Ikat is a fabric made using an Indonesian decorative technique in which warp or weft threads, or both, are tie-dyed before weaving. It is technique of tie-dyeing and weaving where the yarn is tie-dyed (at pre-determined intervals) such that the final pattern emerges once the fabric is woven.

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Every woven fabric has a warp (the length) and a weft (the width). Yarn is set on the loom in the warp, and a weaver passes a shuttle with yarn through the width of the fabric to weave the weft into the warp. This is the case for any hand-woven fabric, but in ikat the yarn itself contains the pattern because it has been tie-dyed in a particular design before the weaving begins.

Within the technique of ikat, you have warp ikat (where only the warp yarns are tie-dyed), weft ikat (only the weft yarns are tie-dyed), and double ikat (where both the warp and weft yarns are tie-dyed).

Double ikat requires a higher level of skill and precision because the yarn has to be dyed in such a way that the weft and warp patterns intersect while weaving to create a stronger colour and a bolder design.

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In India ikat is found in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Andhra ikat motifs are generally more geometric, while Orissa ikat motifs often depict the flora and fauna of Orissa.


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