Ikat - an exotic trend that never goes out of style

 Ikat - pronounced EE-KOT, comes to us from places like Indonesia, India and central Asia.  The above photo captures two women in Indonesia weaving an ikat fabric.  Photo by Wayne Walton.

From the Malaysian word that means to tie or bind, ikats are made by dyeing sections of threads which are bundled together.  The weaver will determine where on the threads he will put the dye, keeping in mind the specific pattern he hopes to produce.  Ikat is a dying technique that dates back to pre-Columbian Central & South American cultures. Fortunately for all of us, the technique of dying the threads wasn’t lost over time.

It is created by applying bindings to the threads in desired patterns and then dyeing to color into the threads. By alternating the bindings and multiple dye colors, one can create elaborate, multicolored patterns.

Some folks think it is timeless, some think its trendy and quite frankly, some think its tired! But its still a big trend and I think its timeless.  It gives any room a moroccan feel, looks primitive, yet classic in my eyes.  Pair these hot fabrics with velvet, crystal and even solid prints, and you have a warm, classic timeless feel.  

Ikat creates an exotic pop for any room.  Great way to use this unique fabric is choosing ceiling to floor curtains with your chosen fabric.  Reupolster your mother's old accent chair for the corner of a room, pick a solid colored couch and design with your throw pillows!  Classic designers even use this pattern for clothes, housewares and fine china.

Some interesting facts about Ikat!

  • Several cultures view skates as symbols of status
  • Due to the skill and time needed to weave ikats, some believe the actual weaving themselves possess magical powers
  • Patterns are passed down from generation to generation

I love this beautiful, visually happy fabric and hopefully you have learned a little bit about this continual hot trend for 2015!