Ikat, or Ikkat, is a dyeing technique wherein bindings or substances resisting dye penetration are applied over the fibres in pre-determined patterns and then the threads are dyed. Alteration of bindings and using more than one colour for dyeing produces multi-coloured thread effect. Removal of the bindings and the subsequent weaving of the threads would form the desired pattern woven in the fabric.
The determining characteristic of ikat is the dyeing of patterns, by means of bindings, on the threads prior to the weaving of the fabric. More the precision in the application of the resist bindings, finer would be the pattern formed.
Tie and Dye is also a similar dyeing method but with a difference. Here the fabric is woven first and the resist bindings are then applied to the fabric before colouring.
Ikkat is classified into single-ikkat and double-ikat styles
Single Ikat fabric are created by interweaving tied and dyed warp with plain weft or resisted weft yarns is inserted in plain weft.
Double ikat involves the process of resisting on both warp and weft and then interlacing them to form intricate yet well composed patterns.
In warp ikat the dyeing of the threads would be of the warp (lengthwise lay of threads) across which the plain weft (feed of thread woven breadth wise across the warp) is led through.
In weft ikat it would be vice versa. In double ikat both the warp threads and the weft threads would be dyed separately and then woven together.
In warp ikat the patterns are evident on the warp lay even before the weft is introduced. Ikat created by dyeing the warp is simple as compared to the making of either weft ikat or double ikat.