Check out my hand painted batik skirt (!).
Ok, so the batik is not a very good one at this point. I had some issues with applying the dye. But boy, oh boy, did I have fun testing it out. I'm currently working on another that is coming along much better and I'm totally psyched. It really feels like I'm combining my two passions in to one on this sort of project: art and sewing.
I have done several batiks before as art projects, but I've never done anything where the materials and design had to be apparel appropriate. I've actually taught batik before to my fifth grade art club (It's a small group- I don't bring out the hot wax in a regular classroom). We do a simple version on a giant coffee filter with watercolor as the "dye." So consider this to be an elementary school style batik. Any time I approach an art project I'm always thinking about how I can teach it to kids, so I usually take the simplest approach. Just bear that in mind while you're reading how I did this. I am, most definitely, not an expert.
I used a home decor fabric that already had a zig zag stripe. I thought it would be a good practice fabric. I wasn't too worried about messing it up.
This is my wax set up. I bought an old rice cooker at a thrift store years ago to melt the wax. I used a mix of beeswax and paraffin, which is generally what you get when you buy a batik wax. The rice cooker is nice because it will heat up and melt your wax and then you can switch it to the 'warm' setting so you don't risk overheating, which can be dangerous. I did the waxing out in the garage because the smell can give me a headache. All I did was (very sloppily) paint wax over the blue zig zag stripe. I know there are other tools that give you more precision, but a brush worked fine for what I wanted. I didn't worry about the drips, though later I painted back over them because they stood out too much. I didn't stretch my fabric. I put a layer of wax paper underneath and the fabric peeled off easily when I was done applying the wax. Like I said before, not the proper way to do it but definitely the simplest.
After the wax was dry, I painted the fabric with the same fabric paints I used to do my painted jacket, Jacquard Dye-na-flow paints. The main reason I used these is because I already had them. I don't think they are ideal for something like this. It pretty much took the whole bottle to cover the two pieces. I painted everything midnight blue. I could see using Dye-na-flow paints for a batik if you planned to use a lot of different colors and wanted more control over what went where. In hindsight, I really just wanted a solid color which is how I am working now.
After the paint was dry I removed the wax with an old iron and lots of newsprint. The ironing served two purposes; removing the wax and setting the fabric paint. I covered my ironing board with a heavy piece of denim and several layers of newsprint. Then I used smaller pieces of newsprint on top of the fabric. Note that I did not using my nice iron. I'm using an old one, which I luckily saved. You do get some wax on your iron when you do this. I worked in small sections until the newsprint was clean.
Removing the wax was my favorite part. It was neat to see the resist-dyed design take shape as the wax was removed.
Afterwards I washed the fabric in hot water and sewed up my skirt. I used my straight skirt pattern I mentioned in my last post. Nothing extraordinary about the pattern. I underlined it with a broadcloth. That's probably my favorite thing to do to a simple cotton skirt. It makes it feel so much more substantial. I used a grosgrain ribbon as a waist facing and finished the hem with a zig zag stitch, of course. It's not a skirt I'll wear to anything other than bumming around, but I like it. I do wish I had ironed out the center crease before I started. The dye settled in the crease and left a line.
And that's it. Fun stuff! I felt like I actually had an art project going on at home. I'm working on another batik skirt, but I ordered some cold water dyes so I could do a solid dye instead of painting it on. It's so much fun. And of course I'm being a good blogger and taking lots of pictures along the way.
Anyone else tried batik before? I've got to be careful or my laundry room will be turned in to a dye studio before I know it.