A few years ago, I was really into batik fabrics for quilting. My local quilting store had a big section for batiks, and they all looked a little like this.
I still like those fabrics, but not necessarily for apparel. So I was very excited about going fabric shopping in Indonesia, the home of batik fabric, but I wasn't sure how much I would get. When I arrived, however, I saw that batik covers a whole range of fabrics, some of which are very different from the ones above. (And it's pronounced BAH-teek, with the emphasis on the first sylable.)
My SIL made plans to take me to a fabric store in Jakarta. She has friends who also sew, and one came with us to show us the best shops. I was expecting a market, but these were stores that were about 4 stories high. When we walked in, I saw a lot of fabric similar to what I could buy in New York (although a lot cheaper, I am certain). And then we were taken up a few floors to the batiks. The first store had mostly silks.
I ended up buying two fabrics here. Both 100% silk, and I paid about $4.50 a meter.
The man who helped me told me that Friday is the traditional day to wear batik. I told him in my country we didn't know that so I could wear them any day of the week :) The men in Indonesia wear silk batik shirts as formal wear. When we were at a fancy hotel we saw a group of businessmen, all wearing colorful shirts. It was pretty cool.
After going to that store, we went to another that had more cotton batiks.
I got some of this fabric to make a shirt for David.
And then this fabric in a matching pattern to make a coordinating dress for me.
I caught sight of this rainbow fabric and had to get it.
I didn't realize until I was taking photos at home that this fabric had an edge detail. Most of the batik fabrics have a decorative element along the selvedge edge.
Since all of these cottons were about $3 a yard, I got 5 meters of each one. The man in the store showed me this fabric and I also got it.
And then I saw this silk. I think it's my favorite one. It has a fabulously rich edge detail.
And the main part of the fabric is a little simpler.
After all of this we went up one more floor to the imported silks from India. My SIL, step-MIL, and I each picked out some awesome brushed silk. This one is in between a red and pink.
I also got a polyester sheer fabric that is soft and drapey. The man at the store tried to get me to buy silk instead, but I really liked the poly and I'm a little nervous about using it as it is.
And THEN we went to a notions store. After all of the shopping, it was a little overwhelming.
That entire wall was of buttons, and it went up about 8 feet high. There were two walls like that. At that point, with no particular project in mind, it was a little too much. I looked for buttons in a small space, and I paid about 30 cents a button.
There were ribbons, zippers, and beads. I didn't have the energy to look at them! I wish there was a place like that close by that I could just pop into, but at least I can have the memory of having been there once.
I went on our trip with a mostly empty bag, and I filled it up with fabric for the way home! I have some practising to do before I start sewing with these fabrics. I need to learn how to sew with silk properly, and I want to do test sews of any patterns I choose. These are very special fabrics, and I want to make sure they're a success when I use them!