The Great Wellington Craft Crawl: Part II

After the success of the outer-suburb Craft Crawl, and after letting out pocketbooks recover from it, the lovely ladies of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers and I convened to do the CBD half of the  Craft & Textile Lover’s Guide to Wellington as a Craft Crawl.

This one was quite fun because it really was a crawl (well, a stroll) – you can visit every one of the delicious crafty shops in central Wellington in one easy walk.

The craft crawl started out with just myself, Gemma of  66 Stitches  (who writes exactly like she talks – and it’s adorable and always makes me smile!  You have to imagine it in a very strong but quite attractive Aussie accent) and Juliet  of  Crazy Gypsy Chronicles  (who keeps the sewing awesomeness of the WSB going in Palmy).  At Stop 2 we were joined by  Zara of Off-Grid Chic  (Yay! A repeat from CC Part 1)  and on stop 5 we picked up Sophie-Lee of Pins & Noodles  (who manages to be a doctor and a talented seamstress – talk about overachieving!).  Plus, we got to see two more bloggers at their shops!

We started downtown, right off Lambton Quay, at Arthur Toye fabrics, which isn’t properly on the Craft Guide, and which is shutting down in early 2014 (boo).  I bought some bunny fabric (it has bunnies on it!), but didn’t take photos as it wasn’t an official stop.  After Arthur Toye’s we headed downstairs to:

Stop #1: #13 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington:  Sherezad Silks, which is  downstairs in the BNZ Centre off Willis St.

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com

Swoon.  Just swoon.  Really!  The problem with Sherezade is that I want to buy EVERYTHING so much that I can’t just choose one!  Juliet had no such problem though.  She wanted that red and gold jacquard!

And possibly these ostrich feathers:

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com

I think I’ve narrowed down my desperate wanting of everything in the shop to particularly desperately wanting two fabrics, this large scale yellow and gold bizarre silk, or that glorious pale ivory-gold jacquard.  But I can’t afford both, so I’m going to have to decide…

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Unfortunately, I’m going to have to decide quickly as we found out that Sherezade is shutting up its physical shop early next year!  Oh no!

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This does mean there is a huge range of gorgeous fabrics at half prices.  Yum!

Sales are nice, but it’s gutting to be loosing another wonderful craft shop.  There are three shutting this year: Arthur Toyes, The Asia Gallery, and Sherezad.  I think it’s been really hard for shops in the economic climate, especially with the earthquakes.  Wherever you are, if you love your local craft stores, now is really the time to show them and support them as much as possible!

After mourning the looming loss of Sherezad, we headed a few streets over to:

Stop #2: #8 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington:  Made It,  103 Victoria St.

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com
Made it is pretty much crafters heaven, because it’s full of gorgeous crafty things that someone else already  made – so you get all the handmade yumminess without any of the frustration or guilt over how long it sat in your stash!  And best of all, it’s part owned by one of the WSB herself: Elisabeth of The Sewphist!

At the shop Zara & Juliet drooled over jewellery, and books, and cards, and pretty much everything:

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Juliet made faces at things she didn’t like:

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.comAnd things she did:

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And Gemma and I did Christmas shopping, and then Elisabeth took the official Craft Crawl picture for us (and I’m wearing the Bad Plaid dress!)

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com

Next, it was just up Cuba Mall to:

Stop #3: #7 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Knit World,  Shop 210b Left Bank, Cuba Mall

Knitting and crocheting are hobbies I dare not take up because I don’t have enough space to have another stash, but oh, do I yearn for warm hand-knitted jumpers and pretty lacy scarves!  I walked around Knit World picking up the yarn and cooing at it.

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Even for a strictly-sewing girl like me, there is plenty to love and buy at Knit World, from sewing machines:

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To totally adorable buttons:

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Look!  There are hedgehogs!  And scottie dogs!  And bunnies!  And sheep showing their bottoms!

