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Thread: How do you choose a batik?

  1. #1
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    When you select a batik fabric, what do you look for? Is it the color, or the visual texture? If it's the color... do you prefer batiks with just one color family in them, or a bolder combination?

    Do you choose one brand name only? Or are all makers equally good?

    We don't carry batiks right now, but I've been thinking about adding them. However... I really don't know what to be looking for. Personally, I get stuck just on the color impact of batiks. And that's bad, in terms of choosing for "everybody else", because there are certain colors that I love, and others that I'll almost always pass over. I'm drawn to smoky colors that defy being named, and cool tones of earth and sky and sea. Which leaves out a whole lot of the color wheel, including most brights!

    Advice, please? Suggestions on what makes a great batik stand out from the pack? (There are so many of them out there.)

  2. #2
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    I guess I'm the person who balances out your likes.. I love the bright batiks.
    The color and design or lack of it catches my eye first.. then I have to feel it.
    I'm not crazy for stiff fabrics and will sometimes pass over a fabric that I love the color/pattern because it doesn't touch well. Also I hand piece primarily and if it's very stiff it usually won't needle well.

  3. #3
    farscapegal
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    I love all batiks. I buy them more often than anything else. If a quilt store doesn't carry them I usually won't go back. I am fortunate that the two stores I shop in the most have lots of batiks to choose from.

    I buy them the way I would any other fabric. It depends on the quilt I am making and what I want it to look like.

    Sybil

  4. #4
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Batics of all colors are a staple of my stash and I buy them whenever I find them on sale.
    You can use all colors for a quilt and it will be beautiful.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have been collecting batiks for a number of years, however I do not care for the type with the "stamped designs" on them... any and all of the rest find a way into my stash!!! Bold to muted...I love them all :D :D :D

  6. #6
    Super Member 3incollege's Avatar
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    I love Batiks ! my local shop carries mainly Mariah (sp) .They are so nice to work with. I would carry a darks and brights . I think it a must to have some batiks in a shop . have fun ordering.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Batiks are my favorite! :)

    For me it's all about color, lots of color. Texture also plays a part. There are certain brands that I know are good: Island Batik and Hoffman are probably my favorites.

    I primarily get batiks which may have colors but which "read" as being one color. I prefer batiks that also have texture (pattern), but I don't care for the big Chop patterns with high contrast. The watercolors also have their place. I usually buy without a particular plan for what I'm going to do. If I see a GREAT one I buy it on the spot because it seems no two bolts are ever same, once it's gone, it's gone!

    This stash drawer nearly all batiks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I buy boat loads of batiks and love everything about the stuff!! My local shops carry lots and lots of it so I have never purchased batiks online. The color is so very important that I think I would probably always want to see it in person before buying. I usually unwind the bolt a couple flips to get a fuller view of the variations in color, pattern, etc. Unlike printed cottons, batiks will always vary by bolt so what you buy online may look very different from the same line you saw in person. That is their beauty, for me, the uniqueness of each piece.

    As for choices of colors, it depends on my mood at the time of purchase (I buy for stash, not project). I love the brights and lights and now they are even making some that are reminiscent of colonial colors. Yum! I also like the earth tones, deep colors, all colors I guess. What I don't like, and this is just me personally, is the muddy looking colors, not muted, but muddy and I tend to stay away from bolts with non-analogous colors on them.

    Something to consider would be having a difference in value, color wise. For example, I have a lot of red batiks, but they are all the same value. It limits what I can do with them together. It's as if batiks have to blend horizontally (across the color wheel) instead of vertically (by depth of value of the same color). See what I mean? Try to add some depth as well as width to the selection you offer, no matter what colors you select.

    My local shops each carry different styles, to reflect the owner's tastes I suppose. They have not tried to cover all bases, and are doing very well with that philosophy. It means I go to one for reds, blues, purples and greens, and the other for yellows, oranges, creams, and browns. Everyone benefits!!

  9. #9
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie
    I buy them whenever I find them on sale.
    What's a good price to pay for a batik? As in, what's a good sale price, and what's a fair regular price?

    They are more expensive than most printed fabrics; for instance, the wholesale price for new Moda batiks is $4.75 / yard; Hoffmans are maybe a dime less.

  10. #10
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Probably depends on the geography/region. In the Pacific Northwest batiks at LQS run $9.99 - $11.99/yard apx. Pretty much the same price as other quilting cottons in those shops.

    The internet...well anything goes as far as price.

  11. #11
    Super Member joeyoz's Avatar
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    Do you own your own shop? If so, poll your customers. Get an idea of what they look for in a batik. People look for different things. They have brights to muted. I love them all.

    This is one I did in all brights.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Hancocks of Paducah is a good place to buy batiks on sale.
    Prices vary but sometimes I have gotten them for less than 6 dollars a yard.

