Ikat: The Traditional Handloom

Ikat is a resist dyeing technique that is used to dye the yarns before weaving the fabric. Characteristic quality of Ikat fabric is its apparent blurriness to the design. This blurriness is a result of the difficulty a weaver faces while making the finished cloth. This blurriness can be reduced by using finished yarns or by using a better technique of craftsmanship. Final Ikat fabric with minimum blurriness, in a variety of colors and with complicated patterns is difficult to make and is hence, more expensive. The end result is a piece of cloth which is dyed in a variety of colors. In the case of Ikat, the yarns are first bind before dyeing; and this makes it different from tie and dye technique, where the fabric is already woven.

Ikat fabric

Ikkat is one of the most ancient techniques of dyeing the fabric. The way in which these yarns are binded together, results in different pattern formation on the fabric. This process may be repeated multiple times, to create intricate patterns in a range of colors. Since the surface design of the Ikat fabric is created on both faces of the fabric; because of the yarn binding, Ikat fabric looks the same on both sides. Ikat pattern is not formed by weaving different yarns with complex strands, nor is it formed by printing on fabric. Ikat or Ikkat patterns are formed by dyeing the warp and weft yarns before weaving it. Ikat is an elaborate dyeing procedure done with cotton and silk fabrics. Orissa is associated with beautiful Ikat sarees. Ikat Exports based in Bhubaneswar, Orissa is the largest producer of Ikat handloom fabric and other related products.


Ikat sarees have,matched up the taste of many celebrities and several world leaders. For Ikat sarees, a gentle wash by hand or dry cleaning is advised, while the fabric should be ironed at a moderate temperature. A dry cleaning session or a thorough wash in washing machine of these beautiful Ikat sarees is recommended. End result of Ikat technique is a unique, a beautiful addition to your wardrobe. Several renowned fashion designers have taken inspiration from Ikat work sarees and incorporated it in their designs. Ikat patterns are different for different group of people. Several people of different areas have different preference of Ikat style and color selection, which they incorporate in Ikat weaves.


  1. Warp Ikat

warp Ikat

Lengthwise or longitudinal yarns of a fabric are referred to as warp yarns. In warp Ikat, the warp yarns of the fabric are dyed with this Ikat technique; whereas, weft yarns areas dyed in a solid color. Before weaving the fabric, entire Ikat pattern is visible through warp yarns. Warp Ikat gives an overall look of the desired Ikat pattern with plain weft yarns.

  1. Weft Ikat

warp ikat

Weft is a yarn that runs back and forth in a fabric. Weft is the vertical set of yarns running along the fabric. In weft Ikat, the weaving or the weft yarns carry the dyed patterns. The pattern only appears when the weaving proceeds. Weft Ikat is however, slower than warp Ikat because the weft yarns need to be carefully adjusted as per the design, before weaving. Slow weaving maintains clarity of the design.

  1. Double Ikat

Double Ikat

In double Ikat, both warp and weft yarns are resist dyed prior to weaving. Double Ikat is the most difficult technique and is hence, the most expensive. This form of Ikat requires advance skills and takes time. Double Ikat is an extraordinary achievement in textile art. It is formed when weft and warp patterns overlap to produce a design. Double Ikat fabric is of fine finish and produces alluring patterns.


Making of Ikat

Ikat uses the process of resist dyeing. Generally, the core fabrics that are used in Ikat are silk and cotton. The procedure involves several warp and weft thread being bundled and is further bound together that can resist the action of dye colors. These bundles of yarns are further tied to a wooden frame and then put in for a dye bath. Repeated dye treatments are then given to the fabric to achieve better patterns. Once the entire dyeing process is completed, the intricate process of weaving starts, which transforms these yarns into a staple piece of fabric. Traditional colors from plants, flowers and barks of trees are used as dyes for making Ikat. Ikat patterns are a combination of warp and weft thread dyed color. Ikat patterns are designed with vertical axis symmetry or with a mirror image running along the center line. This results in pattern or Ikat design to be exactly same on both sides of the fabric. Ikat patterns can be created in horizontal, vertical and diagonal fashion.


Ikat saree

Apart from apparels, Ikat fabric is also used to create beautiful home décor pieces including bed sheets, carpets and cushion covers. Ikat style handbags and jewelry are quite popular these days. If you are planning to add ethnic flavour to your wardrobe; Ikat saree or the presence of Ikat is a must. Cotton Ikat saree looks beautiful and formal; and it is easy to maintain. If you are not into wearing a saree, but you still cannot stay away from this beautiful handloom textile, go for cotton Ikat fabric and make well fitted tunics and tailored kurtas in Ikat fabric. If you are into ethnic chic wear, investing in this textile does not harm. Presently, Ikat is prevalent in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

contemporary Ikat

Ikat fabric has always been popular for its distinct style and unmatched beauty and this craft has stood the test of time and various fashion trends. Ikat continues to be designer’s favorite. Ikat is also used to adorn handbags, footwear and upholstery. Buy Ikat fabric online at The Design Cart at amazing prices.

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