Before I get into nitty-grittyof using ikat fabrics I would like to make a small disclaimer – I have mainly dealt with hand woven ikats from Uzbekistan and, for this reason, this article relates to the usage of Uzbekistani ikats. I cannot ascertain that information provided below would be applicable to Indonesian, Indian or South American ikats. |
Ikat fabrics vary by the fiber blends used in making them. There are pure silk ikats and there are blended fiber ikats (usually mix of cotton and silk).
Fashion industry has been a big fan of ikat fabrics and for a valid reason – depending on designer’s creativity and a season,fshion designerscan use any thickness of the fabric. Pure silk ikats are primarily used in making light flowing dresses while thicker fabrics are made for making garments, which require a certain stiffness from the ikatfabric.
Ikat fabrics are used in making fashion accessories ranging from ikat fabric covered bracelets, silk ikat scarves to ikatbags. As a proud owner of several hand woven silk scarves and bags I can tell you that I always feel very unique and special wearing my ikat accessories. Seriously, how many of us are walking around with works of art around our necks and on our shoulders, even if those works of art are downplayed in hues to match a professional corporate scene.
There have been uses of ikat in shoe making, however, one needs to keep in mind - those shoes should not be worn in a wet weather unless the ikatfabric has been pretreated to be waterproof.
The widest use of ikat falls into interior design industry. Here we see anything from adding a pinch of exotic touch in forms of ikat pillow covers or ikat throws to whole rooms that have been worked around a specific ikat pattern. Ikat fabrics are used to make curtains and to upholster furniture. Ikats of amazingly intricate patterns and colors are also used as wall hangings to create a focal point in a room. Ikat fabrics used for curtains, furniture upholstery, throws and pillow covers are usually made of ikat fabrics online blends with a greater content of cotton fibers which gives the fabrics a linen like texture. Silk fibers used in the ikat fabrics add a luster and that noble luxurious touch.
Uzbekistani ikats usually come in narrow width, which is limited by the width of handlooms. As a side historic note, Uzbekistan, which was a part of the former USSR, had its mass production ikat textile industry. In Soviet days, there were state owned factories with industrial looms, which allowed to produceikat fabrics with a width of over 1 meter. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the funding of these textile factories has been decreased which resulted in skilled workers leaving their state jobs and establishing their own artisanal workshops using wooden looms which are easy to make.
The way to go around the narrow width issue of ikat fabrics is putting several width of ikat fabric together ensuring that ikat pattern matches. You can buy the fabric and do it yourself or ask yourikat fabric vendor to do it for you (some vendors do offer such services for a fee). I would recommend that you have a vendor do this for you – ikat fabrics pattern matching is an exercise of itself.
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