With our crawl halfway done, it was time to stop for lunch.  We chose Midnight Expresso, for their comfy booths, chilled music, and delicious food which covered all the necessary dietary requirements.

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Distracted by food, I had a brain blip and completely forgot to take us to what was supposed to be:

Stop #4: #4 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington:  Fabrics Direct,  97 Ghuznee St

I’ll be making it a point to stop in over the next few weeks, as Fabrics Direct does have some gorgeous fabrics!

Since we skipped it we headed straight on to:

Stop #5: #5 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington:  The Fabric Store,  15 Garrett St


Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com

The Fabric Store was particularly exciting, as we all had sale vouchers from being on their mailing list.  Sophie-Lee bought trouser fabric, as did I (I’m making Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing trousers).  Juliet was after the perfect broderie anglaise.  Zara bought the most amazing zebra print fabric (with actual zebras on it) and the most glorious floral which I would never be able to wear.

And we all sighed and touched and petted everything else.

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And then we got a bit silly and ‘curated’ an assemblage of leopard print fabrics with the idea that each WSB should pick one to make an item out of as a challenge:

Wellington Craft Crawl thedreamstress.com

Individually each of these fabrics is quite lovely, or at least unoffensive, and they don’t look too bad as a group, but in real life, together, they clash hideously.  Gemma shrieked with laughter when she saw our grouping!

After adding to our stashes mightily at The Fabric Store (there are Australian and American branches too, so those of you overseas can get in on the deliciousness!) we headed further up Cuba too:

Stop #6: #10 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington:  Minerva Textile Books & Gallery,  237 Cuba St

Minerva was literally so glorious and distracting that I forgot to take photos.  I was just overwhelmed by the textiles, and cards, and journals, and books.  Oh…the books!  Every decadent sewing and textile book you could dream of, from edge modern sewing, through textile history, and guides to every sewing and craft from knitting to Hawaiian quilting.

I was just so delighted I couldn’t get my camera out!  I’ll have to go back and get you photos though!

Lucky last, and lucky #7, is

Stop #7: #19 on  The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Made on Marion, Marion St

Made on Marion is, of course, where I teach all my sewing classes, and is owned by our very own WSB Maryanne of Sent from my iRon.

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We squealed over pom-poms and boutique quilting fabric, and stocked up on zips and needles and interfacing and other indispensables to finish all of the garments we were going to make with the fabrics we had just bought.

Then we collapsed on to the welcoming couches for tea and cookies, and to admire the lampshades that Maryanne’s lampshade class were just finishing.

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Another wonderfully successful day!  We’re so lucky to have so many great craft and textile stores in our area.  Touring them is a must-do for the craftily inclined who visit Wellington!

How many craft or textile shops do you think you have within an hours drive of where you are?  Have you ever tried to tour them all?


  1. That’s nice 🙂 This will be very usefull when I visit NZ one day.
    But it is also very sad, that these three shops are closing ;'(

  2. There are a number of craft and sewing stores within an hour’s drive of me, but they are off in all directions and visiting them all might take more than a day. The best ones are all in a clump in Philadelphia, which is between a half-hour and an hour’s drive away, depending on traffic and time of day.

    There’s a Jo-Ann’s Fabrics about 20 minutes to the east of me in King of Prussia, PA, and a Michael’s craft store (mostly has materials for non-fabric crafts, but does sell some yarns and embroidery supplies) about a half-hour to the west in Exton, PA. There are also bead stores in West Chester, PA (about 25 minutes to the west of me) and Wayne, PA (about 15-20 minutes east) Philadelphia has an assortment of fabric stores, all clustered in the same 5 block area that is referred to as “Fabric Row” and includes a bewildering variety of different types of fabric–lovely, but much of the best stuff is *very* expensive. Near Fabric Row is the South Street shopping area, where quirky accessories and unusual clothing items may be found. Thrift stores are tucked in here and there (there’s one about a half-mile from where I live–an easy walk) in the entire area between West Chester and Philadelphia.

