Melbourne is a city of C-words: coffee, creativity and craft. Here's our pick of places that celebrate all three, from cute craft shops to brilliant book shops to innovative craft cafes where you can get creative while getting your caffeine fix.
If you're a material girl, head to Tessuti. It stocks imported luxury fabric, from Japanese cotton to Italian silk, and is heaven for home seamstresses wanting to work with designer textiles. Names, dahling, names – choose from Missoni, Chanel and Liberty of London fabrics, and make a name for yourself in your own exclusive one-off creation.
Tessuti Fabrics | Upper Ground Floor, 141 Flinders Lane in Melbourne
03 9654 4566 | Open Monday–Friday 10am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–5pm
Warning: if you are trying to give up hoarding fabric, do not visit Amitié. Stay. Away. What's that? You'll only buy one more metre, and then you're giving up for good? Yeah, that's what all the fabric hoarders say – usually while shopping at Amitié. The irresistible range includes super-cute Japanese prints and Liberty of London designs that are great for making patchwork quilts and retro-style dresses, or just adding to your ever-growing fabric stash.
Amitié Textiles | 103A Gardenvale Road in Gardenvale
03 9596 7229 | Open Monday–Friday 9.30am–5pm, Saturday 9.30am–4pm
GJs Discount Fabric
Stand outside this shop with a tram rattling along behind you, and you can still hear customers oohing and aahing over all the fabric. Fat quarters and cute printed cotton perfect for patchworking dominate the ground floor, while upstairs there's a great range of dance fabrics (yep, this means spandex galore). A huge studio space is used for sewing classes – including Nicole Mallalieu's popular classes in making clothes and bags – and can also be hired out for stitch 'n' bitch sessions.
GJs Discount Fabric | 443 Lygon Street in Brunswick
03 9380 2989 | Open Monday–Friday 9am–5pm, Saturday 9am–4pm
Darn Cheap Fabrics
Bolt after bolt of discount fabric, quilting cotton for a mere $7.50 a metre and bargain-basement staples such as lining and calico – do you need another reason to visit Darn Cheap? How about the massive range of beaded, feathered, sequinned and woven trims, one of the best in town? Or the funky range of accessories, from oversized buttons to kilt pins and belt buckles? Or the fact that, during sale time (which is often), fabric starts at $2 a metre? Go on, bolt in for a bargain.
Darn Cheap Fabrics | 1188 Glen Huntly Road in Glenhuntly
03 9563 6833 | Open Monday–Friday 9am–5.30pm, Saturday 9am–5pm
Image Credit: Sandra Boyle quilt - Amitié Textiles Facebook
Knitting & Crochet
There's a warm, fuzzy feeling to this shop, and it's not just because of the thousands of balls of wool that fill the shelves. Welcoming, informative staff and a friendly vibe make Wondoflex a great place to hang out and have a yarn with other knitters, and a must-visit on Melbourne's craft shop scene. Beautiful sample projects are displayed throughout the shop; they're made from Wondoflex's huge range, which includes possum wool, kid mohair and Corriedale fleece. Drop-in classes are held during the day, and night-time classes are also available (bookings required) to get you hooked on crochet or become a real purl of a knitter.
Wondoflex | 1353 Malvern Road in Malvern
03 9822 6231 | Open Monday–Friday 9am–5.30pm, Saturday 9am–12.30pm
This streamlined, modern shop specialises in upmarket, luxurious yarns – including machine-washable varieties – and also offers classes and a free knitting club. Patterns for everything from tea cosies to boleros are free if you buy enough wool to complete the project. Now that's a top deal, baa none.
Wool Baa | 124 Bridport Street in Albert Park
03 9690 6633 | Open Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday noon–4pm
Beads & Buttons
Maria's Beads and Trims
Imagine all the wisdom of the beading ages condensed into one legendary shop, and you have Maria's. Formerly called Maria George (one of Melbourne's oldest bead shops), this place takes its beads seriously, and its devoted customers do, too. Maria's is usually as packed with shoppers as it is with sequins, high-quality findings and beads – from teeny-tiny seed beads to chunky wooden ones. And that's because it offers things that are hard to find elsewhere, such as beaded motifs for wedding dresses, glue-in rhinestones (great for repairing broken vintage costume jewellery), and age-old advice on absolutely everything to do with beading.
