How to Design A Spectacular Batik Quilt!
Let Those Beautiful Batik Fabrics Do The Design Work For You
Wondering how to design a spectacular batik quilt? Looking at finished batik quilts can seem a bit overwhelming but remember each starts with a single piece of fabric. Begin with a simple block and let the beautiful batik fabrics do the design work for you.
Batiks have become my exclusive quilting fabric choice for the last 20 years. Their vibrant colors and bold prints offer a fabulous palette for designing stunning quilts. It’s easy to become repetitive in your quilting, so dare to venture out and turn your next quilt into batik showpiece.
What Is A Batik Quilt
A batik quilt defines a quilt made with predominantly batik fabrics. While some batik quilts may only use a few batiks combined with other traditional quilting fabrics, many batik quilts use batik fabrics exclusively. The batik quilting fabric selection is so extensive today, nearly every color is available to choose from.
What Is Batik Quilting Fabric
Batik Quilting Fabric is 100% cotton fabric printed with original batik prints made by hand with a wax resist process. Batiks can be as simple as a single color with a repeating image or printed with a rainbow of colors and a multitude of designs. Batik quilting fabrics are known for their vibrant colors and detailed designs. The color choices are almost endless, making fabric selection a very difficult choice because they are all so gorgeous.
Batik fabric designs are very organic and add such incredible visual interest for viewers. Quilting with batiks is like creating a large fabric ‘I Spy’ game. There’s so much to look at!
As quilters we buy batiks because we love them. But don’t just let them sit on a shelf. Go ahead and enjoy looking at them, get inspired to design a stunning quilt, but don’t stop there either. Try Batik Stash Quilting and use your favorite fabulous fabrics and collections of precuts.
Does Batik Fabric Have A Wrong Side
Either side of batik fabrics may be used as the right side, as both are generally the same. Look specifically at the color or motif you are focusing on to determine which side is shown better. These are hand-made designs, and there will always be variations in pattern and color. Sometimes I find an area of color is stronger on one side, or that an image may be clearer. Choose the side that works best for your quilt, but generally speaking you won’t find a significant difference.
How to Choose Batik Quilt Fabrics for Your Project
Start with a Single Batik Focal Print
When a beautiful batik print attracts your attention amongst all the bolts displayed together and begins to stir your emotions, it’s beckoning to be showcased. Learning how to design a spectacular batik quilt is easier than you think. Using one fabric as a basis for designing a quilt is a fun and easy way to pull other interesting fabrics into the project.
With all the batik fabrics available, choosing just a few can be daunting when beginning a new batik quilt. There are a couple easy approaches to start with when working with batik fabrics or any vibrant print. First find a single batik fabric with an attractive color and pattern that appeals to you. Then basing your design on that fabric, add one or two other complimentary pieces to enhance the overall look. This method keeps the focus on your chosen fabric’s color and design while the additional fabrics help to maintain an overall flow across your quilt top.
How to Maintain the Integrity of Focal Prints
Learning how to design a spectacular batik quilt based on a focal fabric is a great place to start. To create an amazing batik quilt without cutting up the integrity of focal prints, I use blocks with large areas to emphasize a few chosen fabrics enhancing them with coordinating tonal pieces. Once a focal print is chosen, complimentary pieces are added to enhance the overall color scheme and pattern. Whether it’s a mottled monotone for gentle color transitions or bright splashes of color to make the quilt pop, every quilt should stand out as a show stopper.
What Size Pieces to Cut
Initially, determine how you want to use your focal piece. Is it a large pattern that needs to stay in tact, or can it be used in smaller pieces and repeated throughout? You’ll see an example of each below.
Batik Quilt with Just Three Fabrics
Only three fabrics are used in this first example. The palm tree fabric needed to be seen in larger pieces or the feel of the tropical vignettes depicted was lost. By using it as a single block alternating with 2-color pieced blocks, the playful nature of the design stands out. The palm tree fabric is also repeated in the border so the eye can follow the fun graphics.
Mixing It Up A Lot More
This next quilt above emphasizes not only the botanical print which is centered within each block, but also incorporates many coordinating and complimentary colors within the same family. Additionally, some very dramatic batik prints are included in varying sizes to add interest that might otherwise be lacking in a monotone color scheme. Repeating the same center from block to block adds a sense of order amongst what could be a jumble of batik fabrics with no particular arrangement. Learning how to design a spectacular batik quilt with a variety of fabrics is exciting.
If you look very closely, you may also see another design detail.
Use Decorative Stitching on Blocks Prior to Assembly
Today there are so many beautiful variegated threads for quilting that we can’t overlook this decorative addition to quilts. My preferred method is to use decorative stitches much like embroidery was used on crazy quilts. The stitching will strengthen the seams and the variegated color blends them together. You’ll find that seams with decorative stitching often become invisible once stitched over by creating a flowing look to both your blocks and quilt tops.
Assembly Line Decorative Stitching
To add decorative stitching to blocks with multiple pieces such as the example above, you may find the assembly line process the easiest. After chain sewing a string of pieces together with a continuous thread, I press the seam to one side keeping them together in one long strip, and add the decorative stitching to the topside. Sewing them in strips is much quicker and the decorative stitching threads will be reinforced when they are then sewn into the seam as the next piece is added. Try a matching color for a monotone effect, or a bright contrast to really add some flash. You’ll love the addition of decorative stitching to your blocks.
Whether using larger blocks to maintain the integrity of your focal fabric, or using it in an asymmetrical bock, both of these construction methods provide visual interest. It also enhances the overall design into an eye-appealing quilt. Using one of these easy design options will result is a spectacular batik quilt.
