What Do I Do With All This Batik?!

By Amy

So you joined the Peace Corps and you went to a country with some really exotic fabrics. As cool as it was to wear those batik or Dutch wax print shirts and dresses to trainings and to work or school every day, maybe that’s just not your regular style back home.

But if you are like me, you’ve kind of fallen in love with some of these prints, and you might have been gifted some really nice ones. Here in Indonesia we have several different kinds of batik from the different islands (a process of making wax patterns on cloth and then dying it) as well as ikat (patterns made by weaving). I have a few pieces of hand made batik and ikat that are definitely coming home with me.

My batik collection...so far.

My batik collection…so far.

My ikat from Lombok. A gift from my mother-in-law!

My ikat from Lombok. A gift from my mother-in-law!

So how can you incorporate these great fabrics once you return to your life in the US? Here are my top 5 ideas for things you can get made while you are still in country or once you get home:

  1. Pillow covers. Maybe an entire batik couch is out of the question but a throw pillow in the living room or on your bed makes a nice accent. Remember, when it comes to batik, a little goes a long way. Ikat is extremely popular these days for home décor.

    Lovely pillows outdoors. Source: http://www.esteestanley.com/

    Lovely pillows outdoors. Source: http://www.esteestanley.com/

  1. Cloth napkins. Why not make a couple of meters of your favorite fabric into napkins you can use over and over? Good for the environment and a nice reminder of your time in the Peace Corps or your visit abroad.

    Adara napkins from Crate and Barrel.

    Adara napkins from Crate and Barrel.

  2. Bath robe. I convinced both my mom and Will’s mom to buy bath robes in a Lombok batik pattern when they were here. I got one too. It’s a good way to celebrate your love of patterned fabric head to toe in the safety of your own home.Womens-Sea-of-Sapphire-Batik-Robe-Indonesia-P12111192a
  3. Christmas stockings or ornaments. How about a reminder of those Christmases spent far away from home each year when you hang a fabric ornament on the tree or hang up your stocking for Santa? Will and I made ornaments to send back home and stockings to to make it feel little more like Christmas.

    Last year's batik Christmas stockings.

    Batik Christmas stockings. No, this isn’t where we live…just the apartment we rented for the Christmas party in Surabaya!

  4. Accessories. Think small like a batik clutch purse, kabuki belt, skinny tie or pocket square.

    Pocket squares from Etsy store Monascreation.

    Pocket squares from Etsy store Monascreation.

Whether your post-Peace Corps life includes grad school, the corporate world, more international travel or retirement, save some of that fabric for your next phase in life. Even if you don’t have a use for it now, you just might five years from now.

Any other ideas?

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4 thoughts on “What Do I Do With All This Batik?!

  1. I’m so into this! I just sent home a box of Christmas gifts full of batik – pillow cases, table runners, and scarves – all made from meters upon meters of batik from schools that I’d never use otherwise. I always thought batik would look better as drapes than as someone’s fashion statement.

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