Ikat Fabric

Ikat is made through a traditional dyeing technique that has been known since ancient times in areas as widespread as Yemen and Japan, Central America and Southern Asia. In each of these regions, the method offers a specialty of textile design with a distinctive look.

What does the word “ikat” mean?

Our fabric is made in Central Asia, one of the traditional regions of ikat production. Here, the fabric was referred to with the Persian word abr, meaning “cloud.” It’s an excellent name, as it captures the rich and delicate coloring and the dramatic, billowing patterns that the technique makes possible. However, in international trade, all such fabrics are referred to as “ikat,” from the Malay verb meng-ikat, which means “to tie” or “to wind.”

How is ikat fabric made?

In our region of Central Asia, the basic method for making ikat fabrics by the yard is as follows. First, the weft threads (those which will run horizontally) are bound with tiny pieces of another material; today, we usually use plastic. Then, the thread is put into a dye pot with local or imported natural dyes. When it is lifted out, the tight bindings will have left areas that are undyed. That thread can be woven into fabric on a traditional hand loom. When it is woven, a rich design on both sides will come together as the variegated threads assemble into the soft-edged, cloud-like pattern.

Why is ikat fabric so popular today?

Designers love ikat for the special qualities that this traditional fabric provides to their work. Because the traditional Uzbek hand loom is 40 to 60 cm (15 to 24 inches) wide, it produces an unusually narrow bolt with the same pattern on both sides. The naturally dyed, hand-woven fabrics are durable and have a distinctive texture, because the thread is not stressed by chemical dyeing or mechanical weaving. To add to their usefulness, Uzbek ikat fabrics by the yard typically have wide solid borders of 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 inches), enhancing their versatility and the ease of creating strong directional patterns and rich, subtle palettes. And of course, the designs are breathtaking — they must be seen to be believed!

Those who wear and use ikat choose this fabric for many reasons, but often simply for their love of color and appreciation for quality handmade goods. The traditional ikat which was exported along the Silk Road in the seventh century and after symbolized wealth, power, and prestige, and its lively looks captured something of the energy of village life and the glory of hand-dyed colors. Today’s ikat simply speaks to a heartfelt appreciation for handcrafting and a taste for timeless quality in the textiles among which we live.


7 thoughts on “Ikat Fabric

  1. Gretchen mulder says:

    Your items are beautiful, I was already to order but your shipping prices are way too high, I do a lot of buying and selling myself and am always paying fot shipping, but our shipping cost are the highest I have seen.I wanted a table runner for and a small cloth change purse and you had $20.00 as the shipping cost,please get back to me and explain for. I would love to be a cluster, but not at those prices.

    • alesouk says:

      Dear Gretchen
      There was some mistakes on codding of the website at shipping option. We have just fixed it and you can enjoy Flat rate shipping fee $9.00 for all orders.
      If you need any other information please feel free to contact
      Happy shopping at ALESOUK

      Kind wishes

      • Delgado says:

        I’m so happy that you disclosed the paper wehgit of the pages, but could you tell us a little bit more about the wehgit of the cover, too? I’m eager to order some, but only if the cover will stand up to me throwing them in my purse (which is somewhat of a war zone)!

  2. ÿþS says:

    Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

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