Your Weekend Wow!

I love ikat woven textiles. There is something magical about being able to execute complex designs by planning the dyeing and weaving sequences alone. It consistently blows my mind.Happily, historical examples abound.

This is a gorgeous example, tarnished only by the watermark splotched in the midst of each photo – I could not find images without the watermark. I also wish they would have shown it on a true elliptical hoop, as it was meant to be worn, instead of an early era bustle which doesn’t do the skirt full justice.

1865-1869. American (attributed). Dress: lavender taffeta woven in warp ikat flowers, high round neck, purple center front buttons, purple ribbon with rondels across chest in “V” and fringe, skirt full in back. Belt attached over skirt. Via Kent State University Museum.

Kent State Ikat Gown

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I really do love ikat weaving. Here are a few more examples ranging from the 1700’s to the 1860’s.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, item no. 1971.242.1a–e, c1820, British, silk dress.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, item no. 1971.242.1a–e, c1820, British, silk dress.

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1840-1849. Brown, beige, black dress of woven silk ikat, stripes and ikat checks.

1840-1849. Brown, beige, black dress of woven silk ikat, stripes and ikat checks.

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Ruffled wrapper, ikat muslin, morning dress, Regency era, 1812-14, from "Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail"

Ruffled wrapper, ikat muslin, morning dress, Regency era, 1812-14, from “Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail”

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Robe à la Polonaise 1780 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Robe à la Polonaise 1780 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (both are in ikat woven silk)

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Robe à la Polonaise (detail) ca. 1780, British, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1981.245.2

Robe à la Polonaise (detail) ca. 1780, British, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1981.245.2

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Silk Ikat dress, ca. 1855. Ikat is a dyeing technique that makes the pattern in fabric. Photo courtesy of Mary D. Doering.

Silk Ikat dress, ca. 1855. Ikat is a dyeing technique that makes the pattern in fabric. Photo courtesy of Mary D. Doering.

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c. 1860 brown dress Another fine example of manipulating a printed fabric to become the true feature of the design.

c. 1860 brown dress Another fine example of manipulating a printed fabric to become the true feature of the design.

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Production details a little fuzzy? It took me a while to fully appreciate how ikat fabrics are made. For a nifty time-lapse video of a contemporary ikat wall hanging being made, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfa7srYWo4s. Now imagine the planning needed for industrial production in the 1700’s and 1800’s, let alone the complex designs that required structured dyeing of both warp and weft, and you’ll understand my admiration for the artists behind it.

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2 thoughts on “Your Weekend Wow!

  1. Gorgeous dresses, and wonderful fabrics!

    My 2 cents: That probably is the right hoop for the first dress. After 1865, the hoop started pushing the fullness to the rear. Pre-bustle, still, but to my bustle-loving eyes, more graceful than the round hoops. 🙂

    • I love the look of elliptical hoops, too. The problem I have with the lavender ikat dress is that it looks, to my eye, like there is too much bustle and not enough hoop. I expected to see a definite elliptical shape, something like the dress below, and so it looks off to me. Just another part of my learning process, so thanks for pointing it out. 😉
      dress with an elliptical hoop

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