Thursday, April 29, 2010

What is Ikat?

I was glancing through the May issue of Elle Decor, where "trend alert" tipped us to the hot, "exotic motif with ancient roots." Ikat! Then the next day I saw Heidi Klum pictured presenting the "Project Runway" award to Seth Aaron Henderson and she's wearing an Ikat fabric dress.

What is Ikat (ē'kät)?
Ikat, or Ikkat, is a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving.

Ikats created by dyeing the warp are the easiest to make. Before the warp strings are attached to the loom they are arranged into bundles. Each bundle is tied and dyed separately, so that a pattern will emerge when the loom is set up. This takes a good deal of skill. The tightly bound bundles are sometimes covered with wax or some other material that will keep the dyes from penetrating. The process is repeated several times for additional colors.
Here's an Ikat pattern in cotton by Duralee (#20774-57):
In December of 2008, Design*Sponge wrote "...even though ikat has had its run in the home design world over the past year or so (and has been in vogue many times before) the fashion world seems to bringing ikat back again with the spring/summer 2009 collections."

Guess people just can't get away from tie-dye!

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design gallery
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