Find Variety at Dressew
Dressew is an institution in the Vancouver Do-It-Yourself community. The two-floor fabric store is packed to the rafters with a huge selection of fabric, notions, craft supplies, costume pieces, yarn, sewing tools and more. Upstairs their fabric offerings cover the gamut from satin to upholstery to fun fur to lame to printed cotton to felt. You name it, they’ve got it. Quality varies hugely, too. There are high quality designer textiles for making things like gorgeous formal gowns. They also have cheap and cheerful fabrics perfect for Hallowe’en costumes or stocking your kids’ dress-up bin. Downstairs there’s a discount fabric section with prices no higher than $4 per metre; some of it doesn’t seem worth even that price, but there are occasionally gems if you hunt carefully.
When I go in to Dressew, I inevitably start imagining extravagant outfits and costumes that I could put together. The brilliantly coloured feather boas, sparkling tiaras, masks, hats, wigs and opera gloves inspire me. Dressew is a mecca for Hallowe’en costume creation. The Vancouver fabric store stocks all kinds of creepy accessories like plastic severed limbs, fake knives and latex scar makeup kits. A suggestion for Hallowe’en shopping at Dressew: go early! The secret’s out on this fabric store, so it gets incredibly busy later in October.
More Than Just a Fabric Store
Dressew isn’t just about putting together costumes or sewing clothes, however. The Vancouver fabric store carries dozens of different kinds of yarn, needles, hooks and patterns for crocheters and knitters. If you’re into bedazzling your wardrobe, you can find beads, studs, rhinestones and all manner of appliques downstairs. You can get everything you need to make or repair your lingerie, from boning to bra hooks. Scrapbookers should also head downstairs, as Dressew has added a whole wall of stickers and doodads perfect for embellishing your work.
A few caveats to note before you go: Dressew carries a limited selection of sewing patterns – Burda only. They close promptly at 5:15pm every day and they do not accept credit cards — cash or debit only. The customer service at Dressew varies as much as their fabric selection, from grumpy to cheerfully helpful. If you can go on a weekday morning when it’s usually less busy, staff are likely to have time to help you out.
337 West Hastings Street
Lisa Corriveau is our East Side Contributor. When not writing, she can often be found at the park chasing her little boy, sewing clothing, cycling, reading just about anything, performing on stilts, eating chocolate or drinking craft beer. (Sometimes several of the above simultaneously.) Lisa lives car-free in East Van, with toddler, husband and a few bikes. You can also find her on her blog, The Sprog.