Batik is a beautiful and unique fabric. It’s easy to sew batik and make yourself anything from costumes to wall hangings to fancy evening wear. The vibrant colors and artistic designs of batik fabrics will likely inspire you to try designing your own patterns.
If you’d like to learn more about sewing with batik, here are some suggestions to make your project successful.
Batik is a particular style and technique used to decorate cloth. Indonesia, India and other areas of central Asia have been using batik techniques for centuries. Batik uses wax to control the absorption of colors into the fabric, blocking off areas that won’t be stained.
Dense fabrics such as silk and cotton are typically used, both of which are treated first to ensure a flexible and supple surface.
The Japanese invented a wax pen that is effective at making detailed and intricate patterns. The fabric is dipped into various dyes, and then waxed again to develop and bring out the desired depth of color and effect.
Before you start to sew batik, you’ll want to first prepare it properly. Always prewash batik in hot water. Be sure to wash it separately from any other clothes to avoid colors running.
To fix the color into the batik, you should add a product such a Retayne to the wash cycle. This helps set the colors and removes excess dye from the fabric.
Hang it out to air-dry or use the lowest setting on your clothes dryer. If you choose to hang dry, be sure the batik is not in direct sunlight, which will cause fading.
Use care when ironing and don’t let the iron
directly contact the fabric as heat can cause damage.
It is always a bit scary making that first cut into your lovely batik fabric. Lay the pattern carefully and read all directions before you start.
Use a large, flat surface so you have plenty of room to work and the fabric doesn’t fold or roll. I find that silk pins are the best way to secure the pattern.
Consider the design of the batik print when laying the pattern to
maximize the fabric style. Once you’re confident that everything is laid
out properly, select your sharpest and best fabric scissors and begin
Put some thought into needle and thread selection used to sew batik. Always use a new machine needle with a sharp point. Needles designed to sew denim are good, or look for a needle with a sharp, fine point.
A sharp needle reduces the likelihood of damaging the batik, as this fabric has a dense thread count. A medium or lightweight thread made of polyester, silk or cotton is a good choice. These threads let the fabric drape properly and reduce bulk at the hems or seams.
When looking for ideas for your next sewing project, think of batik. Batik can be purchased at both
online fabric stores
and local fabric shops. It’s fun and easy to sew batik fabrics into
creative and colorful clothes, quilts and other decorative items.