Batik Quilt Color Combinations
Learn how to design a spectacular batik quilt with lots of visual interest by using multiple colors. Color always inspires my quilting direction. Generally, a specific batik print motivates my quilt design. I primarily focus on color selection when planning a new batik quilt long before I think about what pattern to use. While there are favorite families of color I gravitate towards, including other colors can be dramatic and add so much more visual interest.
After choosing the color, don’t forget to vary the fabric designs you select. These designs add movement and interest to your quilt tops. Find some pieces with fun and unusual motifs, and at least a few splashes of unexpected color. Combined, all these varied batik fabrics will add to a magnificent finish for your batik quilt.
Make it Your Quilt
In any quilt, the colors, fabrics, patterns, and techniques used are an interpretation of the quilter. I’m not a traditional quilter in either pattern or fabric choice. I quilt because it makes me feel good. My quilts are a personal representation of me, and each one tells a story through its design and color. I have an emotional connection with every creation.
When I see a batik fabric I love, I’ll often buy a couple yards without any idea of what I’ll make with it. Once I get it home, the ideas are jumping out at me. That’s when I get the rest of my fabric out and my stash quilting process begins.
Try A Stash Quilt
Learn how to design a spectacular batik quilt with this stash quilting method. Batik quilting fabrics are perfect for stash quilting, which blends color from piece to piece and across block to block. Each fabric often has many shades of varied colors. Some also have patterns where individual colors are blended together. Use this to your advantage and build larger block units filled with color and movement. Your viewers will be mesmerized with the visual intensity of your batik quilt.
Batik FQ’s, Jelly Rolls & Precuts
Using precut batik fabrics is another great way to add more vibrancy to your quilt with less financial impact. These smaller units offer incredible variety with less quantity of each fabric. This is an economical way to buy batik fabrics you might not otherwise use often. Perhaps you don’t like tone-on-tone, or animal and graphic prints. You’ll be surprised how small bits of these fabrics can add dramatic flair to your batik quilt. Don’t be afraid to try something a bit different with each new batik quilt you make. The results will be striking!
Asymmetrical Layouts Pull It All Together
When selecting specific fabrics for a quilt, the color captures my eye first and the print second. Therefore, I want to showcase those favorite fabrics in large enough pieces to keep the printed design in tact. While simple patterns make fast quilts and larger pieces speed up the process, you may lose the look of favorite prints if too many bold designs are used together in similar sizes.
Try Asymmetrical Blocks With Bold Batik Prints
Learn how to design a spectacular batik quilt using this twist. The best batik quilt designs containing many bold batik prints are asymmetrical blocks, meaning they are not equally proportioned. While presenting a large wash of color and pattern, the asymmetrical block balances multiple bold prints used together. It can be a four or nine patch, but most importantly is that not all the squares are sized equally.
An asymmetrical four patch was used in this example giving an opportunity to present prints in multiple size pieces. One primary print is used in the largest square of the block surrounded by smaller squares that don’t demand as much attention yet enhances the main print. You’ll see in the example that each block is constructed with the focal fabric as the large square with prints and tonal fabrics surrounding it.
Turn Your Blocks For A Better View
This layout will give you an opportunity to draw attention to the focal print while the coordinating tonal pieces tend to create a frame focusing on the larger area of the block. The blocks may be turned as desired to add interest and show off the focal prints from different directions.
Asymmetrical blocks allow flexibility in focusing on primary fabrics and creating fun patterns according to their placement. It is generally more appealing to position asymmetrical blocks in alternate directions to create a larger pattern. Without turning the blocks, your beautiful fabric would look like a brick wall and not be very pleasing or interesting to looks at.
Add Some Pizzazz to Your Batik Quilt
Learn how to design a spectacular batik quilt with lots of visual interest. When you begin you next batik quilt, try something new to add some pizzazz to your final project as well as excitement to the process. You’ll find that creating a spectacular batik quilt can be quite simple and incredibly rewarding.
Remember, too many large squares in a quilt detract from the overall effect and isn’t a pleasing design. Asymmetrical blocks draw the eye, creating interest and eliminating a repetitive look while keeping the eye moving across the blocks. Adding sporadic flashes of color give the illusion of intricate piecework without all the cutting and assembly.
All combined, these tricks will result in a spectacular batik quilt top. Try one of these methods in your next batik quilt and you’ll love the results.
Batik Quilt Inspiration
Take a Look at These Beauties
Here are two batik quilts I made using a focal fabric for inspiration. Many fat quarters were added to the designs to complete the quilt. Some were used to create contrast, while many more built the primary color scheme. Both these patterns are from batik pattern books by Laurie J. Shifrin.
Safari Batik Stash Quilt
The Safari Batik Quilt is bright with high contrast. Stash Quilting is all about using your well stocked fabric stash to design an incredible quilt. I love the diagonal zebra blocks against the mix of bright yellows, golds and oranges. The burgundy background adds just enough contrast for the large blocks to really stand out. If you like the idea of trying some zebra stripes yourself, check out the Wild Rails Batik Stash Quilt I recently made.
The Dragon Batik Quilt has lots complimentary colors with a few bold contrasts to add some interest. An assortment of Asian fabrics is the primary design element and emphasizes the green dragon print. Pops of red show up in the small squares set on point, as well as in a narrow inner border.
Don’t Overlook the Quilt Backing Opportunity
When I begin a quilt there is always plenty of fabric left over. I pull a lot of fabric because the variety offers great creative opportunity and so much more inspiration to draw from. Both of these quilt backs use fabric left over from making the quilt top. Various components were joined to get the size needed for the backing. It’s a great way to utilize the extra fabric. Creating a backing to coordinate with the quilt top adds a bit of unexpected fun to the finished quilt.
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