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So often we are asked if our ikat fabrics can be used for upholstering chairs. The answer is “yes but...”. Here is an explanation of “ but” part:

    1. Uzbek ikat fabrics are hand woven artisanal fabrics. The fiber mix of ikat fabrics varies from pure ikat silk to ikat silk/cotton blends and pure ikat cotton. For chair upholstery you will need thick ikat cotton or a blend with significantly less silk than cotton. This type of ikat fabric often feels like linen.

  1. Ikat fabrics are fabrics mainly used in fashion and in interior decoration for ikat curtains, ikat pillows, etc. Ikat weaving process has not been designed to produce a heavy use ikat upholstery fabric. Hence, if you plan to use the fabric for a chair which will be used a lot - you can certainly use it but be prepared to reupholster it on a regular basis.

Here are examples of chairs at Minzifa restaurant in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The chairs are restored vintage chairs, the upholstery ikat fabric is modern day Uzbek ikat fabrics.  In my opinion - the chairs look awesome! 

Should you have questions on heaviness of a particular ikat material we have online, please do not hesitate to drop a line - we are here to help! 

Uzbek ikat upholstered vintage chair

Upholstered ikat chair Minzifa restaurant Bukhara

Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Have you seen Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabanna’s Sicilian villa? The villa is as colorful and bold as D&G fashion itself. Sicily is omnipresent throughout interior decorations - ceramic tiles, Sicilian pine cones, walls in colorful Italian plaster. For me the wall colors are too wild for a home but then we have to remember - this was a getaway villa for D&G couple who mainly worked from gray industrial MIlan. They probably missed colors of Sicily, its lemons and ceramics!

So as I check one picture after another, studying textiles and furniture what do I see? Did I see that right? Among wooden Italian furniture there is a sofa upholstered in Uzbek suzani! Madonna Santa! Uzbek suzani in Dolce and Gabanna’s villa in Stromboli? For those of you still struggling and doubting whether you should be bold and use Uzbek suzani, go for it! Be brave! Be different! The villa is for sale here. You can buy the villa which comes with that sofa upholstered in Uzbek suzani or you can buy Uzbek suzani here and upholster your furniture. Good luck with whatever path you chose to embark on!

Dolce and Gabbana Sicilian villa, Uzbek suzani upholstered sofa

Image credit: Gionale di Sicilia

Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

We owe inspiration for this post to this bed styling photo from One King’s lane. Do you see that bed? 
Did you notice black and white Ikat fabric bedcover?
Do you think it is true love too?
 :)

ikat fabric bedroom styling

Source: One Kings Lane | How to style Bed

Black and white is a classic. It is one of the most widely used color combination for a reason. It is about polarity,

two extremes, light and absence of light, full reflection of light and full absorption of light. Black and white is so retro
yet always fresh and trendy.

We have a similar black and white Ikat fabric in stock to make a similar bedcover.
For questions or custom orders, please contact us through a contact form. 

 

Black and white silk ikat fabric Black and white cotton ikat fabric

Black and white  cotton / silk ikat fabric | UzbekAlive

0 Comments | Posted By Curi @ UzbekAlive

Satin silk ikat fabric in black and white from Uzbekistan

This kind of ikat fabric is becoming a rare find these days. You would ask "why"?  Ikat fabrics have been in trend, their production is growing and we see them everywhere from fashion runways to interior decoration magazines. Well, because these ikat fabrics have a history and everything with a history is already faschinating, enchanting, valuable...

So what's so special about this Black and White ikat fabric? It was made before 1991 when the former USSR collapsed and with it collapsed the command economy.  The production of this silk ikat fabric was considered "needed for the people" by then Soviet State, included in production plans and manufactured according to Soviet State textile standards. 

The Soviet government did not allow any form of enterpreneurship because the economy needed to be planned and controlled.  The State determined what needed to be produced and everyone worked for that State. If an ikat maker wanted to make ikat fabrics he had to go work for the government and be paid a salary because having his own business was not an option. This is what this fabric is about.

