The first time I tried to do a Hawaiian Applique' project, I used batiks and it was just awful. I could not easily manipulate the fabric for needleturn stitching the way I could using 100% cottons. Yesterday, I received an email newsletter from Pacific Rim Quilting Company where one of their customers posted the following question. It was one of those "aha!" moments followed by "you dummy, you should have known!" Anyway, I'm going to try this next time and I hope some of you will find this of interest.
I have heard that batiks are not a good choice of fabric for applique. What do you think?
While batiks have a higher thread count, so seem more tightly woven, they make beautiful applique quilts. Many fabrics are woven with a high thread count and stitch with no problem at all. What really makes some batiks more difficult to stitch is the resist that is applied to the fabric to create the images on the fabric during the dying process. If the resist is not completely removed it can be a little more difficult to needle. Here is our number one tip when using batiks:
Wash and dry batik fabric three times, using hot water. The first time use Synthrapol or Orvus to remove excess dyes. Then wash two more times with your other laundry. The added agitation and heat helps to remove all the resist.
For any tightly woven, or high thread count fabrics, use a size 11 straw, or milliners, needle. The thinner needle slips through the threads of the fabric more easily.
With these few tips, there is no need to avoid this whole class of beautiful fabrics for your applique.