Our 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!
It’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.
Tips for Sewing with Batiks:
1. Microtex Sewing Machine Needle – either a 80/12 or 90/14 size of Microtex needles we get from 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.
Hopefully we’ve inspired you to sew with batiks if you’ve been apprehensive. You’ll be so happy you did!