  • - Soviet.
  • - Planned based on Soviet analytics of supply and demand.
  • - 100% silk.
  • - Hand dyed but machine woven on a Soviet industrial loom.
  • - New, never used.
  • - Today it is considered vintage
  • - ... and we only have 1.95 meters in stock

0 Comments | Posted By Curi @ UzbekAlive

Everything in nature is shaped a certain way to serve a specific function. The same is true for everything we, humans, create - there is a function we address by creating a product in a certain shape and we try to do it in the most cost effective way.

Let’s take Uzbekistan’s Ikat weaving culture and long silk scarf production which is directly linked to it. Uzbekistan has been an Ikat weaving culture for millennia. Ikat fabric artisans are famous around the world for their spectacular silk Ikat fabrics with bold and colorful Ikat patterns. We don’t know how an idea of making silk scarves was born or who came up with it. Most likely some creative soul just took some fabric and started wearing it as a long silk scarf. Regardless of historical facts behind the making of silk scarves, the artisans responded to a demand - they started making proper long silk scarves.

UzbekAlive’s silk scarves are long and narrow because scarves are a product closely related to ikat fabrics. Ikat fabric is woven on hand looms the width of which is limited to 50-60cm the most, you can read more about the ikat fabrics’ width limitation here. So, when someone came up with an idea of making Ikat silk scarves, it was only logical to take an existing production process for Ikat fabrics and modify it slightly to start making the long silk scarves.

Long silk scarf can be worn as a head scarf, as a neck scarf or a shoulder shawl. It is an absolute “must have” for traveling. Unique properties of silk will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. A long silk scarf folds into a small piece of fabric, takes very little space in your bag and can be the only accessory you need to transform your look from casual to glamorous.

Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Suzani, beautiful hand embroidered suzani which in our case we are using as a smashing table runner!

Here is one of them fully hand emboidered in Uzbekistan which we suggest to use as a festive table runner. Perfect for holidays! This could be the the main decor item which will add that festive touch to your dining room! We have only one in stock, so, hurry and get started with your early Christmas shopping! 

Close up shot of the Uzbek suzani table runner. Please click on the image to be taken to product details.

Red floral hand embroidered suzani tablerunner Uzbekistan

This will make an excellent tablerunner for smaller tables. Most importantly, everything else can be kept simple. Just have one very festive piece of tabledecor and you are all set! 

Red floral hand embroidered suzani table setting Uzbekistan

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Uzbek ikat fabrics are inique in many ways.

First and foremost, they are made of 100% manural fibers. Depending on a fabric, the fiber content varies from pure silk ikat fabric, cotton and silk blend ikat fabric (also knows as "adras") and pure cotton ikat material ("boz") .

Secondly, ikat fabric making to this day they is an entirely manual process.

Thirdly, and this is the point to which we would like to devote this post, most ikat fabrics made in Uzbekistan have a luxurious moire pattern.

What is moire you might ask? Wikipedia defines moire fabric as follows: 

"Moire is produced from two distinctly different methods of finishing. Calendering produces the true moire, known as "moire antique" and "moire Anglaise", which is a purely physical phenomenon. In calendering, the fabric is folded lengthwise in half with the face side inward, and with the two selvedges running together side by side. To produce moire, ribbed rollers are used, and the ribs produce the watermark effect. The rollers polish the surface and make the fabric smoother and more lustrous."

In simple English, it is a finishing process as a result of which the ikat fabric has a beautiful lustrous  watermarks-like finishing. Please see a photo below.

Word of caution: the finishing will wash off if the fabric is washed. Therefore, dry cleaning is recommended for  ikat fabrics.

Polkadot brown white ikat fabric

Polka dot ikat fabric in brown and white

Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

We often come across people from other parts of the world who are passionate about Uzbek Ikat fabrics as much as we are. This post is a teaser to make sure your “I sooooo want to go to Fergana Valley!” finally comes true.

If you are in love with Ikat fabrics the place in Fergana Valley where you need to go is Margilan. Margilan flourished as an ancient settlement on one of the branches of the Silk Road. How sericulture and silk Ikat fabric making developed here is surrounded with of legends. The present day fact is - artisans of Margilan are keepers of sericulture and Ikat weaving traditions of Uzbekistan.

- Population of Margilan: 215,400 (2014) 

- Each house in Margilan has something to do with silk making, Ikat dying, ikat weaving or ikat fabric distribution. 

