Ikat or Ikkat is a technique of dyeing usually done on silk or cotton fabrics which results in fabric bathed in beautiful and glittered colour patterns. Origins of ikat fabric can be traced to the state of Odisha. The Ikat cotton fabrics have a unique method of making. Ikat fabric is, before they are woven into fabrics, are dyed and binded into different threads.
The process of weaving Ikat fabric in India starts with the yarns which are dyed in various mesmerising colours and then the yarns are suitably dried out. After finishing the dye process, the threads or yarns are separated and are woven into the fabrics. While weaving the yarn into Ikat fabrics, different beautiful patterns are made. This method looks to be simple but in reality it is an extremely complex method because the maker of Ikat fabric has to place the yarn accurately to form the right pattern. Ikat fabrics in India are made using the following three weaving methods:
- Wrap Ikat/ Single Ikat
To create ikat fabrics by this process, either wrap yarns or the weft are dyed into various different colours. This ikat fabric technique is also known as Single Ikat fabric.
- Weft Ikat
In this process, the Ikat fabric has both warp yarn and the weft which is used together in different parts of the fabric.
- Double Ikat
Double ikat fabrics usually involve both warp and the weft yarns which are tied in a precise manner so that the yarn, when it meshes from both the axis with each other, the Ikat fabric shows a complete pattern.
Ikat fabrics are known for sarees but apart from it, Ikat Cotton fabrics are also used to make shirts, one pieces, fashion accessories.
The art of Ikat fabrics has exploded out of borders of India and it has gained recognition throughout the world because of their different designs and patterns and mesmerising art play of colours. Ikat fabric is amongst the style statements in the fashion world in today’s scenario. Despite Ikat Cotton Fabric being as old as 12th century technique, it has passed the test of time and has not faded away with time. Western civilization has also started to recognise ikat fabric.