Those of us who share the same appreciation and understanding for batik will know that it is one of the most versatile pieces of fabric. Beautifully design batik fabrics can be used for a variety application; it just depends on the creativity of its owner, they can be a fashion accessory, for example, a scarf or they can be soft furnishings for the home or even a form of handicrafts which highlights the best of South East Asia talents in this fine fabric art.
Batik fabrics are both an art and a craft for centuries in South East Asia. They are highly prized in the ancient world due to their intricate designs and mesmerizing craftsmanship. In ancient times, their usages are only reserved for royalty and the nobility on certain occasions. Batik painting is an ancient tradition that is still being practice until today in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is also a known fact that the finest batik fabrics are still made there.
The making of batik is a tedious process. The process starts with the drawing of designs on a plain piece of cloth. The designs on the cloth usually reflect the local culture and their beliefs. Selected areas of the designs are covered with hot wax using a special apparatus called a “canting” (a tool that consists of a wooden handle with a small metal cup with a tiny spout.), then it is followed by dyeing the cloth in natural dyes. The previous two steps are repeated with different selected areas and colors to create a more elaborate and captivating designs. After the final dyeing procedure, the wax on the fabric is removed using solvents. Finally, the batik fabric is dried and ready to be displayed.
Traditional batik fabrics are usually decorated with animals, mystic creatures, and flowering plants motifs, and most of the time, they come in blue, brown, and light yellow colors. The reason behind this is that these colors represent long life in ancient cultures.
In recent times, the transition from traditional to contemporary batik designs have become more and more obvious with the ever-increasing emergence of batik fabrics that are usually decorated with abstract designs or tribal motifs. This transition has proved that batik art, which is an ancient craft, continues to meet the needs of creative artists, designers, and craftspeople of this millennium.
About Batik Fabrics – Batik Process and Care
The batik fabric is truly a work of art. Each piece has been hand-dyed and hand-stamped in Bali, using both ancient and modern techniques combined with quality dyes to produce the unique fabric you will choose. This is work from a small ethical, and environmentally responsible batik factory in Bali. In a world of mass-produced fabric and clothing, you will have a fabric with the “personal touch,” as well as a piece of clothing made just for you!
Batik fabric quality has dramatically improved, and it has become a fashion favorite. It used to be all rayon had to be drycleaned to prevent shrinking or pulling out of shape. Not these rayons! This rayon is completely washable and easy to care for. And the dyes are color-fast. Rayon drapes beautifully, skimming over “figure challenges,” making it a flattering choice for everyday fashions for work, leisure, and special occasions. A “natural” fabric made of wood fiber and cotton linters, rayon breathes and is the most comfortable fabric to wear in the heat. But don’t think of it simply as a summertime favorite, rayon is suited to year-round wardrobe planning.
We suggest a gentle machine or hand wash in cool water, then hanging to dry. Once dry, tossing the garment in a warm dryer softens the fibers.
Care of the fabric: Pre-washing is important for a few reasons: in Bali, the fabric has been put through several dyes and stamping processes to make up the finished design. After each dyeing, the fabric has been hung on tiny nails or staked to the ground to dry in the sun. This distorts the selvedge resulting in the peaks and tiny holes you may see. Washing the fabric helps bring it back to its original shape. While rare, there may be slight traces of wax residue or mud on your fabric; this will wash out. While shrinkage is minimal (approximately 4-5″ per yard or meter), we recommend pre-washing.
For washing fabric, we suggest a gentle machine wash in warm water, followed by machine drying in a warm dryer. For washing garments, we recommend a gentle machine or hand wash, then hanging to dry. Once dry, tossing the garment in a warm dryer softens the fibers before ironing. Prevent shine on dark or solid fabrics by ironing from the wrong side or with a press cloth or a Teflon “iron shoe.” The iron should be set on “wool” with some steam for the best results.
Right side/wrong side of the fabric and cutting tips: The right side of the fabric will have the clearest designs and most distinct color. To prevent rayon from slipping when cutting, we recommend frequent pinning and ensuring the grain-line is straight. Serrated blade scissors or rotary cutters work well.
Patterns… These simple, comfortable garments are also a great quick project for experienced sewers and offer the perfect palette for embellishments. Multi-sized from XS-XXXL, they are professionally graded reasonably priced.
