Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My introduction to Batik

One of my goals this summer was to teach myself how to batik. So for the past 3 days I have set aside my quilting and have immersed myself in this new technique. Everything I learned about batiking came from looking at pictures and reading various instructions including: 

Dharma Trading: Batik Instructions 
Paula Burch's How to Batik

For those who don't know what batik is: Batik is originally from Indonesia and is a method of producing designs on fabric by dying them having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed. 

I'm hooked! This is such a fun technique. I have previous experience with dying fabric, so luckily that part was pretty easy. I did try to do some low water immersion dying (see blue skirt below). Unfortunately, I let the dye sit for too long, so it bled together more than I wanted. 

I dyed 4 shirts and 2 skirts. I originally was going to make a reversible wrap skirt, but after dying the skirts I decided to just make 2 different skirts. The skirt pattern came out of Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes 

Here are the two skirts that I'm going to sew this week: 

I also made a shirt for my fiancé. 

He is a rock climber so I thought a double figure eight knot would be fitting for him. As soon as he tried the shirt on he immediately asked me: "Can you make me some more of these?" I told him that I don't have a lot of dye. I directed him to the website where I buy the dye and he immediately picked out several colors that he wanted. I guess I have a bunch of shirts with knots, carabiners and quick draws in my future...

Important things I have learned about batiking: 

  • Buy a melting pot like the one here.  Using a double boiler sounds simple enough, but it's hard to get the wax to the right temperature and maintain it. I learned this the hard way. Besides, you would have to stand by the stove to apply all your wax.
  • When you first put your tjanting (pronounced chanting) in the wax, let it sit for a couple minutes so the wax heats up the tool. 
  • When boiling the wax out of the fabric, weigh your fabric down. I happen to have some large stones that worked great! 
  • Have some Goo Gone. It takes wax out of pots, spoons, etc! 

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