  13. #13
    Super Member chewboo's Avatar
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    love batiks dont care for the large prints but usually get those of c olors -- haave several and at times tone on tone

  14. #14
    Power Poster SulaBug's Avatar
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    Batik's are one of my favorite fabric's of all!! :D
    I am partial to the Hoffman Brand, but will also
    buy any one that really takes my eye. You just
    can't have a stash without a few batik in it!!
    :D :D :D :D

  15. #15
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I love batiks too! I like to see a variety of colors, variety of size/type prints. I really like some of the geometric prints. I often will opt for batiks if the quilt is for a man. It's easier for me to select more manly prints if I go with batiks (requires less effort anyway). If I peeked at my stash right now, I'd say 80% was some shade of blue! What I buy varies depending on what I make and who it's for.

    I also love the Hoffman 1895 collection. Not really batik, handpaints I guess. They go well with the batiks and I seem to have some in just about every quilt I make.

    The LQS in my area ranges in the $9-10 for batiks most of the time. I've bought them online for as little as $3.95. If I can get something I really like for under $7-8, I feel like I did well.

    I have not yet picked up a pack of Bali Pops, but they are on my shopping list. It might be something to consider trying to gauge the batik interest by.

  16. #16
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I love batiks. All of them. I am drawn to colorful ones with lots of movement.

  17. #17
    Member 2 Much Fabric's Avatar
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    Have you ever used a batik for backing? Or is it harder to get the needle through?

  18. #18
    Senior Member bob1414's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I own almost 3,000 yards of batik (thousand, not hundred) and know quite a bit about them. I'll give you my opinion and what I think sells the best, based on helping my friend at her quilt shop, where I sold and assisted in her buying decisions.
    "Stamped" batiks should be mixed with the batiks that are not "stamped" and these are typically called "hand dyes". Most of the known brands are almost the same quality. Timeless Treasures wholesale prices are higher so that is usually passed on to consumers, making these batiks higher priced. People do NOT like this. If you choose Timeless Treasures, try to price them the same as other batiks. Do not buy the batiks made in India - they're cheap, loosely woven and quite crappy.
    It is not worth it to only carry a few batiks - if you get into them, you'll want a selection. I don't know the size of your shop, but maybe carry a few hundred bolts if you can. Purchase in groups that coordinate with each other - try and find colors that seem to be popular in your shop. Brights, jewels tones, earth tones, whatever. But make sure people can find a focus fasbric and then be able to find other fabrics to compliment. I never mix batik and non-batik - I don't like that and nobody in my friend's store bought batik to mix with non-batik either. You can email me offline if you'd like more of my "opinion"! I can tell you how it's made, etc. as I lived in Bali for a few years and visited the factories. Good luck!

  19. #19

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    I go for the color. Also, they make good fabrics for quilt backs because they can be one color family, but more interesting than a solid.

  20. #20
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Much Fabric
    Have you ever used a batik for backing? Or is it harder to get the needle through?
    Wide batiks are made just for this purpose. SewBatik.com has a good variety of 108" wide batiks.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtHomeSewing
    Batiks are my favorite! :)

    For me it's all about color, lots of color. Texture also plays a part. There are certain brands that I know are good: Island Batik and Hoffman are probably my favorites.

    I primarily get batiks which may have colors but which "read" as being one color. I prefer batiks that also have texture (pattern), but I don't care for the big Chop patterns with high contrast. The watercolors also have their place. I usually buy without a particular plan for what I'm going to do. If I see a GREAT one I buy it on the spot because it seems no two bolts are ever same, once it's gone, it's gone!

    This stash drawer nearly all batiks.
    I agree with everything athome said, and since I did, I think she should send me that drawer full of yummies! :wink:

  22. #22
    pinklissamel's Avatar
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    I LOVE batik's!!! Thoes are my favorite greta textures, great patterns great colors !!!!! Batik's rock!!!!!!

  23. #23
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob1414
    Hi,
    I never mix batik and non-batik - I don't like that and nobody in my friend's store bought batik to mix with non-batik either.
    Are you saying you would never mix batiks with non batiks in a single quilt? I think you are limiting yourself, you can get some absolutely breathtaking results mixing batik with non batik. Here is a link to a post of my quilt Stardancing with the kitties. It is about 80 to 90 % batik but I think mixing batiks with non batiks can make striking results!
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/24639.page

  24. #24
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    BTW, I love Batiks as well. I use them as compliments to focus fabrics and for stash building. Sometimes I see a batik that "speaks" to me and I have to have it. Depth of color and color value is probably what draws me to them. I also go for feel, if it feels overly stiff I will tend to avoid because I also hand quilt and batiks are difficult enough as is to needle by hand. I am not familiar enough with manufacturers to offer an opinion. I know a lot of my batiks are Hoffman but many, many more I bought as fat quarters and am absolutely clueless who the manufacturer was.

  25. #25

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    I agree with feline fanatic. I just yesterday dropped off two quilts at the longarmer and each had a mix of batiks and non-batiks. I think they are two of the best quilts I have made (I'm an advanced beginner) in terms of color.

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