Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sewing and Painting

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.


33 comments:

  1. That is so cool. I want one.
    As much as I like your header, I think the new use of this fabric would look even better up there.

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    1. You read my mind! I think it's time for a change anyway. Maybe something with this new batik I'm working on.

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  2. I wish I could come play with your art supplies! Your batiking looks so fun to do... although the ironing part looks a little less exciting! The finished skirt is great. I'm looking forward to your next version!
    BTW, is the fabric the same as the pillows in your header?

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    1. It is the same fabric, but a different colorway. I bought them both at them same time but never used the brighter version.

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  3. What I cool project, I love how you have so much fun with your sewing!

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  4. Very groovy and such fun. The contrasting colours really pop.

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  5. WOW! I LOVE IT!! What fantastic colours, they really pop, and the top looks great with it. Great idea!

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  6. Absolutely gorgeous! I wouldn't wear it for bumming around, I would be wearing it everywhere I went because it is so darn fabulous!!!

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  7. Love it. The colours are perfect for the summer! And just like katherine I would slap some heels under them and wear them everywhere. Very cute!

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  8. I am amazed that you did this yourself! It looks great, and very wearable too.

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  9. I love it! You're so clever and truly artistic, unlike my good self. Those colours just shine.

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  10. Well, I think it is really beautiful and the colours are so vibrant I can`t how you can improve on this.

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  11. Batik is great - it's one of my favourite techniques. Even after ironing out the wax there can still be a little waxy residue. I find rinsing the fabric in white spirit - followed by soapy water gets rid of the last of it - but it does need a good wash afterwards.

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    1. I did notice that there was a stiffness to the fabric afterwards that wasn't there before. On this next skirt I'm working on I'm actually boiling the wax out (right now as we speak!) and it seems to work so much better. I'll be excited to see how stiff the fabric is after a good wash.

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  12. Wow. How amazing is that. What a great project, from start to finish!

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  13. I really like this! As another reader said, I wouldn't just wear this for bumming around - it looks better than that! Thanks for your post - it is a great inspiration.

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  14. How fun! Thank you for sharing that.

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  15. Fabulous! Thanks for showing all the steps.

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  16. I love this skirt. So unique, but awesomely wearable.

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  17. That is SO SO SO SO AWESOME!!!! I have never done batik but I sure do like the idea---fabric + painting, does it get much better? I love how it turned out, actually---even the crease. :)

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  18. I love it! I remember doing batik painting on fabric in high school (many years ago!) and loved it! I think the imperfections make it so beautiful! Awesome job!

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  19. Your skirt looks awesome and I thought the crease was intentional. I wish that a) you lived in Sydney and b) you gave batik lessons to sewists

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  20. What an awesome project! I love it! Also, love the shirt you're wearing in the pix!!

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  21. I absolutely adore your skirt. I love the fabric, the technique (using printed fabric is brilliant), the colours, everything. I do a lot of dyeing and I am definitely going to try your method of batik. I have always been too intimidated by the tjanting and wax, but your method seems easier, and more fun. Thank you so much for taking all the pictures and posting it.

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  22. O my word, I get so excited by your art sewing..this is amazing! I love the colours you have used & explaining the technique fills me with inspiration....but I think I'll be retired before I find enough creative space to let myself loose on such fun...maybe...or perhaps continued examples of your art & sewing will tip me over the edge! The skirt is a great shape to show it off too ....

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  23. Love it!!! That is so cool. Can't wait to see what else you have cooking up.

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  24. I have to tell you this is so amazing. Batik isn't normally my thing, but this is just so fantastic, I'm a convert!

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  25. Looks like you had great fun, and I love the resulting skirt!

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  26. Jumping on the bandwagon to say wow - really beautiful and inspiring! I've had one of those 70's books on batik lurking around for years, and one point even bought an old fondue maker for the purpose of heating wax, but sadly have never got round to it (like everything else). Thanks for showing just how stunning the results can be!! (Can't wait to see the next one :) )

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  27. Your statement: "Ok, so the batik is not a very good one at this point". My response - If you hadn't said anything it looks like that was done on purpose, do you know how much a store would have charged for something like that? You can "mess" one up for me on purpose, if I had one I would definitely wear that to work!!! I love the lining on the skirt too.

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  28. Argh!! All of your dyeing projects are making me super jealous. I pretty much ruined our laundry room in our old house due to dyeing, so that stuff was banned in our now rented no utility room apt.

    I think the skirt is darling. Great colors, too!

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  29. Hi!
    I'm from Indonesia and find this project of yours truly great! I have only done batik once, and it was for a handkerchief size cloth.hehe You should definitely boil the wax out, as that is most effective, and it is actually the traditional way of doing it also :)

    See me batik-ing here (one pic only):
    http://curiousmama.tumblr.com/post/21431674804/133-kartini-membatik-grand-city-surabaya-taken

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