Updated 03/12/2024

Ikat in Indonesian language means "to tie". Ikat is an Indonesian dyeing technique used to make patterns on fabric by tying patterns on the yarn before dyeing and then weaving the yarn into textile.

Our woman artisan in Toraja weaving ikat fabric


Ikat is a traditional resist-dyeing technique used to create patterns on textiles, particularly in Indonesia. The process involves tying and dyeing the threads before weaving them into fabric, resulting in a unique and intricate design.

The first step is to prepare the cotton or silk threads by stretching them on a frame. The next step is to draw the design onto the threads using a pencil or a marker. Then, the parts of the threads that are not to be dyed are tied tightly with raffia or plastic strips.

Once the threads are tied, they are immersed in a dye bath. The dyeing process can be repeated several times to achieve the desired color intensity. After the threads have been dyed and dried, they are carefully untied and sorted according to color and pattern.

The final step is to weave the threads into fabric using a traditional loom. The weaver carefully aligns the threads to create the desired pattern, resulting in a unique and beautiful textile that is highly prized in Indonesia and around the world.

In contrast, in batik technique, the resist is applied to the woven cloth using wax, whereas in ikat, the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth.

Grandma weaving ikat indonesia
Grandma Panggau, 80 years old, preparing the yarn for ikat fabric in Toraja
At Kasih Co-op, we sourced our ikat fabric from artisans from all over Indonesia, including Bali, Java (Jepara), Sulawesi (Toraja) and East Nusa Tengara. We worked with woman-owned small business to create our pouf, pillow covers and throws.
Take a look at this video about our ikat pillows, poufs and throws making process. Our latest collection of handwoven ikat pillows are made of silk and cotton and have textured patterns.

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