Ikkat is a resist dyeing technique that is used to pattern cotton and silk fabrics to make fine handloom saris and tunics. The art dates back to the 12th century when artisans in India started dyeing yarns before weaving them into fabric. For Ikat printing, the yarns are resist-dyed individually or in bulk by tightly wrapping them at specific points so as to form desired patterns. These bindings can be further altered to colour the fabric with multiple hues. After completing the dyeing process, yarns are separated and then woven into cloth. The process of ikat dyeing distinguishes it from tie-dye and batik where printing is done after weaving the cloth.
Types of Ikat Silk sarees
Patan in Gujarat produces one of the most expensive variants of ikat silk drapes. The sarees woven here have double prints which are formed by using dyed weft and warp yarns. Such sarees have to be woven very carefully so as to coordinate the shades on the yarns with the desired pattern on the sari. These drapes are known as Patan Patola. They are very expensive and are preferred by affluent families for their wedding wardrobe. They also make a priceless heirloom in a number of Gujarati communities.
While Patan prints are sharp and well defined, Sambalpuri ikat saris from Orissa are more subtle and have a slightly blurred effect. These saris are available with either single ikat (weft or warp) or double ikat. Pasapalli saris are another variant which are made in Odisha and are characterized by checkered designs.
The beauty of handloom
An ikkat sari is the result of laborious processes done by skilled artisans in the handlooms of India. As a saree-lover, an ikat silk drape would be a beautiful addition to your collection. It can be accessorized with intricate metal jewellery like jhumkis for a perfect ethnic look. With the rising preference of towards hand-crafted Indian products, ikat saris have been seeing an increasing demand from globally located Indians, thus making the art popular all around the world!