Ikat Indulgence


Fabric is my life. When I met Ikat it was a match made in heaven (if not on J-date). My exotic wiring can’t get enough of the resist-dyed, Uzbek village motifs tempting much of the design world, from world-class vendors like Travers and Scalamandre to fashion legends Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang.

I’ve been seeking it out for myself and clients, wherever I can locate it, following my first introduction while producing the book, Nursery Style. Textile designer Serena Dugan harvested a vintage piece using sites like Quantissimo, which sells the true Turkish delights: pillow covers, remnants, clothing, and more. We made the yardage into a sumptuous pillow for a room we staged, and I have since sought out other sources to upholster with this stunning material for my clients.

Among the best to-the-trade peddlers, the De Sousa Hughes showroom in San Francisco carries the finest assortment of reproduction Ikat, like the Mayfair print from Zimmer+Rohde (coral or aqua woven on on a beige field.)

And if you’ve never visited the Madeline Weinrib Atelier, you’re missing out. Weinrib, whose father founded ABC Carpet and Home, New York’s chicest retail design hub, offers perhaps the most stunning assortment to date. It’s pricey (you might pay $500 for a throw pillow) but you can buy yardage to cover a cushion and put an alternative fabric on the back. She has more than a dozen monochromatic ikat choices in delicious limes, blues and oranges, and a variety of more flourished Suzani prints.

You’ll be glad to know these fabrics are free of chemicals and are woven by hand on narrow looms – so narrow,in fact, the Uzbek Ikat usually only extends from 15 to 24 inches wide. The fabric is also produced in Thailand and tends to be wider there (34 inches).  

The ancient artistic process involves dying the threads in natural dyes prior to weaving the fabric. Ikat means "to bind" and this refers to tightly tying sections of thread and dippng them in the dye pot. Areas of thread that are tied resist the tint and that is how the lively pattern is created.

Images: Madeline Weinrib Atelier

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.