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Mythological beasts

2011 May 24
by elizabeth_admin

Folks, I have reached a new level in my sewing.  I never thought it would happen and surely not here in NYC.  Are you sitting down?

I can’t find fabric.  Specifically, I can’t find a particular fabric.  I have searched high and low, on-line and brick-and-mortar.  I have lost hours of my life in a fruitless search for a bright turquoise cottonbatiste or voile.  I want a bright, deep, blue turquoise.  Not a muddy greenish turquoise.  Not a namby-pamby soft, pastelly turquoise.  I’m talking peacock, in your face, jewel-toned blue turquoise.  Like this…

image from


I don’t want this…

image from


My recent purchase at Paron’s turned out to look more like the latter.  It looks… dirty, for lack of a better term.  And yes, I’ve pre-treated it.  It actually looked worse after going through the laundry.  This is what it looked like straight from the store…

Paron's turquoise voile


Seriously, how is it so hard to find the right color and fabric content?  Am I asking too much? 

Today, I traipsed over to the garment district in search of my elusive unicorn of a fabric.  To no avail, I might add.  I started to consider other colors, like fuchsia or a combination of fuchsia and orange (one of my all time fave combos), but I couldn’t find any lt-wt fabrics that would work.  I want to use this mythical fabric to underline the white eyelet fabric I bought from New Rainbow Fabrics in Chicago.  Remember?


I went into several stores today.  Metro Textiles, Chic Fabrics, AK Fabrics, and others whose names I don’t remember.   Finally at the last store, AK Fabrics, I found a red poly cotton that was the right weight to underline the eyelet.  It was a good red for me.  I would have preferred a batiste or a voile, but apparently they don’t exist in jewel tones.  My only worry for this fabric is that it will be too warm or won’t breathe in the humidity of summer.  What do you think?

red poly/cotton from AK Fabrics


I also bought a white Swiss dot cotton fabric from AK Fabrics.  I can never pass up a swiss dot.  I am helpless when confronted with them.


The good news, though, is that I found an amazing fabric at Metro Textiles.  While in Chicago, I had drooled over Jaeng’s ruffle knit maxi skirt (unfortunately, no picture of the skirt).  Granted she’s a slim, graceful looking woman and this skirt just floated on her.  On me, it might look like this…


For what it’s worth, here’s the beautiful fabric.  May it not be my folly!

black ruffle knit from Metro Textiles


Happy stashing everyone!

20 Responses leave one →
  1. annie permalink
    May 24, 2011

    Can I relate to your quest for turquoise. Don’t know why they can’t use clear dyes instead of all the “muddy” stuff. And I am plagued with a need for the perfect color. In the midst of a similar dilemma just now!

  2. Nancy permalink
    May 24, 2011

    Get thee to Dharma Trading and buy the fabric dye of your choosing!

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      May 24, 2011

      I can’t dye in my apt building’s laundry room; it’s not allowed. I don’t know how I would dye in my apt without making a permanent mess. So dyeing is just not an option for me I’m afraid.

      • Nancy permalink
        May 24, 2011

        It can be done on your stove top. I would send Jack over to your sister while you did it!

        • May 24, 2011

          Or you could dye in your bathtub…I live in an apt and I’ve dyed in the bathtub and on top of the stove. If you are careful, you won’t make a mess but then again my children were a lot older than Jack when I did this!

  3. Susie Riley permalink*
    May 24, 2011

    Your Betty Davis photo made me giggle to all ends! But I do like that fabric! Looking forward to hearing about – and certainly SEEING – your results. Good luck!!!

  4. May 24, 2011

    Oh how frustrating a search like that can be. I have been there, terrible! And the silly thing is that you probably will bump into it sometime when you finally put it out of your head 😉 Anyway, with your skills and taste I am sure you will be able to make other gorgeous things until you have found this particular fabric. And if I see some in this colour: I will let you know!

  5. May 24, 2011

    NOPE! I sure can’t believe that you’re not able to find exactly what you want in NYC. I know know why the phrase “I LOVE NY” was coined – it’s because its the fabric Meca. Must have been some sewists who coined the phrase. I am trying to figure out how I’m going to get there for my 3rd summer shopping trip in a row this year. Maybe I need to start soliciting funds – mmm not a bad idea. I do hope you find your fabric though.

  6. May 24, 2011

    I agree with you, cotton poly might stick on you. A nice turquoise cotton and silk batiste would be a dream… I love the ruffle knit you bought !!

  7. Treadle27 permalink
    May 24, 2011

    On my screen, the color you want is summer sky blue; maybe online would yield more results with that?

  8. jaeng permalink
    May 24, 2011

    Thanks! I love your fabric (my screen shown in green, not black and it does look like velvet). I only know that to make the maxi skirt works, the length has to cover the shoe.

  9. Kelli permalink
    May 24, 2011

    This isn’t batiste or lawn, but it is cotton and looks to be the right color:

    Do you think it would work for your purposes? I’m with the previous poster regarding poly – might be to clingy/HOT this summer. I’ll keep searching for other options when I get a chance.

    Good luck in your search for the perfect fabric – it can certainly be elusive!

  10. Meg permalink
    May 24, 2011

    Aw, sorry you didn’t find your holy grail. I ended up running to Mood and back in about 15 minutes. You should see the fabric I got there…may be too avant garde for me.

  11. May 24, 2011

    Check your email. I snapped a pic of Jaeng’s fabulous skirt in Chicago and it’s on its way to you.

  12. Marie-Christine permalink
    May 25, 2011

    Have you considered dyeing? When you’re looking for a specific color, it’s really the most straightforward method. Try asking fro advice, they can probably give you just the right formula, along with selling you suitable fabric and supplies.

  13. May 25, 2011

    As above, I reckon dyeing could be the answer this post by Kathleen on Grosgrain
    mentions a colour-guide for mixing RIT dyes
    The “recipes” for blending their different products can be done on a small scale (e.g. with tablespoons) and you could test on a small scrap of fabric to see how it comes out perhaps?

  14. May 25, 2011

    I also really like the color you’re searching for. I agree on the ruffle maxi – I don’t see myself in it either.

  15. May 25, 2011

    I wish you luck on your search for the perfect turquoise. I love the ruffle fabric that you selected for you a future project. Auria Nascimento at Christine Jonson published a tip that you might find helpful at:


  16. Terry permalink
    May 25, 2011

    I second (or third) the suggestion to dye fabric. I live in an apartment and have a front loading machine so not an option there, but I’ve successfully dyed fabric in a large bucket in my bathtub! Works as long as you don’t have more than a couple of yards and do have the patience to sit there and agitate by hand.

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