Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Secret Sewing Becomes Secret Quilting

Can You See the Loose Threads?

Obviously, I could not before I took the picture or I would have removed them. They were from the first round of stitching that I did in the morning, and ripped out in the afternoon. I've had a lot of indecisiveness while designing this project.

Can I say up front that I don't do well with this Secret Sewing concept? I'd love to show you more, but the Hop isn't until January. If you're going to the Fall Market, this piece will be there. I've let a few dear friends see what I was involved with, but other than that I've been mum. This is the first quilt I've made entirely out of batiks so let me pass on a few things I've encountered.

Use Sharp Needles!

Making batik involves printing on fabric with wax. Finer detail and ease of wax removal is best done with a finer weave of fabric, but this means it can be more difficult to pierce with a standard machine needle. For piecing, I use a 70/10 'Denim/Jeans' needle in a Schmetz Microtex brand. It works wonderfully! 

Want to Know More?

If you're curious about my own adventures in batiking, check out this latest post at "One More Thing Before I Dye" where I am experimenting with a new tjap.

Hand Stitiching

I am using several stitching techniques in this project along with a wide variety of threads. I like to use Perle cotton No. 8 and a crewel needle to hand quilt. I use the same with a button hole stitch to attach applique. I also go through all the layers, and this quilts it all together while adding more dimension to the piece. It's my preferred method, but certainly not the only way.

How Should I Applique This?

Considering the difficulty of stitching through batik as it is, I did not want to turn under the edges. Raw edge applique was going to have to work. Sadly, I have not had good luck with any iron on adhesives normally used for raw edge applique, and needed forceps to pull my needle through the fabric when I'd used them before. Could I do this project without my raw edges becoming ragged?

To my delight, the tighter weave of the batik worked in my favor! This time I simply used an archival glue stick to attach the applique in place, a few pins, and started stitching. It was still rough going sewing through 3 layers of batik plus batting, but almost no frayed edges.

Somewhere in my stitching, I had an area where I'd previously torn stitches out. Those holes were very easy to go through, and the idea of running the appiqued areas through my domestic machine came to me. This time I used the length of stitch I was comfortable hand stitching, and left the thread in it as a basting. As I moved on with my stitches, I removed the basting. Much quicker, and easier on the fingers!

Consider Your Longarm Needles, Too

If you do your own longarming, choose a needle recommended by your machine manufacturer for batiks. You should be able to contact the company or the business that sold the machine for a recommendation. I find a size 16 or 18 both work well on hand dyed or batiks, and I favor Superior's Omni thread. It's locally available, and works very well on my HQ Avante.

I Rip Out Stitches in Batik 
and Have No Holes

Gosh, I think this needs to be addressed. I have heard from more quilters the tale of never being able to rip out stitches when sewing batiks because the holes don't go away. Hand dyed fabrics count here, too. May I say that if that was really the case my work would resemble Swiss cheese! If it doesn't look right, I rip it out. I also keep a little bottle of water in an old bottle of hair spritzer, and spritz liberally. A little touch with my steam iron, and air dry. The holes are gone. 

Go forth and sew with batiks (and hand dyed fabrics), and be not afraid! Just stay sharp.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

And check out the sister blog~


Christine Slaughter said...

First, I have to say that I absolutely love the colors of the batiks I can see in your secret sewing. The appliqued piece is gorgeous against the background fabrics. Second, thank you for the tips on sewing with batiks! I love the idea of pre-stitching the applique holes, I will be keeping that one in mind for future stitching. I also had heard that you "can't" rip out stitches in batiks, so I am happy to read that it is possible and that the holes will go away with a little water and steam! Thanks again!

Sharon - IN said...

This piece is looking good! Guess I'll have to be patient and wait for the final reveal. That is very clever of you to machine baste stitch to make the hand stitching easier.

TheEclecticAbuela said...

What a great idea to pre-poke (that's a technical term :) ) your stitching lines!

Miaismine said...

Thank you so much for all your tips on working with batiks! As a newish quilter, I need all the help I can get! :) My stash is half batiks, so I am definitely pinning your post! Thank you!

KaHolly said...

Lots of great information here! Thanks for taking the time! I love using batiks for raw edge Applique. I've never been disappointed! Now, I need to go jot down all these tips in my trusty little notebook for future reference! Thanks,magazines. Can't wait for the big reveal!

Stitchin At Home said...

Looks interesting Julie. I love the look of batiks but they can be a bit though to work with and using a sharp needle as you mentioned works the best.

evaj said...

Tack Julie!! För din inspiration och länkning till Visa och Betätta måndag.... många kramar från Sverige och Bambi💕

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...

Very clever to baste your appliqués prior to stitching them! I'll keep this trick in mind. 😮😀

Mary Marcotte said...

I have not sewn with batiks in quite some time because I've had the hole struggle. (pun intended) But I'm going to keep your tips in mind and give them another go. They are so pretty and I love the many, many designs. You don't show much but what I can see, I like and am also anxious for the big reveal. Thanks for the tips!

Sandra Walker said...

Yay for someone being pro-batiks, as I always have been! Mix 'em with regular cotton too! As for the holes, I found sort of scraping my fingernail across the ripped out area smoothed the fibres back together. I like your idea of a spritz and a steam too. Eeep, lovely to see what you're doing with this piece. :-)