Sewing rayon is easy. Use a new size 80/sharp needle for every project with all-purpose (polyester) thread and a stitch length of 2.5. On long straight seams, a slight zigzag will prevent puckers: try a width of .5 – 1.0 and length of 2.5 – 3.0 for best results. Serge seams (or use French Seams as a finish as the Balinese women do).
Interfacing… Avoid changing the “hand” or drape of rayon with good quality, lightweight fusible knit interfacing. We recommend using this interfacing with the greatest stretch running on the lengthwise grain of the garment. This permits the rayon to relax as it is meant to do. We have found great success interfacing whole jackets or vests to add structure to soft rayons paired up with drapey pants or skirts!
What is Batik?
The island of Java is the center of batik making for Indonesia, the country which produces most of the batik in the world today. Batik means ‘to dot.’ There are two kinds of batik, Batik Tulis (hand-drawn) and Batik Cap (stamped).
The tracing is the first stage, followed by applying the wax and dye substances. In the final stage, all the wax is scraped off, and the cloth is boiled to remove all traces of the wax. This is done several times. Repeatedly waxing and dyeing is the batik process.
Batik Tulis is the more expensive fabric. A canting (a pen-like instrument that holds liquid wax) is applied to the cloth in batik tulis making.
Batik cap also uses the waxing process. A wajan is a container that holds the melted wax; it looks like a small wok. Cap (pronounced chop) is a copper stamp that enables a high volume of batik production compared to the traditional method of tulis. The hand stamping is what makes this process of batiking faster.
The appreciation of batik tulis is higher. It is the work of an artist, not a craftsman. It takes months to make batik tulis. The most common fabrics used in batiking are cotton and rayon.
Batik is a method of patterning fabric by using the principle that wax resists water. Wherever there is wax on the fabric, water or dye cannot penetrate.
A stamp is made of the design from formed metal or wood. The stamp, or “chop,” is placed into hot wax and then hand-stamped onto the fabric. When the wax is dry, the fabric is dyed. Then the wax is removed, and the pattern is visible. Stamping and dying can be done in various stages, creating either simple or elaborate patterns. The application of the wax to the fabric can also be done with a fine-tipped tool called a “tjanting tool” that allows the artist to draw an image free-hand in melted wax.
Creating batik fabrics is truly an art form. There is the imagining of the design and then the creation of the chop. Then comes the careful application of the wax, requiring great skill. Once the wax is applied, the fabric must be dyed…and this demands experience and a clear knowledge of color.
Each piece of the fabric is created by hand by experienced people who take great pride in each piece of wearable art.
Batik has a long history. Its exact origins are not known, but fragments of batik fabric have been found in Egyptian tombs. Batik may have begun in Asia. It did eventually become an artform in Bali and in Java that is very much alive today.
In this world of mass production and fabrics printed by machines, batik survives as a method of hand-printing, hand-dying, and individual artistic creation. We hope you enjoy the batik fabrics iNeedFabric.com has brought you from the beautiful island and the beautiful people of Bali, Indonesia.
A Virtual Tour of Batik Factory
Batik Fabric, Batik Clothing, and more …
All batik fabrics are hand-batiked and hand-dyed, so no two yards are exactly alike. Batik prints feature shells, birds, fish, and flowers that are dyed in colors like guava pink, sea green, and aquatide.
The Wax Room
The batik process is an ancient one. After a design is chosen, the wax is carefully hand applied by using a variety of objects. Everything from tjantings (Indonesian wax “pencils”) to stamps, turkey basters, paint rollers, paintbrushes, and other tools are used to create unique designs. These are adapted for different design purposes. Batik is a resist process. The design is printed on the fabric with wax. As you will notice, although this is a production process, each yard is hand done. This means every yard will be unique.
After waxing, the fabric is ready to dye.
The Dye Room
These dyes are expensive, but they yield some of the brightest colors in the world. They also display some of the best light-fast, wash-fast, and color-fast properties. The wax is removed after the fabric has been dyed.
All fabric is hand-dyed in large tubs. Depending on the color, the fabric must be constantly hand agitated in a tub of dye from 1 ½ to 2 hours. The dye saturates the fabric leaving the wax imprint white. Wax is then removed from the fabric by moving through ten washes of 190-degree water. Heat resistant aprons and gloves are used for pushing the fabric in the tubs of hot water. Any shrinkage that occurs in the natural fiber fabrics happens during wax removal so that all garments and fabrics are preshrunk.