    For my purposes, this is all less than helpful because only Fabric Row tends to have the kinds of simple linens and wools that are of the most use to me for Early Period costume, but I’ve gotten some nice things to work with for other periods.

    • One of the really wonderful things about Wellington is how compact it is – and how reasonably priced all the fabric stores are. I forget that some places are so spread out!

      I’ve had lots of sewing friends go to Europe and the US with grand plans of stocking up on fabric, and coming back with nothing as they have realised that you really can get amazing things here, and the prices are so much better. I think it’s because there is so much demand for fabric and crafty stuff per capita – lots of people here still sew, and a huge percentage of brides still have their dress made.

      Of course, as you’ve pointed out, what you want in fabric depends hugely on what kind of sewing you are doing!

      • My love of solids is helpful for sewing in the US. I’m so picky about what I want that you’ll rarely see me buy a print. The upside of this is that once I find a fabric I like at Joann’s (because I have no indie shop to buy from) I just order it from online, now that I’ve touched it and worked with it.

  3. Lyndle says

    What a cool day! Thanks for the vicarious tour! I’d forgotten knitworld has buttons. Too bad about scherazade- it’s a Wellington institution. I’m really going to miss Arthur Toyes. Between them and global fabrics (now the Fabric Store – really, whose marketing idea was that?) I can find most things I want, with knowledgeable staff.
    Happy holidays. I hope you do get a break. And thanks for blog, it’s one of my favourites because you write really well, you do interesting stuff, and it’s a great intro to historical fashion (and Hawai’i). Thank you for the time you put into it.

    • You’re welcome! Touring all the places is a really good reminder for me too – I forget to check places like KnitWorld because I don’t knit, but they actually have a lot of sewing stuff too – and they’ve done a good job of making sure their range doesn’t overlap with Made on Marion’s/Fabric Warehouses too much, etc.

      I’ll miss AT too, though I tend to be a Fabric Warehouse & Global (much better name! I think they changed it to move into the US or AU market – because there was already a store with a similar name in one of them) girl because it’s so much easier to park for those two.

      Happy holidays to you too, and thank you for the compliment on my blog. It’s a privilege to share my world with you!

  4. Karen says

    What? Asia Gallery closing??? Noooooo…. I only just discovered it….. and there are so many more kimono I want… (only bought 5 last time).. When do they close? perhaps I need to make an emergency dash up from Christchurch…. 🙂 Great craft crawl… Thanks!!

    • Well, they aren’t really closing – just moving to Auckland. But I’m hardly ever in Auckland so it’s much the same for me 🙁 Still, gutting!

  5. Lynne says

    Minerva looks like a branch of heaven!

    What an excellent crawl! I hope you went for the “large scale yellow and gold bizarre silk” – the other one is tasteful, but you don’t find a gold like the first one very often. It would suit you. 🙂

    • Minerva is a branch of heaven! Though I do love the rambling second hand bookstores where you just *might* find a forgotten treasure the teeniest bit more.

      The yellow one is more spectacular isn’t it? Also pricier, and I’d have to be careful about the repeat, and I’d need more for what I want to do – and they might not have enough! I’m going to have to take a good look at it, and have a good thing. The pale one is subtly amazing in person though, and has the most sublime hand.

      • Lynne says

        I just can’t get my head past the Ninon dress, and how that colour suits you. The gold in the patterned fabric is the nearest to Ninon I’ve seen in a long time. And yes, you would need a lot – it would have to be perfect, because it would really show. But, oh! What it could be!

  6. Elise says

    Horray for local shops! It’s so neat when you get to see the personality of owners expressed through their store, and how local shops collectively add so much vibrancy.

  7. I really miss The Fabric Store here in Christchurch, apparently a new shop will be opening this coming year though which is great; the fact that I’m now on a fabric/yarn/fibre/haberdashery diet is not so great. We have Fabric Vision though in Papanui as well as the Bernina Shop which has great hab, Grace and Lace for bridal fabrics in that area too.

