Batiks Etcetera & Sew What Fabrics specializes in Indonesian and Malaysian batiks. We find they are the highest quality of dyes, prints(tjaps), and base cloth. We find these fabrics bleed less, lose color less, and respond best to quilting, dressmaking, and home decor. The Indonesian and Malaysian batiks are mostly dyed with fiber reactive Procion dyes which are dyes hand dyers in the US prefer. The colors are permanent and brilliant.
Indian batiks are lovely but like madras most bleed. It is a different look but one I found is more trouble than most people want to deal with.
That also sets the colors, shrinks the fabric, and removes excess dye.
The last color may or may not have been followed by the hot water treatment. But the dye (if procion) is inert and will not dye other fabrics.
These batik have not been through the very hot water to remove wax, We call these designs “almost solid batik” or “multi colored batik”.
This would be like the many handpainted batiks that are made by Hoffman, Benartex, Island, Timeless, Kaufman and others. I find there is usually some excess dye in these.
So what do you do? I prewash all fabrics including batiks. I usually sort my fabrics by light and dark. I use Retayne and hot (140 degree) water and follow the instructions. I find this removes any wax that may still be in the fabric as well as excess dye.
A great answer for quilters is in the form of color collector or color catcher sheets. Shout makes one that really works. You throw it into the wash with your fabric or your finished quilt and the sheet collects any excess dye!
They are really a great answer when you are using a jelly roll and cannot prewash. I now “gift” a box of Color Collector sheets with quilts. I also “gift” a guarantee that I will repair a quilt if needed to family members. That makes sure they will use and enjoy the quilt.
A lot of people do not prewash any of their fabrics. If it is a wallhanging and not a bed quilt that will get hot cocoa on it, I’m fine with that. But bed quilts, I want to be able to wash.
If I don’t want to prewash, I test my suspect fabrics by cutting an inch square, putting it in hot water, and microwaving it on high. I let it cool. If the water is highly colored, I prewash that piece of fabric and set the dye with Retayne. I often will have 6-8 little pyrex bowls brewing to check fabrics.
You’ll find a formula of what to wash and what not to worry about. Remember the Color Catcher sheets!