What is ikat fabric?

Originating from the Malaysian word “mengikat” meaning to tie, bind or wrap around, ikat (pronounced ee-kaht) is an ancient style of weaving, similar to tie-dye, which uses a resist dyeing process. The warp and/or weft yarns are dyed before the fabric is woven on the loom. The result is a bold, repetitive pattern that can be slightly blurred in appearance as the dye bleeds into the resist areas.

Traditionally the fabric was designed with an ethnic, spiritual or symbolic meaning in mind. Ikat fabric was associated with wealth and prestige, but now ikat has become a generic term for the production method and fabric with this style of pattern.

The design of the fabric can change drastically depending on the process that has been used. The design is created by tying areas of the threads into a bundle using something that will not allow or the penetration of dye, like wax, rubber or plastic. This requires a certain level of skill as the weaver needs to calculate where the dye needs to go to develop a regular pattern. To be more exact when pattern making, the weaver will use warp ikats, so that the pattern is visible on the loom; whereas with a weft ikat the pattern is less exact.

The process becomes even more difficult with double ikat; this is when the design is created by dying the warp and the weft, this is considered to be the highest form of ikat as it requires the most skill to develop.

Ikat fabric has an ethnic feel, so should be used to enhance this type of interior style. At Yorkshire Fabric Shop we stock thousands of fabrics to suit any style and can be used to transform your home. We have a great range of handmade cushions in a range of sizes including these Ella Ikat cushions and don’t forget about our made-to-measure curtains! Use our fabric finder to browse our stock or if you need a little more help deciding; give our team a call on 01924 728 753, use our contact form or email [email protected]