#BehindTheBatik: Back to Basics
We love our intricate batiks as much as our timeless classics, so we’re returning to the basics today (get it, get it?)! We’ll be spilling the tea on these in more detail later but for now, here are three fun facts (and quirky implications), tackling some of the common FAQs we often get in these key areas:
- The art of batik-making
- The art of batik tailoring and seamstressing
- The art of batik care
1. Batik fabrics are painstakingly handmade by artisans.
You Asked: What are these brownish, yellow stains? What about these pink and blue markings?
The brown marks are remnants of wax from the batik-making process, and any pink or blue lines you notice on the fabric are usually just leftover tailor's chalk. Both can be easily removed with a gentle scrub using water and soap.
You Asked: How about these spots and marks? Are they defects?
Handmade batik-making is, quite literally, a hands-on process. It involves infusing colours into patterns through methods like dip-dyeing, brushes, hand stamps, or hand printing. Occasionally, this can lead to dye smudges (an inherent part of the time-intensive batik-making art form) –– but these contribute to the distinctive beauty of each final piece. See how they are made here!
2. Batik clothing are often also stitched together by hand.
You Asked: Is this the same design as the one on your website? I see the placement of the phoenix on the shoulder area, but mine is located somewhere else.
The patterns on handcrafted batik fabrics are unique in the way they take form across the cloths. No two pieces are identical, even if their patterns are similar. Likewise, our skilled seamstresses and weavers transform these into one-of-a-kind garments, carefully considering the placement of patterns for the best fit. Again, this means the exact same pattern placements might not happen all the time, especially across different sizes.
You Asked: The colours of this top seem different from the ones on your website.
Every item, even if born from the same batik print, may carry a slightly different shade due to various factors in the batik process! Sunlight, raindrops, and even the delicate composition of dyes can lead to subtle variations. And of course, sometimes your phone's screen might just add its own flavour to the colour party, thanks to differences in lighting and display resolutions!
3. Batik, then, requires a special type of care.
You Asked: Do my batiks “bleed” when I first buy them?
It's a bit of a mystery which batiks might bleed excess dye in the wash! Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to pinpoint this to a tee, and the best approach is to wash them solo for the first few rounds for the first few rounds. In the event of batik dye bleeding, rescue it by adding a scoop of your trusty fabric stain remover (Vanish, anyone?) to a bucket of water. Let it soak for 2 to 4 hours then rinse thoroughly with clean water, which should help eliminate any visible dye stains.
You Asked: How should I care for their colours and retain their vibrancy?
To keep your vibrant batik pieces in their prime, we encourage customers to soak them in a bucket of water with a cap of vinegar for a few minutes before a handwashing party. For the true blue VIP treatment, use lerak, a batik cleaner instead of detergent! Just toss one cup into into half a bucket of water with your batik, let them mingle for a quick 5-minute soak (no longer!), then hang dry.
Refer to the batik care cards tucked into every purchase, or find more information here.
We're obsessed with Batik, and as invested as you are in giving them a long, brilliant life!
Being crafted by hand means that each batik item is unique, and will not possess the perfect precision of machine-made products. What all handmade art DOES offer is an authentic, bespoke touch –– and you’ll see these in the uneven glaze of a ceramic vase, the textured finish on that hand-forged silver ring, and the painted patterns of batik pieces.
Keep a lookout in the next few months for our series that will take you on a much more in-depth dive into the intricacies behind the art and nature of batik, as well as the people who make this art form come alive!