Once the wax is removed, the fabric is moved to clotheslines in the factory’s back yard to dry under the sun.
The fabric is then inspected and rolled into bolts for cutting into garments or shipping directly to customers.
The Cutting Room
Ther are cutting tables, rolling machines, long blade cutters, short blade cutters, etc. First, the patterns are outlined on the marking paper. Then the fabric is laid in plys on tables, marking paper put on top, and the patterns cut. The current line fabrics are stored on wooden shelves.
The fabric moves from the dye room to the cutting room.
The Sewing Room
The work in the sewing room is done on a teamwork concept. Quality is the number one priority. A method of piecework is utilized where every garment is timed. There are four inspection stops for each garment – sewing, clipping, pressing, and shipping.
iNeedFabric.com Store Specializing in High-quality Batik Fabrics
Welcome to iNeedFabric.com, an online shop where you can buy a large collection of beautiful fabrics, hundreds of fabric brands, and fabric designers.
Search easily through a range of batik fabrics online by color, pattern, or manufacturer. They have substantial fabric samples so that you can feel the quality of the material and match the color. They can also offer you friendly advice on which designer fabrics can best suit your requirements.
iNeedFabric.com carries both new and out of print fabrics for quilting, fashion sewing, and home décor. They carry only the best fabrics from the top manufacturers, such as: Hoffman, Robert Kaufman, Elizabeth’s Studio, and Timeless Treasures, to just name a few.
And if you love cotton batiks, you need to see the machine-washable cotton batiks! The dyes take to the rayon even better than to the cotton fabrics. By the way, in case you didn’t know, rayon is a natural fiber – made of wood of all things. It drapes beautifully, washes heavenly, sews easily. Batiks are used for a lot of wearable art fashions.
iNeedFabric.com also carries a machine-washable fabric in many solid colors that are wonderful for clothing too. It’s easy to work with and easy to wash, hang, and wear—this fabric used for the clothing line too.
Extraordinary Batik Fabric
Feast your eyes on batik fabrics with designs and colors so exciting; you’ll certainly be “bowled over.” The vibrant explosions of color and the creative patterns in the designs make these batiks truly extraordinary.
iNeedFabric.com website – a visit certain to stimulate creativity and ignite your passion for high quality, unique and exciting batik fabric. Each batik you see here is a piece of the living tradition, brought to you by artists a world away, practicing a centuries-old art that has endured both the challenges and changes of time.
- Each piece . . . . a handcrafted work of art
- Very extensive process . . . . beyond most batiks
- Highest quality materials used.
- Colors are clear; no worries about bleeding
- Made by highly skilled artists
While each piece is unique, they repeat the designs and colors so they can be reordered. Each batik is named and/or numbered so you can order it again and again.
These batik fabrics are not produced on bolts. Rather, they are offered in a variety of sizes (up to 2.5 yards). As you look at the various collections, you’ll see a wide selection of packaging options (e.g., Fat Quarters, Grab Bags, Kits, and more) to suit many needs.
What Makes iNeedFabric.com Batiks So Special
- Highly experienced batik artists handcraft each piece. While each piece is unique, the designs and colors are repeatable. All fabrics are named and numbered so that you can order another piece like it.
- This batik fabric is NOT produced on bolts….each piece is made “one-at-a-time.”
- The highest quality cotton, wax, and dyes are used to make these batiks.
- This work is a collaboration between artists!
- The fabric is made exclusively for iNeedFabric; all designs are copyrighted.
The People – Behind The Scenes
These artists have done batiking for generations.
- Great skills and many steps are required to make these extraordinary batiks. The skills of batiking are being passed down to the next generation.
- Many people are involved in making each piece. Each batik travels from one place to another . . . from one family to another. As a result, many of the artists are able to work at home and be with their children.
There Are Batiks … And Then There Are Batiks!
Each piece is a work of art, more intricate than most batik fabrics. An amazing amount of work goes into making EACH PIECE:
- Each of these batiks has been stamped 100 times or more with wax.
- Up to 12 different stamps (“tjaps”) are used on each piece.
USE OF WAX
- Several pounds of wax has been applied to the fabric. Before the batik is finished, all of this wax is boiled away and washed extensively to remove any wax residue.
TIME REQUIRED TO MAKE ONE PIECE
- It’s difficult to say exactly how long it takes to make one piece. For sure, each piece is in process for at least two weeks before it is completed.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.