Using beautiful batik fabrics can make any quilt pattern pop right off of the quilt. Stunning batik fabrics are perfect for many different quilting patterns—from Civil War quilt patterns to floral quilts.
Batik quilt patterns not only make a stunning statement, they are also a lot of fun to work with. A wide variety of choices—multicolored, semi-colored, monochromatic, representational, painterly, geometric—means plenty of opportunity to create varying colorways and eye-catching layouts. Whichever type of batik fabric you use, the creative possibilities are endless.
Have you ever wondered how batiks are made? Batiks are a dyed fabric. Removable wax is applied in a design or pattern, so the dye doesn’t reach those areas of the fabric. Then the fabric is dipped in dye. Once the dye has dried, the wax is boiled off. This exposes the previous color and design. To create multi-colored designs, the fabric is layered with wax and dyed numerous times. Since the fabric is submerged in a dye bath, it’s dyed all the way through the fabric. Nancy Mahoney, quilter extraordinaire, talks about all things batik in Nancy’s Quilting Classroom: Working with Batiks & Batik Quilt Patterns.
Batik fabrics have more threads per inch in each direction than other fabrics commonly used for quilting, which means they have a tighter weave. Since batik fabrics are wetted and dried in the printing process, shrinkage has already occurred before you buy the fabric. Concerns over colorfastness shouldn’t be any different with batiks than with any other fabrics. Removing the wax from the cloth involves rinsing in boiling hot water, which also washes out most excess dye. However, if you are using intense blues, reds, and purples, pre-washing is recommended.
Batik quilt fabrics are unique in their individualized patterns and colors, beautiful natural textures, and firm hand. You can see numerous examples of batik quilts and projects in Fons & Porter’s Batik Quilts magazine (including the 3 quilts shown above). Many batiks are hand-dyed, either by small manufacturers or in large batches and can be difficult to replicate exactly. For these reasons and many others, they are favorites of many different types of quilters. But not all quilt patterns are created equal when it comes to their ability to showcase the beauty of batik fabrics.
Take the double wedding ring quilt, for example. This traditional quilt pattern is presented in fabulous batiks for a modern and dramatic twist. Never thought to use batiks in a pattern like this? Or, maybe you have, but just didn’t want to cut out the thousands (yes, thousands!) of pieces for a bed-size double wedding ring quilt. The batik double wedding ring quilt, by Diane Ide, addresses both of these points: batiks look great in this quilt and you can get pre-cut pieces so you don’t have to do all the work. Check this one off your bucket list!
All quilters appreciate free quilt patterns! There are a couple of great resources offering quilt patterns that feature batik fabrics in a beautiful way. Get 4 free quilt patterns from Fons & Porter and 3 free quilt patterns from McCall’s Quilting—all lending themselves perfectly to batiks. And, make sure to check out all of the Fons & Porter batik quilt patterns all in one place! Enjoy!