Up until a year or two ago, it was awfully hard to come by crafting supplies unless you were already in the business of supplying craft supplies or selling crafty products.
But recently all sorts of supplies that were once hard to come by - for example, jersey knits in textiles, or felt - have become very easy to find and at wonderfully cheap prices too.
So, in brief:
SEWING and TEXTILES
Mid-Valley and various stores in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR)
Great selection of Japanese and English cotton prints with varying qualities of "feel".
Some plain jerseys as well as poly knits with prints.
Cotton and cotton-feel jerseys are very rare and gone before you know it.
Limited but good selection of novelty or specialty textiles such as fake furs, sequins, paillettes, plush, chenille, pleather and more.
Linen and cotton weaves for pants and shirts are great too.
Great selection of curtain and sofa materials at affordable as well as high-end prices.
Look out for remnant sales. You can get lovely hardy home furnishing textiles for less than RM10 per metre.
Kamdar also has their home-brand uniforms, malay and indian cultural wear, saris and sarongs, head scarfs, underwear and henna dyes.
You can order a limited selection of their textiles online at http://www.kamdaronline.com/. It has reliable service and delivers anywhere in Malaysia.
Also know there is a store in One Borneo, Kota Kinabalu.
Various stores at Jalan TAR and Carrefour, Wangsa Maju, plus many more.
Fantastic range of low to mid-range manmade, printed textiles for the malay female dress market with some great and sometimes way-out-there designs. You can get enough material for a full baju kurung with less than RM30. Great for your unique homemade skirt or pants.
Also a limited higher end selection of printed silks and manmade fabrics.
Great range of longer-width fabrics in denims, velvets, checks, poly knits in plain and in prints, suit textiles with and without stretch in the weave, and printed felts for pyjamas and crafts.
They have low to high-end home furnishing materials including a selection of blackout textiles, and loads of lovely gossamer sheers for curtain dressing. They also have DIY kits for making your own roman blinds and curtain rods, curtain tie-backs and curtain hook-tape for making your own curtains with hook pins. There is also a large selection of plastic and sequined / pailletted ribbon for making your own tiebacks or accessorizing your curtains.
There are some pretty chinese brocades, themed cotton prints for crafting and plain cottons for uniform making. Nagoya also has ready-made malay and indian dress outfits, as well as ready made curtains and loads of lining options as well as single-colour, tiny brocaded acrylic and poly mixes for DIY malay baju making.
In the last year they have introduced an interesting line of rayon silk - type textiles with complex prints on brocaded cloth, some of which are priced very reasonably.
You can visit http://www.nagoyatextiles.com.my/eng/#/homegallery/, which currently only really has information on locations of their outlets.
SUNGEI WANG PLAZA
High end knitting yarn and supplies, also a knitting club-type place for knitters and hookers to come knit and hook. Organic cotton yarn as well as all sorts of novelty yarn. +603 2148 3298.
Sewing notions and haberdashery shop next to the BB PLaza annexe (near the metrojaya entrance on 2nd floor) +603 2148 5454.
This is a huge warehouse-style furniture shop in which there are some reasonable finds, but sometimes really pricey. It happens to have a home-decorating section with a large selection of ribbon, beads, paper and plastic flowers, baskets and other gift boxes / wrappers / hantaran (malay wedding traditional gift-making supplies) supplies. Excellent for those little itty-bitty things you need to make small gifts in bulk numbers.
The BUNGA REBEN Shop (The Flower Ribbon Shop)
This shop started out as a ribbon and malay wedding decoration and accessories shop and within the last couple of years seems to have opened its eyes to the world of crafting and BOOM! Hello felting supplies. Hello scrapbooking supplies. Hello supplies for whatever I saw on pinterest today. they have the buckles and nylon cord to make those parachute woven bracelets. They have the hardware to make keychain accessories. They have pre-cut felt flowers and leaves. They have feathers, walls of beads, zippers, elastics of all sixes, straps and webbing for bag handles, supplies for various fake flower making crafts, needles, haberdashery supplies and more. Also felts, netting and little packaging options.
All prices pretty good.
They have a facebook page and a website and they are updated with photos regularly when stock comes in. There are two shops within walking distance of each other in little india, one on Jalan TAR, just 20 metres from Semua House. The other in City Mall, 20 metres the other way from Semua House.
Sculptor? Need an airbrush? Blacksmith or into Quilling? Paints, clays, soldering, model-making, beading and jewellery findings. They have a website and facebook page. The shop is a little like a magical mystery tour, and the couple there let you rummage and poke around for the things you are looking for. They are also extremely helpful. Plan your journey because it is a little out of the way.
As of 2015 Multifilla has a branch in PJ and is known as CRAFTIVITI. Find them on Facebook and also go to their site here.
The Gardens. The Curve.
Upmarket and up-priced, but definitely in a league of its own. From branded art pens and paints to foam and clay crafts, from easels and oils and different canvases to party makeup kits, japanese paper and mounting boards, scrapbooking supplies, specialty glues and grommets and gold leaf. Mini screen printing kits and Rm30 rolls of cotton crochet yarn, cutting and metalworking tools, cross stitch needles and cloth, styrofoam shapes and moulded heads, hands and styro eggs, beading and jewellery findings... You can find much of anything you want here (but cheaper elsewhere if you are prepared to do the legwork.
