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Thread: Batiks

  1. #1
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    Batiks

    Please, tell me all you know about batiks. I am getting ready to make a king size quilt with all batiks and don't want to mess this up! I have been told from one quilt store that batiks bleed like crazy. And the quilt store that I normally use told me that was "crazy"! She said that batiks have been washed repeatedly in the whole process and that they do not have to be pre-washed. I want Your opinions. Thank you so much.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 12-30-2017 at 01:28 PM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  2. #2
    Senior Member letawellman's Avatar
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    I have to say that as a general rule, batiks do indeed "bleed like crazy". I think I remember seeing a post in the resources section about treating/prewashing batiks. I do not normally prewash, but I definitely do that with my batiks, especially the darker red, blue and purple ones.
    Just my opinion, and persona experience, for what it's worth.
    Leta in Upstate SC
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  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i'm a prewasher, for sure. i've had batiks bleed.
    Nancy in western NY
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  4. #4
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    In my experience some batiks do bleed but most of the ones I have used, do not bleed. I don't know how to tell which ones will bleed by looking at them. I have not mixed white or light fabrics with batiks so it didn't matter too much. I've been wondering if I could tell the bleeders from those that do not by ironing on a light background but I have not tried it yet ... just didn't think about it at the time.

  5. #5
    Member Pearl40's Avatar
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    That sounds as if it would work. I usually test a small area using a dampened cotton bud (Q tip).

  6. #6
    Junior Member MsHeirloom's Avatar
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    I don't prewash and have never had a problem since I started adding color catchers. Two or 3 for large quilts. Launder in cool water with Dawn.

  7. #7
    Super Member Teen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsHeirloom View Post
    I don't prewash and have never had a problem since I started adding color catchers. Two or 3 for large quilts. Launder in cool water with Dawn.
    Ditto! Color catchers rock...
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  8. #8
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I find that the intense reds and blues of both batiks and some regular fabrics may bleed (I had one batik that nothing would prevent from bleeding), so I always buy a bit extra so I can test to for color fastness.
    QuiltnLady1

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  9. #9
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    I love batiks because they don't ravel. But I have had bleeding. I use the color catchers and pray. "smile"
    Sew a Little, Love a Lot & Live like you were dying!

  10. #10
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I will test a suspicious fabric (batik or not), but typically I do not prewash batiks. However, for the first wash of a quilt I take it to the laundromat and use their largest front-loader and Synthrapol. The large washer uses enough water to dilute any dye bleeds, and the Synthrapol suspends loose dye particles in the water so they go down the drain instead of settling into other quilt fabrics.

    Color catchers are fine for catching small dye bleeds, but they are insufficient if you happen to have a fabric that bleeds a lot of dye into the water -- especially if you are using a domestic front-loader which does not use enough water to dilute a big dye bleed.

    In my experience, batiks are no more or less likely to bleed than many other cotton fabrics. I think many years ago, when batiks first came on the market, the manufacturers were not as good about completely rinsing out excess dyes -- especially since those batiks probably originated in the native markets of Indonesia and Malaysia. Over the years, I think the process for making batik fabrics has become standardized to the same specifications used for other colored fabrics.

    Edit: I should add that I prewash a fabric that seems to have excess dye, in part because I want to make sure that the problem is only excess dye that has not been rinsed out. Some "bleeders" were never properly set by the manufacturer and will never stop bleeding. Those I don't want to use in my quilts.

    The main reason I choose to prewash a fabric is when it is a cheaper quality fabric, in order to tighten up the weave. I recently bought some wonderful solid red fabric at JoAnn's on sale for about $2.50/yard, along with some novelty children's fabric that was really cute. I prewashed both fabrics separately. Neither fabric bled, but I liked the way that prewashing tightened up the weave so they looked like much better quality fabrics.
    Last edited by Prism99; 12-30-2017 at 10:13 PM.

  11. #11
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    I bought a Jelly roll of batiks and sewed them together in sets of 4 without measuring anything. They can be cut wrong. Mine were all over the board. So now I have them trimmed up and sewn to a diagonal strip of white. There they sit on the UFO shelf in a tub.

  12. #12
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    I'm normally a pre-washer anyhow so I would pre-wash the batiks as well. I just prefer to use pre-washed fabric. I also agree, however, with those posters who have said that they've not had batiks bleed any more than any other type of cotton fabric.

