Using Batik Fabric

Using Batik Fabric

Visit any quality quilt or fabric shop and you are bound to come across the batik section. For people who don’t know, batik is a process of dyeing fabric using a wax resist method. Batiks have been around for a long time. While there is evidence that batiks date back to Egyptian times, the island of Java in Indonesia is best known for it. Today, batiks are made by many fabric manufacturers and are popular in the quilting world.

Here are some thoughts if you plan on using batik fabric:

1. Batik fabrics have more threads per inch in each direction than other fabrics commonly used for quilting, which means they have a tighter weave. Therefore, when sewing with batik fabrics, it is important to use a sharper and finer needle to make sure the needle glides through the fabric without punching holes.

2. You can also choose a finer thread such as a 50 or 60 weight if you find your stitches are showing too much.

3. In the batik-making process, the wax that creates the design sinks into the fabric - so you may find that both sides look pretty similar. Every batik fabric is different, but there is no specific side which is the ‘right’ side to use in your project. If you look closely at the material, you may find one side has less blurring around the edge of the design, which is often the side that most people use - but it’s entirely up to you, just pick the side which you think is the nicest!

4. Since batik fabrics are both wet and dried in the printing process, shrinkage has already occurred before you buy the fabric.

5. Because batiks have a tighter thread weave, they fray less and are a great choice for applique.

6. Consider the design of the batik print when laying the pattern to maximize the fabric style. Cutting in different spots in the same piece of fabric can get very different looks!

Some involved in patchwork and quilting are not sure how to use batiks. The question that causes the most hesitation is whether batik fabrics should only be used with other batiks or can they be combined with other quilting cottons? The answer is yes!  Are you ready for the challenge?

Batik Australia is the preferred supplier of batik fabrics to Ripley Sewing Centre.