French Ikat

Ikat is the beautiful technique used in this wonderful hand woven French fabric that uses indigo and aged white tones.  The texture of these rare textiles is often soft, light and airy.


A Brief History of These Textiles

An Ikat fabric is woven using a very complicated dyeing technique and seems to have begun in Asia, though there is no clear evidence of the origins of this practice.  The word ikat is Indonesian in origin.  Using this process, the dyes are applied to the yarns prior to weaving which will create designs on the finished fabric.  Depending on the pattern, specific areas of the warp and/or weft threads are protected from dye to prevent them from absorbing color.  When the threads are dyed, each thread will have a different color pattern along its length.  When the threads are ready for weaving, it is very important to line each thread up perfectly on the loom. The warp thread is first to be set on to the loom, and then one must keep all threads in position very carefully to achieve the desired pattern in the final weaving of the textile. There is natural movement in these threads, which give a slightly feathered, or blurred look to the final textile. Ikat textiles are labor intensive, and wonderful heirloom treasures!


Qualities of These Textiles

French ikat fabrics tend to have a wonderful light and airy texture.  They are often made of a light weight pure cotton, and sometimes of a linen and cotton blend.  The indigo blue tones are often beautifully faded with time.  I usually find ikat pieces in small fragments, large curtains, valances or sewn into quilts.  Often the larger panels are pieced or patched and tend to have gorgeous hand stitched mends and darns! 


Depending on the condition, ikat fabric can be used for a variety of projects!  These pieces are beautiful for display, curtains, scarves, light upholstery, pillows and more! They are stunning, timeworn fabrics beautiful for authentic period interiors.