unusual places to find sewing supplies: art supply store

Let’s go on another field trip! Today we’re continuing our series of unusual places to find sewing supplies, with the hope that this gives you some alternative places to shop for sewing related items. We started the series with IKEA, and then we visited a hardware store. Today we’re headed to an art supply store where they offer a variety of materials that can be used in a sewing room. I was delightfully surprised at what I found.

Finding sewing supplies at an art supply store

Let’s begin with cutting tools. I found all different types of scissors, including pinking shears and thread snips.


Whenever you’re using a rotary cutter you’ll need a self-healing cutting mat.

self-healing cutting mat

You can find measuring tapes and all different types of rulers, in all different sizes, plastic, metal, wood, T-square, even flexible curves and French curves.

measuring tools

As far as fabrics, I found lots of canvas. They sold canvas by the yard. Remember canvas can be used for lining bags, totes, outdoor pillows or cushions.

canvas by the yard

They also carried pre-cut canvas, in cotton or linen.

pre-cut canvas

You can really add visual texture and interest to fabric with a fabric technique. For people who like to dabble in fabric techniques, an art supply store will tickle your fancy because they have so many supplies. First of all, they carry fabric items to decorate: silk scarves, canvas totes, and blank t-shirts.

They sell so many supplies for fabric techniques, where do I even begin? OK, let’s start with basic fabric dyes.

fabric dyes

You’ll find anything you’d need for silk painting.

silk painting supplies

They sell a nice variety of fabric and textile paints. Be sure to check out our Customizing Painted Knit Fabric post as well as our Kid Painted T-shirt for inspiration.

fabric paints

fabric paints

Marbling kits can be used to make something like this Marbled Yoke Hide-and-Seek Tunic.

Marbling kits

Create textiles as unique as a snowflake with tie-dye. You don’t have to use natural indigo when doing tie-dye. You can use Procion dyes, and they come in a rainbow of colors. See our Karamatsu Shibori Technique post, and more Shibori inspiration can be found here.

Procion dyes

Have fun with some fabric markers.

Fabric markers

Fabric markers

They carry everything you’d need for block printing. Create your own block printed fabric, like what was done for this Everyday Skirt.

Block printing supplies

Check out all of these screen printing supplies! This reminded me of this screen printed Roller Skate Dress.

Screen printing supplies

You’ll also find cutting knives and replacement blades, exactly what you need for cutting out images for freezer paper stencils. As well as foam brushes.

Art cutting knives

Foam brushes

Use digital image transfers to make some fun Playtime Leggings.

Iron-on transfer paper

Decorate your sewing creations with some fun iron-ons. That makes for a super quick and easy project.


You’ll need tape to tile together your PDF patterns.


Most types of spray adhesive can be used on fabric.

Spray adhesive

In case you need some fabric glue, they’ve got some of that, too.

Fabric glue

You can even find some hook and loop fasteners.

Hook and loop fasteners

For those interested in designing, you’ll find fashion design books, as well as fashion sketchpads.

fashion books

There were rolls of paper, you name it: tracing paper and rolls of paper that would be great for drafting patterns. Several different types and sizes are available.

rolls of paper

Large storage bins work well for storing your fabric stash. Smaller plastic storage boxes with compartments are perfect for storing bobbins and sewing odds and ends. Some of these art supply containers have compartments for storing markers, and that’s where you can store your fabric markers.

Plastic bin storage

Depending on the art supply store you might also be able to find:

Have you picked up anything to help with your sewing at an art supply store? If so, share what it was.




  1. Great post, Rachel! And now I’m jealous–there’s no such thing as browsing the art store here in Madrid. Everything is behind a counter and you need to ask for whatever you need. I miss the great selection. How inspiring! xo

    1. Liz

      Ha! It’s the same in Italy.

  2. Karla

    I got large sheets of carbon paper and a roll of craft paper at an art supply store. I use them, along with a tracing wheel and some pattern weights (or, more often, a half empty cup of coffee and whatever heavy things are nearby!) to trace off patterns. I prefer that to tracing paper – for me, it’s easier to make sure I got all of the pattern markings that way and I like that the traced off pattern is on thicker paper.

  3. Mary Inchauste

    Love this blog post! So often great tools are available in unsuspecting places. I’m an architect and use my drafting supplies all the time when sewing. Highly recommend the blue flexible curve by Staedtler and the French curves. T-square is great too.

  4. Reader

    Which store was this?

    I have bought sewing supplies from art supply stores, but don’t always have recommend it. The L square I bought from Blick because it was the only store open did not have the same markings as a real tailor’s square.

    1. It was Blick.

      1. Reader

        Thanks. I thought it might be. It’s a very nice chain.

  5. Sandy Horton

    Great read. I appreciated seeing photos of products being discussed.

  6. Thanks for this post! I love browsing the big art store in Singapore (ArtFriend, for anyone who might be visiting!) for sewing supplies. They have large rolls of tracing paper of various thicknesses, which are perfect for tracing patterns, as well as a good stock of Gütermann thread, embroidery floss and loads of beads. And plenty of supplies for screen-printing, fabric markers, and drafting supplies too.

  7. Eunita

    I learn something new by reading this! Now, I’m going to visit my art store. Thank you!!

  8. Liz

    You touch on this but notebooks, binders and plastic sleeves are great for planning and keeping a record of sewing projects. I keep a notebook for apparel sewing with notes on my measurements, size cut and any adjustments made for each pattern. I also have similar notes for my children’s clothes. I also like to have a binder with the patterns in sleeves for projects I am currently making. The binder helps me to focus on my plans and on mindful, intentional sewing.

  9. Reeni

    At the art supply store (Pearl, or Blick), i’ll grab erasers — the classic pink ones, or the wedge-shaped ones you put on the end of a pencil, by the handful. Large portfolio pockets are great for organizing patterns — especially tracings of different sizes where the small pieces (collars, facings) can get lost. Frisket film is great for making stencils. Habotai silk in different weights, and wood stretcher bars for custom-sized frames for art, embroidery or silk screening. Binder clips for holding patterns or fabric layers together; plastic and foam sheets for templates and hat brims.

  10. Fiona

    Thank you Rachel; great idea. Adelaide is a bit light on for Art Supply Stores but I’m going to check one out, soon.

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