    Haralds in Birmingham Drive is amazing, he has some real gems and I love chatting to him.

    The Merino Shop has a stock of stretch fabrics from Levana Textiles; not so good for costumes, but great for everyday clothing.
    Kutwell in town is a bit of a dogs breakfast, but sometimes there’s something worth getting and their trims can sometimes be great too. It has gone backwards since the original owner retired though.

    And then there’s Spotlight, sigh. I hate that place, but it’s sometimes got something worthwhile.

    There are numerous quilting shops around too, sometimes you’ll find divine buttons or other notions well worth investigating there.

  8. I don’t drive, so I have no idea about the vicinity of my hometown, although my best guess is Prague, and there it would be very many indeed… Brno’s got quite a lot of them just in a walking distance in the very centre, and I know I probably know only about half of them. And I usually do not have the money. Like, I’ve just spent a good portion – probably all – my crafting money that I had hoped to invest in some silk organza – on a white trouser fabric and a lovely blue knit for t-shirts. Things I’ll definitely use, and am excited about (the trouser fabric is something I’ve hoped to acquire for most of this year – the plain fabrics are sometimes the hardest to find), but no silk organza, again.
    But I was therefore very amused, and pleased, to read that you’ve bought a trouser fabric, too.

  9. … of course, I forgot to mention my hometown. We have one sewing and haberdashery and knitting and everything shop, thankfully a stable fixture of Czech small town at least where I live, and I go there whenever I need a zipper or something, unless I’m in Brno. And sometimes I just go there and pick something from their discounts and remnants racks, just because. Those things have already come in useful several times. (Most recently, a green cotton yarn made my crocheting sister very, very happy. 🙂 )
    They have some serious shortcomings: they don’t really carry apparel fabrics (maybe except some denims), their interfacings as far as I know are of lesser quality, and they don’t carry other thread than polyester. (And I have not seen invisible zippers either.) Which is the main reason I shop in Brno as well.

    And as I mentined, plain, sturdy, natural fibre fabrics for everyday wear are maybe the hardest thing to find. I’m sure that ellusive shop that carries them on regular basis must be somewhere, I just have not found it yet…

    … which reminded me of the Sewintist map, and that I should add all the Czech shops I can run into, just because.

  10. I get so jealous when I see people go to physical stores. I have two stores in town, but both carry no fabrics that you can actually use for making clothes or costumes. Both are concentrated on home textiles, and the only clothes fabrics you can find are hideous, shiny polyester satins and embroidered organzas. Once I was desperate to find a twill fabric and in both stores they looked at me like crazy when I asked if they had any, another time when I was desperate for something to sturdy up a bodice one of the shop helpers went on and on about how rigilene was used for proper corsets, I went to the hardware store instead.

    I go there when I need to pick up some thread, and one of the stores have quite a good selection of beads and ribbons, but that’s it.

    I was in London last week and went down the Goldhawk Road, with lots of fabric stores. I ended up buying a lot more than I had thought, because it was just so lovely to be able to see and touch the fabrics and get inspiration on how they would fit together.

    Since we don’t have any local stores I’m stuck with ordering most of my fabric online, which is also a reason why my stash grows a lot for every project, since I usually have to order several fabrics before I find ones that I think would be good, usually the colour differs from the screen.

  11. If I get to move back next year, you’ll have to do another crawl, so I can make note of where they all are!
    I’ve been looking at flat rates and cringing. I forgot how expensive housing in Welly is, comparatively speaking to everything else like groceries and fabric. You can own a $1000 suit, but your flat is still drafty…

  12. Happy new year, Leimomi. I’ve just seen your post today. Thanks for the photos and your kind comments! It was such a fun day, I would do it again every week if I could afford it. As you said, it was so interesting to see everyone’s different tastes.

  13. […] bought the fabric (viscose knit?) at Arthur Toye’s, on the Great Wellington Craft Crawl. I intended to use this tutorial to make an easy-peasy T-shirt, but seriously, mine is even easier. […]

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