Maria's Beads and Trims | Level 1, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street in Melbourne
03 9650 1151 | Open Monday–Friday 9.30am–5pm, Saturday 9.30–2pm
Wholesale! Beads! That's every beader's favourite two words rolled into one bead-alicious shop. This enticing shop (formerly called Beads & Buttons Galore) is open to the public, and beads are sold by the strand, which helps keep prices low. There are further discounts for trade shoppers. Beads made from glass, Swarovski crystal and semi-precious gems line the walls – shopping here is like being a kid in a candy store. Can't wait to get started? You can make your own beaded jewellery in-store using the equipment provided (a $5 fee applies). Classes for kids and adults are also available.
Wholesale Beads | 187 High Street in Prahran
03 9510 5477 | Open Monday–Saturday 10am–6pm, Sunday noon–5pm
The Brighton Button Shop
It's hard to stay buttoned up about this gem of a shop, where button collectors can get their fix and those who've popped a button can get their shirts fixed. The shop sells buttons of all shapes and sizes, and specialises in helping customers find just the right ones to suit new and vintage garments. They'll even sew the buttons on for you if you don't know how. With a millinery service, a good haberdashery section and a carefully selected range of wool too, this is the kind of place that really pushes a crafter's button.
The Brighton Button Shop | 405 Bay Street in Brighton
03 9596 2308 | Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am–5pm, Wednesday and Sunday 10am–2pm
Scrapbooking & Papercraft
If you think cutting out bits of paper and gluing them to other bits of paper is an activity done only by kindergarten kids, you've never met a scrapbooker. Devotees swear this craft is more addictive than crack cocaine, quite possibly because of the high-quality product being pushed by Scrappy Hollow. Plain and patterned paper, all manner of embellishments, stamps, paper flowers, everything you need for DIY invitations – you name it, they deal in it. If you're not sure how to get addicted, enrol in a class – scrapbooking, card-making and kids' classes are all offered.
Scrappy Hollow | Shop 1–3, 1–7 Maroondah Highway in Croydon
03 9879 6220 | Open Monday–Wednesday and Friday 9am–5pm, Thursday 9am–9pm, Saturday 9.30am–4pm, Sunday 10am–3pm
Can Do Books
So you've scoped Melbourne's best craft shops and stocked up on supplies, you're feeling inspired, now all you need is a bit of help getting started. Head straight to Can Do, a much-loved bookstore specialising in books on pretty much any crafty pursuit you can think of. Need a book on how to make soft toys? Interested in woodwork? Want to browse through Melbourne's best range of books about knitting, dressmaking, quilting and jewellery-making? You can do at Can Do.
You can even do classes here – subjects vary from crochet to beading. This gorgeous, well-stocked store is an absolute delight – we'll go as far as to say visiting Can Do is a must-do for any crafter. Go.
Can Do Books | 608 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East
03 9813 5222 | Open Monday–Friday 9am–5pm, Saturday 10am–2pm
Unwind Craft Café. Image Credit: Facebook
Unwind Craft Café
Crafting is better with coffee and cake, right? Right. And better still with a bunch of like-minded friends. Round em up and head to Unwind, a craft cafe that also sells Bendigo Wool Mills wool, knitting needles and craft books, and encourages patrons to get their craft on while getting a caffeine hit. Fuel your creativity with Devonshire tea or fluffy poffertjes; it's the best way to finish a UFO (Un Finished Object) that you've brought along from home. Or buy some supplies and start a new craft project while you're there.
Unwind also stocks handmade items by Melbourne designers – including upcycled vintage clothing by Precious Little Sakura and homewares by Gingham Giggles – so even if you're not the creative type, you can still leave with something handmade.
Unwind Craft Café | 48 Wingara Avenue in Keilor East
03 9336 0687 | Open Tuesday–Friday 9am–4.30pm, Saturday 10am–3pm
Wanna get creative but don't have room at home? Wanna let the kids get creative but don't wanna clean up the mess? Wanna find out what happens when you combine Vietnamese and Mexican cuisines? Then go straight to Crafternoon, Melbourne's coolest craft cafe bar none.
Here, the menu includes paint, playdough and collage materials, so you can unleash your inner child (or your actual child) and go nuts making stuff. If you think you've made something that looks good enough to eat, either all that Clag glue's gone to your head or you haven't ordered from the food menu, which runs from brunch and lunch (featuring all the usual suspects such as eggs, French toast and delectable burgers) to dinner, which includes the aforemetioned Viet-Mex mix, such as rice paper rolls with refried beans and tacos with rice noodles. Now if that's not creative, we don't know what is.
Crafternoon | 531 Nicholson Street in Carlton North
03 9077 6998 | Open Monday–Tuesday 7am-5pm, Wednesday–Thursday 7am–10pm, Friday 7am–11pm, Saturday 8am–11pm, Sunday 8.30am–10pm
Main Image Credit: Etsy