmaking supplies including glues and cloth tapes.

The Regional Assembly of Text: 3934 Main Street, (604) 877-2247
This store just opened (August 26th). They sell some art supplies (glue, scissors) but mostlythey just have their own stuff. Becky and Brandy make zines, cards, t-shirts, and more and somehow make it all look really easy. At the RAT, you can use their small letter press and drawers of type for an hourly fee. They also have a 1-inch button press and are inviting people to come in and use it. So rad.

Ruby Dog’s Art House; 4738 Main, (604) 873-2825
This place is a marvel. It’s full of the most amazing collection of papers, stamps, little jars, foreign playing cards, lettrasets… it just goes on and on. Once Ruby Dog fi gures out how much they can charge for their sweet sweet crack, a few of us will have to start living on the street amongst our collections of pretty things. Untill then, rent a bigger appartment, you’ll need it.

Stanley’s Sign and Screen Supply: 28 West 5th Ave., (604) 873-2451
Stanley’s is similar to Willox only not as far from the city centre. They sell mostly to industrial printers so it is good to know what you want before you get there. Chances are the ink and cleaners you need will be water based. They also clean screens for $15, a good alternative when you have tried everything else. Also a good source for screens and mesh by the yard.

Textile Clearance Warehouse: 5550 Fraser St., (604) 321-7188
1349 United Blvd, Coquitlam, (604) 515-7161
This place has a great variety of fabric. The location in Coquitlam is much larger. If you can’t fi nd something at Dressew, you should be able to find it here. A fi ve dollar membership gets you substantial discounts for a year.

Thrift stores: Too many in Vancouver to list!
A good place for deals and unique items, but finding something that you actually need can be fairly chancey. Most stores have a small selection of craft supplies and often some really great fabric. Yarn is pretty easy to find but keep an eye out for sewing machines, you never know. I have also been lucky with great magazines for collage, old resource books, and hidden surprises.

Urban Source: 3126 Main St., (604) 875-1611
Why is it that I love stores that sell things in bins? Urban Source has ridiculous amounts of random supplies and is very good recycler! Most of the objects in this store are salvaged from other projects. There are a lot of off-cuts and leftovers but somewhere in this store is the ultimate item to complete the craft project of your dreams.

Willox Graphic Supplies: 3104 South East Marine Drive, (604) 255-7725
Willox is one of the best places to start for screen printing supplies. They are really an industrial supplier but very helpful to those of us who require smaller quantities and a little advice. Make sure you have an idea of what you need before you get there as you cannot browse the chemicals and inks. They also sell mesh for screens and pre-made screens. A fun place to go, because you can walk around the showroom and make a wish list of all the eqipment.