Sewing with Batiks

CantikBatiks collageOur shop is brimming with bolts and bolts of Batik Handpaints and Cantik Batiks right now. We
have lots of bolts on both levels of the store as well as kits and precuts. We have so many that we often think we are going to have to hang them from the ceiling pretty soon!


42279F8_zIt’s easy to fall in love with the richness of the colours used in batiks. The colours range from tone on tone “Flavours” and “Watercolors” to multi-coloured Handpaints. We still have lots of bolts of regular printed cotton on bolts in the store as well. So many possibilities and yet there seems to be a myth out there in the quilt world. The myth is this (and I hear it almost every week) “You cannot mix batiks and printed cottons into one project!” What? Where has this come from? No one seems to know, but we want to bust that myth and suggest that YES, you can combine batiks (or not) with other printed cottons!

Some two hundred years ago when quilt making was in the early stages, ladies pieced and quilted with silks, wools and drapery fabrics. They used whatever they would get a hold of. In the last few decades we have seen batiks and printed cottons used and designed together by a few designers such as Editya Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts and Pat Sloan who designs for Moda Fabrics. We have sold several kits that have both types of fabrics in them. Batiks and quilting cottons marry together beautifully in a project, use them alone or in combination with traditional fabrics for a fantastic effect! An excellent example is the sampler quilt pictured below.

Beginner Sampler

Traditional cottons & batiks are beautifully combined in this sampler quilt


Tips for Sewing with Batiks:

1. Microtex Sewing Machine Needle – either a 80/12 or 90/14 size of Microtex needles we get 1730afrom Schmetz have a very slim acute point. Batiks have a dense thread count. This very thin acute point creates beautiful stitches for quilt piecing. A 50 weight thread is good for piecing batiks.

2. Right Side or Wrong Side? – Batiks are almost reversible! It’s hard to tell right side or wrong side? In the batik-making process, the wax that creates the design sinks into the fabric. As a result, both sides of the fabric show a clear image after dyeing, and it is often hard to tell a difference between the right and wrong side of the fabric. When both sides are virtually identical, take your pick; I choose the right side to be where the design is clearer with less fuzzy edges.

3. Densely Woven – Batiks don’t fray as much when handled and pieces cut on the bias hardly stretch at all. These fabrics have a smooth texture that makes them easier to press and they’ll give you sharp, crisp points. Batiks press like a dream. Pressing seams to one side or open with a batik fabric is a pleasure because they hold their shape where you set your iron.

4. Prewash? – You may want to prewash your batiks before cutting and quilting with them, it’s up to you. They will soften up with washing.

Bali 2

One of several Batik fabric shelves in the store

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to sew with batiks if you’ve been apprehensive. You’ll be so happy you did!

Thrifty Thursday….Snow Day Batiks Runner

Snow Day Runner

Today’s Thrifty Thursday item is our Snow Day Batiks Table Runner Kit.  This runner is stitched using Snow Day Batiks charm packs by Moda.

This table runner measures 54″ x 17 1/2″ and includes includes fabric for the top, back and binding plus the pattern. Our regular price is $39.98. Today’s Thrifty Thursday price is only $29.98. Click Snow Day to order yours today!

Adding Machine Paper Foundation Piecing

Denise, who works here at the store preparing quilt kits, came across this idea and she just HAD to try it. Starting with a paper strip from an adding machine tape (either thermal or regular paper, it really doesn’t matter) she scooped up her “crumbs” of “Town Square” fabrics from Moda and sewed them onto the adding machine paper. So what exactly are “crumbs”?  Well, “crumbs” are any little bits and pieces of your favourite fabrics that you just can’t bear to toss out. This is upcycling at its best!


Here’s the steps to achieving this method of foundation piecing:

crumbs 21.  Gather up “crumbs” that you want to use. Use anything and everything for a real scrappy look, or    select matching bits that coordinate (eg. use bits from one particular line of fabrics like Denise did). Her crumbs varied from 1 – 2″ wide approximately; however go wider or narrower if you dare.

2. Roll out your adding machine tape. You will work from left to right on your length of paper. Set your stitch length to 2 or shorter so that later the paper will be easy to perforate and remove.

3. Place two pieces of fabric, right sides together, on the left end of the paper tape. Keep in mind that your fabrics need to be slightly longer than the width of the paper. These two pieces don’t have to be the same width and can be placed at an angle on the paper just as long as they hang over the width of the paper.


4. Sew 1/4″ seam allowance with your fabrics as you stitch through both of your fabrics and the paper as they lay on top of the adding machine paper.

5. Open fabrics after stitching through the paper and press the seam allowance to one side. Place your next strip on top of the raw edge on your right. It’s ok the finger press your pieces open and press with an iron at the end of your session.

6. Pieces can vary in width and can be sewn on at any angle as long as they extend the edge of paper. Continue sewing crumb pieces onto the paper repeating Step 3 ,4 & 5 above until you reach a length you want to have. Suggestion:  45″ length of tape sewn in this matter will equal a jelly roll strip and can be used in many different projects as desired.


7.  Press your fabrics now that they are all sewn onto the strip and trim up your strip to the width of the adding machine paper. In other words, trim off all the hanging over bits that extend beyond the paper. At this point you can tear out the paper from the adding machine tape.

8. Design your project as desired using any length of adding machine tape you wish!. Here are a few pictures to inspire you.

crumbs 4                     crumb strip

crumbs 3



Thrifty Thursday….Elisa’s Backporch Rainbow Block Templates

8inch Rainbow Block Templates

Today’s Thrifty Thursday item is Elisa’s Backporch 8″ Rainbow Block Templates. This a four piece thick acrylic template set with built in seam allowances. The set gives you many creative options to mix & match 8″ finished blocks. The Tropical Quilt Pattern is included.  Our regular price is $32.39. Today’s Thrifty Thursday price is only $16.20. Click HERE to order yours today!