Batiks, which are thought to have originated in Asia, have been around for thousands of years. They get their distinctive patterns from the dyeing process: Wax is used to protect parts of the fabric so those areas don't absorb the dye. Here are some tips to make sewing with batiks easy.

Here are 7 tips for sewing with batiks:

1. Batiks have a tighter weave to help them stand up to the dying process. Use a sharper and finer needle than you use for piecing with cottons (such as a 70/10) to make sure the needle glides through the fabric without punching holes.

2. You can also choose a finer thread such as a 50 or 60 weight if you find your stitches are showing too much.

3. In the dyeing process, the batiks have already shrunk, so you'll get less shrinkage with batik quilts. Keep this in mind if you're mixing batiks and cottons. You may find it best to prewash your cottons.

4. Prewashing is a personal preference with batiks. Many batik fabrics recommend hand washing and laying flat to dry. It's always good to test the fabric for dye fastness and use color catchers when you wash your quilts to catch excess dye.

5. Because the wax that creates the design sinks into the fabric you may find both sides look similar rather than there being a clear right side and wrong side.  If you look closely you may find one side has less blurring around the edge of the design so you may prefer to use that as the right side.

6. Because batiks have a tighter thread weave, they fray less and are a great choice for applique.

7. Consider the design of the batik print when laying the pattern to maximize the fabric style. Cutting in different spots in the same piece of fabric can get very different looks!

Featured fabrics are Banyan Batiks from Northcott.