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What is Ikat?

What is Ikat?

Ikat has been popular for the past couple of seasons, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  But, what is it?

The term “ikat” (pronounced EE-kot) refers to a type of fabric that is made throughout the world.  Commonly associated with the fabrics of India, Thailand and Central America, ikat fabrics have been around for more than a century.  In recent years, the ethnic and tribal pattern trend has brought ikat fabrics to mass-market stores, allowing folks everywhere to enjoy them.Greenhouse Design Red Ikat Fabric

Ikat fabrics are made by dying the threads before the fabric is woven.  The threads (typically natural fibers such as cotton or linen) are tied tightly together and dipped into dye.  This creates an uneven, mottled appearance on the threads, allowing the pattern to have a “hazy” look when the fabric is woven.  The method is similar to tie-dying, except tie-dying is done after the fabric is woven.  Either the warp threads (those on the loom) or the weft threads (those woven through the warp) or both can be dyed.

Greenhouse Design Brown Ikat FabricToday, ikat fabrics are easy to find.  They have been made into pillows, bedding, draperies and more.  The patterns have also been recreated on area rugs.  Choose one of these bold fabrics as an accent in your room, or as a focal piece in the space.  Ikat fabrics blend beautifully with other geometric patterns, solids and organic patterns. They work in modern, rustic and traditional homes.

(Fabric photos courtesy Greenhouse Design)

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2 Responses to What is Ikat?

  1. Teesa Schumaker says:

    Who carries the Ikat fabric shown (brown background, with tan and spa blue). I checked Greenhouse website and can’t find it. Thank you.

  2. Teri says:

    I’m sorry…I don’t! A quick check of their website, and it looks as though this color was discontinued. It’s still available in a couple of other colors, “Chocolate” and “Charcoal,” but neither matches this one exactly. Fabrics sometimes move quickly in and out of the market…I hope you find another one you like!

    You could also try searching for an Ikat fabric at the Robert Allen Fabrics website http://www.robertallendesign.com or at http://www.kravet.com. Good luck!

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