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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Portland’s Finest Crafting/ Hobby Shops

(My list so far ;)

This morning after having returned from one of my most favorite shops I was inspired to take a moment and give a shout out to some of the really awesome stores I rely on to make my crafting magic happen on a daily basis. These shops are in the crafting / hobby department, and local to the Portland Oregon area. Having moved here from the East coast about 5 years ago, I am the first to admit that my at home crafting habits do keep me out of the Portland crafting scene, but it’s time to switch things up and get shopping for some new supplies and see what’s out there! I have just recently begun to explore the crafters paradise that is Portland Or. Very fun, I’ve clearly moved to the right place ;)

And so, with that in mind, here are some of Portland’s finest crafting/ hobby shops I have found so far, any why I love them so very much! If you have some places to add please don’t hesitate to say hi and let me know a place you might really love. And please also know this is most certainly going to be an ongoing list. Like I said, I’ve only just gotten started, so definitely be patient as I check out the scene. Now go grab your purse because we’re going shopping!

#1) Willamette Print & Blueprint: Since the word on the street is that the 12th st Willamette Print and Blueprint location might be closing by early summer (I say “might” because they’re not closed yet so there’s still hope!), I am going to start with this place. Though this might not at first seem like a place I would visit often, I have found this print shop to be an excellent resource for printing copies of patterns. I have both vintage patterns and my own pattern designs printed here and they do a really great job. In the past we became accustomed to the blueprints with the blue background and the white print such as in this photo.

Today the printing process is rather different and blueprints are made with black ink on a white paper (they offer other paper options as well) as you see here with the rolled pattern print in the background of the image.

Here is their website: http://www.wpbinc.com/ I have gone to both locations and talk about fantastic! It’s not fair to keep the secret so I will share-go here for your large scale printing needs because these guys are awesome. I have all of my sewing patterns printed here. My boyfriend has computer plans printed, and more of our hobby project plans will be sent over soon I’m sure (3-D printer here we come!). It’s not just a little thing here or there that’s great about this place either. This place is all around a solid shop, and I have been to both locations, and both seem to be equally nice. I have worked in the printing industry before, so I can honestly say that from a printing perspective, they have some super pretty machinery over there. You’re dealing with top quality printers and really friendly, informed staff. You don’t feel like you’ve interrupted someone’s magazine read to print up ‘your stupid thingie.’

Did I mention their prices are the very best? No, I didn’t? Well let me not forget that little detail. Just for comparison, another small, local print shop not more than a few blocks away, charges over $3.30 per sq. ft. Office Depot charges $2/ sq. ft. This gem of a print shop charges 18 cents a sq. ft! Once you run those numbers you know what I’m talking about! So all in all, if I were to grade them on a scale of 1-10, they definitely get an 11. And yes, I can do that, it’s my blog!

Final Review: Awesome little print shop-go here for prints! You will love the results!

#2) Mill End Store: Next, I would love to share my major like-affair with Mill End Fabrics. Here is their website: http://millendstore.com/ This place is the best! I think a lot of natives know about this place and it is well loved. The moment you walk in you can see why-hello fabric happiness! I have lived all over the country and seen my share of fabric stores. One of my favorite places of course was the garment district in NYC. Love is in the air..its like you can smell the fashions before they are even made. Ahh happiness. So anyway, when I fall in major-like with a fabric shop, you know it’s a keeper! And this place is so very lovely.

Both locations are just fantastic in the selection they offer. They don’t joke around when they say they have the world’s largest selection of fabrics. They have a helpful, friendly staff. When I ask a question, they are happy to answer. They will order fabric and ship it between locations for you, the staff is as friendly in the shops as they are on the phone, and the materials are simply top of the line. I’m talking absolute, without a doubt, top of the line materials.

This place has never failed to impress me. I pop into the Beaverton location on a regular basis and they almost always have what I am looking for. The Milwaukie location is larger and the selection is greater but both shops offer a really nice assortment. They do not have a website where you can see the merchandise online, simply contact and location info, but that doesn’t really matter to me when it comes to this shop. It just forces me to go in and see how fabulous their items are in person.

These shops also take competitors coupons and honor then up to 25%, a nice little treat for someone who sews a lot, and I believe they also offer 10% off if you show that you own a business. My rating for Mill End, both locations equally of course, would again be an 11. I think it’s fair to stick to something close to the 1-10 scale, but again, it’s my blog post so I can do what I want ;) 

*photos show fabrics from Mill End

Final Review: Hands down, the best fabric shop in town!

#3 Fabric Depot: Fabric Depot is another really nice shop, and they are located in SE Portland. Here is their website: http://www.fabricdepot.com/ My general opinion is usually if I don’t find what I’m looking for at Mill End, then I go to Fabric Depot. Fabric Depot is a really big shop and like Mill End, they have a large selection of fabrics. Their site says they are locally owned, they offer the largest, most complete fabric store in the country, and over 20k fabrics to choose from. Not bad! When you arrive you might feel lost in the vastness of the shop, but the fabrics and staff will make you feel right at home. They also have a very large selection of Amy Butler, Michael Miller, and other well known fabric names and I have found a number of really popular prints for fabulous prices. They have a really impressive selection of delicate shabby chic fabrics as well, a collection I have a difficult time finding for customers elsewhere. If I am looking for a specific print for a customer, I also have great success finding it here.

