Tuesday, March 10, 2015

how to wash batik

Split Decision quilt top made in 2014, quilted this week. This one has been a UFO or WIP for a while, I was just waiting on my new sewing machine to be able to quilt it myself!

A few years ago the local fabric store was going out of business and I bought some batik fabric half off in a jelly roll. I finally made something out of it last summer. This was my first time working with batik fabric, and after I got it all sewn together I wondered why it was so stiff. Online research revealed the fabric's bright colors were made with a process of dying with wax. Recommended washing instructions are to wash all fabric before starting a project. Oh well so much for that. 

And not just regular washing, detailed instructions as to how to get the dyes and wax out, while not letting the dyes bleed onto adjoining fabrics. Geesh! Maybe this was not such a good idea. I wonder why batiks are so popular?

So I gathered all the necessary tools and ingredients, Synthrapol to remove wax and dyes, Color Catchers to catch dyes in the wash water so the dye won't attach to another part of the fabric. HOT water at 140 degrees is recommended for the wash of 10-12 minutes of swishing around. 

Instructions say that if your washer does not have 140 degree water, then boil some water on the stove and pour into washer. Now this was a laugh-out-loud moment, just thinking about klutzy me carrying a pot of boiling hot water down the basement stairs to the laundry room, I don't think so. 

Turning off the cold water connection to the washer, I filled it up with only hot water. Then I put 2 capfuls of Synthrapol into the hot water, added the quilt and 3 color catchers (the ones on the left in the picture above). I then stood there and made sure it swished for 10-12 minutes. 

Then a warm rinse is called for, but my machine only does cold water rinse, so I ran it through another hot wash cycle, putting more color catchers in (the ones on the right in picture above).

No dye ran anywhere that it wasn't supposed to, so I think this was a success! 

After drying it still feels a little stiff, not soft like cotton. I wonder if this is just how batik fabric feels? Or do I need to do more washing, hotter water?

Oh and check out these Wonder Clips, so cute for holding things in place :)

Hey, I just realized that I have finished 4 quilts this year and it is only mid March!!!


Linda J said...

you are doing great this year, Susan. The quilt looks wonderful.

Cynthia Woodham said...

Well done getting through all that. I have always found the batik fabrics don't have the softness of the commercial cottons. They make excellent wall art as they hold their shape better.

Paula, the quilter said...

Nicely done! Batiks are very, very tightly woven. They are great for raw edge applique (after washing) because they do not ravel like other cotton fabric.