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Beginner’s Batik Fabric Guide

Batik fabric guide

This batik fabric guide will teach you what batiks are and how to sew with them. Batik fabrics have been popularised recently by big name designers like Alison Glass featuring them in their collections.  However batiks have been around for a very long time, over 2,000 years!   Believed to originate from Asia batik is a way of dyeing fabric using wax to protect certain parts of the fabric so those parts don’t absorb the dye.  The wax is used to create patterns on the fabric and is removed after the dyeing process.  This can create a marbled or mottled effect on the fabric.

Tips for sewing with batiks

–          It’s best to pre-wash batik fabrics before using them to help prevent the dye from running.

–          Many batiks fabrics recommend hand washing, do check before you put them in the washing machine.

–          The dyeing process means the fabric will already have shrunk so you should get less shrinkage than with other fabrics.

–          Air drying is recommended, out of direct sunlight.  If using a tumble dryer dry on a low heat setting.  Don’t wring out excess water.

–          Because the wax that creates the design sinks into the fabric you may find both sides look similar rather than there being a clear ‘right’ side.  If you look closely you may find one side has less blurring around the edge of the design so you may prefer to use that as the right side.

–          Batiks tend to have a dense thread count/tighter weave to help them survive the dyeing process so may feel a bit stiffer than other fabrics.  On the plus side they tend to fray less making them a good choice for applique.

–          Make sure you are using a sharp needle.

When to use Batiks

Some batiks have a subtle pattern and work great as background prints, giving a bit of texture rather than just using a solid colour.   The bolder prints work well as accent fabrics, plus the fact they fray less than other fabrics mean they are good for applique too.  The textured look of batiks mean they make great borders and binding as well.  Batiks are also popular in garment sewing, predominantly dresses and skirts.

Projects using batiks

Quilting – Batiks are proving very popular with quilters, you can find several free quilt patterns for batik fabrics on the All People Quilt website.

Bags – They also work great for making striking bags, there’s a whole collection of batik bag projects on this Pinterest board  from Pattern Pile.

Applique – If you want to use your batik fabrics for applique there are hundreds of free applique templates available to download from

Dressmaking – Batiks make stunning garments, they are often used for skirts, dresses and tops.  Take a look at our summer dress and skirt pattern Pinterest board for some free garment patterns or our free dress patterns board We think our boxy dress pattern would look good made in batiks

Our Projects – We have several projects which would look fab made up in batik fabrics.  Including fabric storage cubes which are perfect for storing fat quarters in, a pyramid purse, this spacious bucket bag the tie sided cushion from the first series of The Sewing Bee or any of the other cushion projects we have on site.

All the batiks shown in this feature are available at Minerva Crafts who have a huge range of batik fabrics for you to choose from.