They only have one location, but they do have a website with some merchandise. A lot of people must shop on their website because fabric will be listed and then gone a day or two after so grab it if you like it! I also like this shop because they are local to me, and I can send this website to my customers to pick out their favorite fabrics. Not only do they have a website where you can order merchandise, but they also allow you to place your online order and then pick it up in the store. This is really awesome because this shop is a bit of a drive for me, and not one I go to regularly. Before I head over there I love to look on the website a day or two before my trip, make my online purchases and pick those up while shopping in the store itself. They usually say to give them a days notice with online orders so plan ahead and place your order online a day or two ahead of when you are planning your in-store trip to avoid any delays when picking up all of your new fabrics.  A few times a year they also have a large flat fold section of fabrics and I usually find a nice variety of fabrics for a really decent price. Don’t forget your coupons to this shop as every little bit helps when it comes to the crafting expenses. This shop definitely gets an 11!

*photos show fabrics from Fabric Depot

Final Review: fabulous, BIG fabric and craft shop with just about everything you would ever need for projects. Nice staff and I am always pleased with their prices. This is my other favorite fabric shop besides Mill End!

#4) Pendleton Woolen Mill Store: I really like this shop, and though I haven’t visited in quite some time, the last time I was there they were split into two shops, one with their higher end fabrics (and they are absolutely stunning might I add), and their less expensive shop in back where I pick up fun salvage supplies. Here is their website: http://thewoolenmillstore.blogspot.com/ This is also the link to their salvage info: http://thewoolenmillstore.blogspot.com/p/scraps.html I usually hit up the less expensive sections myself because I can find strips of really nice wool pieces for a really great price, extra weaving supplies, really nicely priced fabric by the yard, and really nice notions such as buttons, etc.

When I look at the prices of their woven fabrics in the links provided by their site I’m not really all that surprised. I know that $65-$75 seems like a lot for fabric, and they’re not all priced that high, but it’s also important to recognize that this is not just any fabric shop either. This is top of the line woven wool in some of the most dynamic, traditional prints and I don’t know if you have to be a weaver to really appreciate the workmanship here, but this place definitely gets an 11 on my scale in that their work is really impressive.

I truly appreciate the styles and dynamic workmanship that goes into making these lush fabrics and anytime I have a customer mention a Southwestern style I head to this shop for the project. Even if the customer has a rather tight budget and $65+/ yard fabric is not in their budget, I would still visit to pick up some salvage to work into the design, as well as some of the truly unique notions such as a variety of silver buttons, etc. that I can use with less expensive fabrics so I can replicate the rich look these woven designs offer. All in all, I was impressed by their prices, the diversity in what they offer, the level of workmanship, and it is always a nice trip when I stop in to see what they have. As they are located across and down the street from the Milwaukee Mill End location, I like to stop in when I am making my Mill End trip. Both the front shop and the discount shop in back offer plenty of inspiration for new projects. This place gets an 11 for sure!

Final Review: Another great Portland shop! Great finds and really decent prices for the quality you receive when purchasing their merchandise.

#5 The Knittn’ Kitten: And last but certainly not least, I will end my list of my favorite local crafting/ hobby shops list today with this adorable little shop (don’t worry, I will add more as the crafting shopping continues). In comparison with the larger shops, this place is just the tiniest, but a trip has always proven to be a fun and worthwhile trip. Here is their shop website: http://www.knittnkitten.com/ I see this shop mostly as the Grandma’s closet of crafting shops. Just like my Grandma always seemed to have a spare set of crochet needles or a bucket of yarn, scrap fabrics that would make the most perfect new project or something of that nature (anything to keep all of us girls busy with crafting projects!), so too does The Knittn’ Kitten have a vast array of fun crafting notions. Because everything is said to be an extra from some other project at some time in the past, the prices are great and you can afford to pick up that knitting project and see how you like it without dropping a vast amount of money at a commercial crafting store.

Many of my projects have been made with their materials, whether yarn used in weaving projects, bias tape used for dress designs, and even their super priced vintage fabrics that I have mixed in many times over to make items such as ereader pouches and other such accessories. Hmm…I was just going to refresh my memory on how to crochet again (sorry Grandma) so I can make this adorable little Viking hat! Woot-Maybe it’s time for a trip to The Knittn’ Kitten! So, to end my current top craft & hobby shops in the Portland Or. area, this place also gets an 11!

Final Review: great prices, unique little shop with informative and friendly staff. Definitely head here for fun finds and don’t forget to chat with the ladies about the local Portland crafters circuit-they are always so friendly and knowledgeable. You never know what you’ll need for that new project and this little shop is a great place to start for sure! 

*Photos of some materials found at The Knittn' Kitten
Alright ladies and gentleman, I’m off to work on some projects. I can’t just write my blog all day..sheesh! Besides, I am working on a new Euro Blouse (yes, that's it's name until I come up with something better)...hopefully just the prettiest little top but since the fabric is sheer I’m planning on making a solid black corset to go underneath. Let’s not scare the locals with indecency ehh? I do think the corset pattern (see my old blog post titled A Corset of Course: or a Flair for the Dramatic-see my 2010 blog posts...there were only 2 so it shouldn't be too hard to find ;) will work fine for under the blouse though, I just have to extend the length slightly and drop the bottom poplum skirt. It turns out that the corset is a really nice pattern though and I should have myself a solid new corset style to offer on Sophia soon, along with the blouse itself. And with that hopefully a better name than Euro Blouse...

See you soon and have a great day! Go support a favorite local shop of your own and get crafting ;)


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