Behind the Batik // Sanggit (When Motifs Meet)

Batik is a truly fascinating art form – It has the infinite ability to be colourful, vibrant, complex or playful depending on how the artist chooses to compose each piece.

Once batik finds its way into the hands of a seamstress, however, the attributes sought whilst sourcing the fabric have the potential to change into a variety of unique challenges. Every individual batik and its assigned clothing pattern will become a complete puzzle – and a challenge for any seamstress! More often than not using batik in fashion can require twice the work as you need to make sure you make complimentary cuts to the fabric so you can rebuild it into a coherent garment.

This process of rebuilding is often referred to as “sanggit” in Indonesia. A Javanese term sanggit is commonly used to explain innovations during traditional wayang puppet stories, and over time has been adapted to describe a similar process in the batik world. Here these innovations can refer to the connection between all 4 sides of the motif (right to left, top to bottom, etc) in a single piece of fabric. Meaning that batik often does not make sense if looked at as separate pieces.

To achieve sanggit, seamstresses must have a knowledge of different batik varieties and a sense of how to read its motifs. By understanding these patterns and its imagery they are able to decide how best to sew it together as a garment. Some questions considered are – How will the fabric be cut? Which way does the batik run – Horizontally or vertically? Where is the best imagery of the batik and how will the garment show it best? Can we apply the motif to the collar, sleeves or hem? Will it looked composed as an end product? Only once these questions have been carefully considered will a seamstress begin cutting batik.

We are very thankful for being able to collaborate with our talented seamstresses.
The care and consideration they take in creating our designs is amazing and we often talk about how best to sew the batik from our artists so that each design really highlights the beauty of that batik. Having opportunities like these continues to be an incredible learning experience which has broadened our understanding of sanggit and how we view batik.

Can’t wait to share them with you too!

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