Making Batik Fabric: A Behind-the-Scenes Look & Craftsy Giveaway
This post is written by batik fabric designer Jinny Beyer. Below she shares a photo journal from her trip to the factory in Indonesia where her new Malam Batik collection was made, plus an exclusive giveaway for Craftsy blog readers!
Enter to win $100 of Jinny Beyer’s Malam Batiks from RJR Fabrics!
To enter the giveaway, just head here by April 29, 2014. We’ll randomly select a winner on April 30 2014.
The inspiration behind my batik fabric design
Malam is a line of hand-stamped and hand-dyed batik fabrics and has been 1 ½ years in the making. Malam comes from the word pasar malam, a Malay and Indonesian word that literally means “night market.” It also is used for the word wax, which is why I selected the name for my line of batiks. While designing this line, I learned a lot about the possibilities and limitations of the fascinating batik printing process, pushing the envelope of what is possible!
In creating this line of batik quilting fabric, I drew from my past experience, following the same approach I take with all my collections, to create a mix of designs, values and colors so that the prints can work and shade together in a project. Each batik fabric design is produced by stamping a metal batik cap (pronounced “chop”). Due to the weight of the stamp blocks, each design can be no larger than a 10-inch repeat. I carefully reviewed many of the best-selling patterns I have created over the years and narrowed it down to six designs: the Jacquard, the Scroll, the Peony, the Tropical, the Paisley and the Bellflower. Then I adjusted the designs to fit the repeat, tweaking them to remove the fine line details that cannot be captured in the batik making process.
There are many batiks on the market, but I chose to create more sophisticated designs with a more subtle blending of colors. I wanted this line of batiks to work well with my traditionally printed fabrics, too. Achieving this lower contrast of color proved to be the biggest challenge I faced, but I loved the way they turned out.
Making batik fabric is a fascinating process. Follow along this virtual tour of a batik quilting fabric factory in Surakarta on the Indonesian island of Java to see how my Malam line was created from start to finish!
We begin in the showroom where the batiks design are created.
Here I am with the man who takes the design and puts it in repeat to send to the chop maker.
A peek inside the chop makers workshop. It takes about two weeks to make one chop.
The base greige goods before any dyeing or chopping.
This is the “factory” where the work is done. Fabric is laid outside and scrunched and sponged with dye or squirted with dye and spread with salt, depending on the technique.
The workshop where the dyes are mixed.
The formulas for the various designs are stored in these books.
The fabric is “scrunched” outside in the sun and then dyed the colors that will be used for the line work of the pattern.
Dyed fabric ready for getting the “wax” with the chop design.
Wax is melted and the chop is dipped in the wax and then pressed onto the fabric.
This man is “chopping” our red paisley design
Here I am in front of the chopping table with the paisley chop.
This stack of chopped fabric is waiting for the next stage. The fabric is bleached and wherever the wax is will not take the color. This will be the line work of the design.
The fabric is again “scrunched” and dyed and sprayed to get the overall color of the cloth, except where the wax is.
Soda that’s used for specific techniques.
A piece of fabric drying in the sun after it has been scrunched and sponged with dye and had soda sprinkled on it.
Next, the fabric is put into a large caldron into boiling water to remove the wax.
The fabric is then sent to the washing facility to wash again and have the finishing process done.
The final fabric is rolled on tubes and then packaged into boxes to be sent to RJR.
Enter the giveaway!
Click here for a chance to win $100 worth of Malam Batiks from RJR Fabrics! Then, comment on this post letting us know what project you would love to use these batik quilting fabrics for.
About the author
One of the pioneering women of quilting, Jinny Beyer was the one of the first designers to create a line of fabric exclusively for quilters. Her strength as a designer lies in her contemporary, sophisticated styling and in her remarkable sense of color and shading, a skill she honed while living in India, where she made her first quilt. Jinny designs three major collections a year. She lectures all over the world, and holds an annual Jinny Beyer Seminar in Hilton Head, S.C. Follow Jinny on her blog and her Facebook page, or sign up to receive her free monthly newsletter.