Not the furniture dealer but the boutique craft shop in chinatown (111 Jalan Sultan, straight down from Nando's at the Kota Raya traffic junction). Sewing notions, beads and acrylic knitting yarn at about rm3 a skein.
Dexon Button Shop.
Deep in the touristy part of Petaling Street there is a button shop that is wall-to-wall in button supplies. Also sewing notions and ... wait for it... adjustable tailoring forms (dressmaker's mannequins) for less than rm1000 each. +603 2070 8603.
Zen Chu Bead Shop for wholesale beads.
142, Jalan Petaling (the other end, away from town centre) +603 2032 4822. They have silver, brass, copper, gold jewellery chains and findings, glass, plastic and swarowski beads. They have charms and their staff can be very very helpful. GO THERE.
KENANGA WHOLESALE CITY
This is where you go to buy "bundle" clothing. Basically they rounded up bundle clothes sellers and housed them in one building, doing everyone including the customer, a favour. With floors dedicated to clothes which get cheaper the bigger the amount you buy - hence "bundle" - you can get a great range of quality cotton jersey clothes, kids' novelty clothing and accessories. I assume all the brands are knockoffs, but the brand-inspired cheap versions are gorgeous, cheap and plentiful. Two floors are dedicated to crafting supplies, in particular beading, jewellery and accessory-making.
Check out their website.
On the 4th (3A) floor there is a little craft supplies shop "Ani Wasabi" that imports a fantastic range of ribbons, elastics and elastic laces, buttons, charms and felts. It has an online ordering system and they deliver with poslaju, which should be the next day's post in MAlaysia. Check out their site here.
Or, instead of going to any of the above for your jewellery-making supplies, just order online on the fabulously comprehensive, easy to use site, http://www.beading.my/. I have ordered twice from them and they are cheap and reliable. And what a range! They have a proper walk-in shop only open on weekends but they are shutting that down as their online business does better.
Scrapbook much? Kaison has a fantastic range of stickers, adhesive textile patches, cloth tape, lace tape and novelty tapes, adhesive figures and so on. They are cheap and have an inviting range of paper goods and stationery. Also great silk and plastic flowers and home soft decor and dining accessories. they have a store in the new KL Fesitval City Mall, and I know there is one somewhere in Kota Kinabalu too.
THE ART SHOP
Jalan Negara in Taman Melawati. Model making supplies. paints. stationery. Excellent.
Daiso in Malaysia is the equivalent of the Japanese 100 Yen shop, which translates to RM5 here. Every item is RM5. They have all sorts of items for the household, car and garden, as well as clothing, accessories, toiletries, stationery and of course, craft supplies. Great stuff if you're looking for ways to neatly organise your stuff using many, tiny little organising containers! If you're a knitter, you know the value of buying bamboo or plastic knitting needles in all sizes for RM5 a pair, when most knitting shops seem to think they have a premium on knitting or crochet needles. They have some knitting yarns and slubs, and it all seems to change seasonally or flows with changes in stock every now and then. They have button-covering sets, sets of sewing thread, accessory making kits, buttons, ribbon, trouser hemming tape, etc. Be careful though, there are some things that can definitely be found cheaper elsewhere. However, I have yet to come across trouser hemming tape in any haberdashery store, so for RM5 for some hemming tape 30cm long, I might shill. But for a set of buttons, I'll pass.
There are huge stores in One Utama (under Zara in the new wing), The Pavilion (Tokyo Street), Sungei Wang and The Curve. Sometimes stock runs out in one but is available in another, so be prepared to check all of them out if you are after something in particular. I know there is a store in One Borneo in KK too.
edited to include:
One Utama. Their site is http://www.craft-haven.com and their facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/crafthavenmalaysia.r
How could i have forgotten Mr D.I.Y which is a hardware store that also sells baking crafting and stationery supplies all very cheaply, and often has large items like pop-up marquee tents and party supplies and belly dancing hip scarves. Their stationery prices rival department store prices such as at Aeon too. The store at aeon AU2 is HUGE.
edited again (September 2014) to include:
Now opened in Ampang Point. Besides Soft Furnishings and Home Decor and Kitchen Ware, Spotlight has sewing machines, many kinds of dress forms, all sorts of INTERFACING, jersey knits, haberdashery including knitting needles, sewing machines supplies, zippers, ribbons, knitting wools and threads, also scrapbooking supplies, polymer clay making supplies, and a WHOLE lot more. Be aware that it can be SUPER PRICEY, but effectively it is a one-stop wonder if you are looking for hard-to-find or specialty equipment. The prices are actually relatively realistic, comparable to prices you would pay sourcing some items from overseas.
Johor Bahru - The Merlin Tower, opposit the JB KTM Railway station. You can see the station from the shop as it is outside the building facing the main street. I think the name is Yong Huat +605 621 4578. They have the cheap acrylic knitting yarn that Macy does (Minlon brand), and TONNES of retro buttons for cheap. They have all sorts of haberdashery and sewing notions including cording for knotting crafts and pins, scissors, zips, machine supplies and so forth.
Singapore - Spotlight. TUH DIE FOR. Plaza Singapura on Orchard Road. T-shirt yarn. Knitting and crochet needles and supplies. Crafting. Scrapbooking.
HAPPY HUNTING and CRAFTING and SEWING!