Known for its uniqueness and attractive designs and shades Ikat sarees have their own statement name in India. Ikat is a complex method of weaving dyed threads to form fabric containing intricate patterns. The method can be easily confused or mixed with tie-dye technique. In Tie-Dye process , the fabric is already woven and then the tie-dye is done , but in Ikat, the process involves the patterns to be dyed and binded into the threads before cloth is weaved. The yarns are dyed prior , and then tight wrapping is done in desired patterns. The binding is then done. To create a new pattern the yarns are dyed again with different designs.

Ikkat weave

Origin and History

Ikat is traditionally followed in many countries around the world including India. Especially in Japan one of earliest followers of Ikat printing technique , Ikat is called as “Kasuri” in Japan. The Tenganan village in Indonesia also follow the Ikat printing technique. Orissa, a State in India follow quite an indegineous Ikat weaving technique called as “Sambalpuri” ikat, “Bhoodan Pochampally” in Telungana district and “Patan Patola” from Patan of Gujarat follow different style of Ikat weaving which needs intensive skilled labour which takes lot of time and effort in dyeing and weaving. Ikat Exports Of.Ltd. based in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, is probably one of the largest producers of Orisaa ikat handloom fabric and other products.

Indonesian Ikat weaving community

Types of Ikat

WARP IKAT :- A type of yarn called Warp yarn is used to Dye using ikat technique. This warp is specifically produced in Indonesia.

WEFT IKAT :- It is the weaving of weft yarn that carries the dyed pattern. This pattern appears during the weaving process only, they are much slower to weave than warp ikat.

DOUBLE IKAT :- It is a techique were both Warp and Weft yarns are resist dyed prior to the weaving. As the process sounds complicated so the weaving . It is the most difficult to make, so the rates of the Double Ikat sarees are expensive too . This process is under use only in three countries. India, Japan and Indonesia . The Patola ikkat made from Patan of Gujarat follow this technique on fine silk yarns coming in different shades. It is the most complicated process . Patola sarees are an extraordinary achievement in the textile arts. This much sought after technique is used for trading by the East India Company in the earlier days, so the double ikat weaving started to follow in other country like Indonesia. This reflects the prized influence of the Patola tradition.

Double Ikat Patola Saree

PASAPALLI IKAT:- Pasapalli ikat sarees are made in Odissa, India. The word Pasapalli is derived from ‘Pasa’, means board game with four clear parts. The Pasapalli saree is made with same technique in saree or material mostly consisting of checkered designs .

Pasapalli Ikat Checked Saree

Pinnacle of Ikat

Ikat is predominantly used in 3 states in India – Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. But the ikat craft reached in greater heights and surpassed individual perfection in Orissa. Orissa ikat work is the most commonly used ikat work in saree nowadays. They belong to the Meher community of Orissa who take their craft very serious and strive hard to perfect this beautiful art on sarees. But the Orissa ikat is not only used in sarees , it’s also been used in Upholstery, footwear, handbags. Depending on intricacy of the designs, pattern and material used, the prices differ accordingly. The Orissa ikat sarees double as Casual wear and Grand wear . It’s worn by many celebrities for different occssions but it has also been worn for casual outing , everyday work wear purpose.

Orissa Ikat Artisans


Traditionally ikat sarees are weaved or dyed by artisans using their skilled hands. Given the rising demand and modernization of the techniques, in some places automated machines are also used to complete the process. For silk ikat sarees , a dry cleaning is must required. And for cotton ikat sarees the best method is the age old tradition of barley water soaking.

Traditional ikat sarees take upto 7 months to complete. The process of weaving ikat is done by two skilled artisans at a time. By using the automated process to complete the six yards to make a saree , a time consuming 14 steps is followed to bring out a complete ikat saree. As the process is difficult, the results are worth it .

Pochampally Ikat Kota Saree



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