  13. #13
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    I pre-wash anything in the red family, including hot pink, and have stopped prewashing most others, including batiks. But don't avoid using these beautiful fabrics simply because they might bleed. They really do add a wonderful dimension to quilts!

  14. #14
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    The quilt in my avatar did bleed a bit on it’s first washing but there were a lot of reds and a white sashing. : /
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Lena1952's Avatar
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    I snip off a corner and hand wash in hot water with the detergent I would use for machine was. Swish the swatch around until well saturated, then lay on white paper towel. If it's going to bleed you will see it on the towel. I have had reds with no bleeding. But the worst case was a turquoise. I hade to wash that one twice! I also swear by color catchers. Love sewing on batiks!

  16. #16
    Super Member sJens's Avatar
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    I do prewash my fabrics and use color catchers if I wash different colors together. I have never had bleeding with any of my batiks but do buy them at a quilt store not JoAnn's-Walmart etc. Not sure if that makes a difference.

  17. #17
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    Batiks do bleed or at least some of them do. Some more than others. I tend to starch all my fabrics before I cut into them. So if they're going to bleed, they'll do it in my starch. Plus by starching I find they're less likely to fray. Just finished a BOM quilt and these batiks frayed like crazy. In the past I didn't have as much trouble with this happening with batiks. Are they making them differently as I thought they were more tightly woven so less fraying?
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  18. #18
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Some do, some don’t. Bunching them all together is like saying All Quilters only hand stitch.
    I use a lot of batiks. If I’m using lights along with very dark, saturated colors I check- especially reds, purples, deep blues to see if they are going to bleed. If they do I prewash, if they pass the test I don’t. I usually toss a color catcher in when I launder my finishe ( batik containing) quilt just to be safe. I’ve seldom had a problem. Some shop owners seem to group {hand dyes and batiks} into the same group....they are quite different and hand dyes tend to contain a lot of excess dye ( are just rinsed out after dyeing) batiks are boiled to remove the wax- not that common to have them still full of excess dye.
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  19. #19
    Super Member EmiliasNana's Avatar
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    I have used bright vibrant precuts with a pure white background and backing, that cannot be prewashed. Using synthrapol and Color Catchers was a breeze and no bleeding was evident in the quilt. Remarkably the only color that showed up on the Color Catchers was lime green, not fuschia or purple or hot pink. Go figure!

  20. #20
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    I love batiks. I generally don't prewash. But every once and a while, there will be yardage that feels stiff with dye. Dark blues, reds, hunter greens contain a lot of dye so they get prewashed. I have found that the occasional bleeder doesn't really show much. The lightest batik is usually an almond color so if it is pinker or bluer, it doesn't matter. However, if I made a batik quilt with snow white solid, I would prewash everythingl It all depends on the pattern.

  21. #21
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    My experience is batiks bleed like crazy, esp the reds. But I would never stop using them...they add a real pop to a quilt!

  22. #22
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    I sew almost exclusively with batiks. I love them. I don't have any more trouble with them bleeding than any other fabric. I never prewash my fabric. I just finished one with some red in it and white background, it came out fine. I throw a couple of color catchers in the first couple of time I wash the quilt.

  23. #23
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    Thank you everyone for your comments! I think I will use Synthropal and color catchers when the quilt is washed, as I am using a lot of jelly rolls and scraps that will be hard to prewash. Barb

  24. #24
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I finished a quilt a few months ago that I made mostly with strips I got at a garage sale. I didn't want to pre-wash strips, but kind of held my breath when the time came to put the quilt through the wash. I used the color catchers and had no problem, even though it had several batiks and lots of dark purple and teal interspersed with white squares. I don't have a clue how color catchers can be so effective, but they turned pretty dark gray in that load while the white fabric stayed white. While I think you can probably trust the store that is selling that fabric, pre-washing the bigger pieces with color catchers would surely help ease your mind. After all, if you had a problem later, they would earn a bad name, but you'd be the one stuck with a disappointment after many hours of work.
    Last edited by Rose_P; 01-01-2018 at 06:48 PM. Reason: typo
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Clmay's Avatar
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    I agree, no preaching here. Just color catchers. No problem.
    Never put off what you can do today, because tomorrow may never come.

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