Have you ever heard of ikat? Ikat is a style of fabric where the yarns are wrapped in a resist, dyed and then woven. Because the yarns are dyed first, before the weaving process, the resulting fabric has a feathering effect in the design that is iconic of the ikat style. I love this blog that gets into all the details of ikat from the Sustainable Fashion Collective. I have been dyeing and weaving this fabric for my travel bags and other products for my collection.
For my process, I start by winding my warp for the loom. I wind the warp into 1 inch chains which makes it much easier to wrap the resists in a pattern.
The warp is usually 10 yards long and I stretch them out (in my backyard) until they are taught.
Then I wrap the resist and prep my yarns for dyeing.
Finally I can dye the yarn chains in my indigo vat! After they are dyed and rinsed, the chains are unwrapped from the resists and they are ready for the loom.
The weaving process is so much fun, but also a bit tedious at the beginning. Threading the loom takes several hours and includes threading the reed, heddles and then tying on.
Once everything is threaded on the loom it is time to weave! Ikat is traditionally woven in plain weave. You may have done this weaving pattern as a child in school. The yarn travels through the warp alternating over and under each thread.
Once the yardage is woven, I cut it off the loom, do a final wash and press and then begin cutting pieces for travel bags and other products.
Take a look at this little video I posted on Instagram about making ikat fabric for pillows!