Sari to Sarong

Talks & Presentations

Sari To Sarong

Discover the ancient art of Ikat dyeing and weavingThe Ikat textile was once used to symbolize wealth and prestige. It is now a popular fashion trend with celebrities and hipsters alike thanks to the work of various designers. This page is dedicated to Ikat from various parts of the world, which we will continue to explore. We will share our passion and evolving knowledge with like-minded people through our talks and textiles tours.

Indigo is considered to be the world’s oldest textile dye

The term ikat comes from the Indonesian verb ‘mengikat’, which means to bind or to tie off. This refers to the tie-dyeing method used to give textiles their unique vibrancy of design and colour. Ikat has now come to refer to the textiles themselves as well as the process. It is a traditional ancient art of a technique with an extremely sophisticated weaving of Indonesia. 

In ikat the resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered to create a new pattern and the yarns dyed again with another colour. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth. In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik the resist is applied to the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth. Because the surface design is created in the yarns rather than on the finished cloth, in ikat both fabric faces are patterned.

A characteristic of ikat textiles is an apparent “blurriness” to the design. The blurriness is a result of the extreme difficulty the weaver has lining up the dyed yarns so that the pattern comes out perfectly in the finished cloth. The blurriness can be reduced by using finer yarns or by the skill of the craftsperson. Ikats with little blurriness, multiple colours and complicated patterns are more difficult to create and therefore often more expensive. However, the blurriness that is so characteristic of ikat is often prized by textile collectors.

From ancient trade ties to a fashion statement across 30 countries, Ikat is a really fascinating weave, which universally symbolizes wealth, power and prestige. A shared textile art especially between India and Indonesia.

A visually beautiful and artistic, textile dyeing and weaving technique involves specific computations that focus on mathematical symmetry – where every inch is calculated and connected. Read More >>

Books on Indigo

Indian Ikat Textiles

Author: Rosemary Crill
Purchase: Abebooks

Sari to Sarong

Author: Robyn J. Maxwell
Purchase: Amazon

World Textiles

Author: John Gillow
Purchase: Amazon

Related Tour

Threads of Tradition - 25 Days

2024 - 20th Sept to 14th Nov
2025 - 28th Sept to 22nd Oct

A farm-to-fashion textiles tour goes off the beaten track to meet master artisans at their work and showcase the best in the traditional textiles industry covering India's West, Central and Eastern regions.

Tour Details   |  Book Your Seat

Related Articles

Uncovering the History of Ikat

Andhra Pradesh and, subsequently, the separated state of Telangana, are celebrated as the place of birth of Indian ikat. The most distinct ikat of Andhra Pradesh is the Telia Rumal, which is charactrised by the obscure process of oil treating the yarn. Read more >>

The Slow Fashion Movement

Links to Social Enterprises


Kala Raksha – http://www.kala-raksha.org/

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Indigo is an ancient dye that attracted the name ‘‘Blue Gold’ for its strong performance as a high-value trading commodity in ancient times as it was considered a luxury item. It has been used in many civilisations and was popular in Mayan, Egyptian, Japanese, African and Indian cultures. 

Sari to Sarong

What is the common thread that ties India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia? It is the ‘Ikat’ weave. The word ‘Ikat’ means ‘tie’ in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages and refers to the tie and dye weaving technique which has been used for centuries to create beautiful artisanal Ikat handlooms.

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