-  Silk yarn is mainly produced at a factory called “Margilan Silk Vats”. The factory runs on French equipment from “Les Atelier Diederichs de Bourbon” which was imported after WW2. For the local market they produce silk yarn for Margilani artisans. The rest of their silk fabrics is exported from Uzbekistan. A tour of the factory can probably (!) be organized, you need to ask your travel guide to arrange one for you.

- “Yodgorlik” (formerly state owned factory) is a where you can see Ikat making process from a cocoon to a lush hand died and handloom woven Ikat fabrics. Here you can also buy their Ikat fabrics.

- There are several types of fabrics made in Margilan:

Boz: 100% cotton Ikat fabric. 

Adras: silk and cotton fabric. In case of Ikat adras, the same pattern is visible on both sides

Atlas: silk or silk/cotton fabric with a smooth shiny surface. 

Ala bahmal: silk Ikat velvet

Sheer silk fabric: mainly produced at “Margilan Silk Vats”

- All fibers (mainly silk and cotton) used in the production of fabrics are natural and are sourced in Uzbekistan.

- Dyes are often natural, however, for bold and bright patterns synthetic dyes are often used. We will be updating this post as we go.

- The best places to buy ikat fabrics is either directly from artisans or at a bazaar which will offer a greater selection of ikat material.

- Dyes are often natural, however, for bold and bright patterns synthetic dyes are often used. We will be updating this post as we go.

- The best places to buy ikat fabrics is either directly from artisans or at a bazaar which will offer a greater selection of ikat material.

We will be updating this post as we go. As of now do you some burning questions we can answer? :)

Margilan silk VATS silk yarn weaving

Equipment at "Margilan Silk Vats"

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

First there was late Oscar de la Renta’s sensational 2005 fashion collection, then many others followed his footsteps. Uzbek Ikat fabric traditions continue to mesmerize both fashion designers and fashion lovers with their bold ikat patterns, ikat weaving craftsmanship and uniqueness.

We have recently come across works of a very young Italian fashion designer from Turin who shares our love for Uzbek Ikat fabrics. Meet Cecilia de Marchi! Cecilia designs for a brand Beltepa which has a store in Turin - those in Italy who have not had a first hand experience of Uzbek ikat fabric should definitely check it out. Last month Cecelia received the first prize at Barolo Fashion Show in Barolo, Piedmont for her captivating collection. Cecilia has a skill for mixing different textures of fabrics ranging from solid fabrics to rich and bold velvet silk Ikat. 

We applaud Cecilia for her beautiful fashion collection and are looking forward to be further enchanted by her works in the future. 

Beltepa velvet silk ikat collection

Photo credit: Beltepa Official at Instagram

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Ikat fabric traditions exist in different parts of the world. There is no consensus as to whether these traditions have spread from one place, emerged independently in different parts of the world or there has been some exchange of skills along the way. Could be all three! What we know today is that there are three types of Ikat fabrics being made: warp Ikat, weft Ikat and double Ikat. The geography of Ikat making is predominantly Asia, but also Latin America.

Warp Ikat fabric is considered to be the easiest to produce. In warp Ikat fabric the warp yarn is dyed to have Ikat pattern while weft yarn is solid.

Weft Ikat is the opposite of warp Ikat - weft yarn carries the Ikat pattern while warp is a solid color yarn. Weft Ikat is more complex and is more time consuming. Picture:

Double Ikat is the most labour intensive, time demanding and elaborate since both warp and weft yarns have Ikat pattern which once woven creates a very intricate pattern. There are only three countries which carry double Ikat traditions - that is India, Indonesia and Japan.

Often times it is sufficient to look at an ikat pattern to tell the origin of ikat fabric. For example, Uzbek Ikat fabrics are usually bold In colors, often in contrasting colors with large patterns.For example, take a look at this ikat fabric. Just from the passionate colors and large patterns we know - this is work of Uzbek artisans!

Bayram cotton silk ikat fabric from Uzbekistan

Indian ikat fabrics, in contrast, are more tranquil, often in smaller geometrical patterns.Here is a beautiful example of gray and white warp ikat fabric from another Ikat fabric online store, The Design Cart

 Gray and white cotton ikat fabric

 

However, sometimes even we get confused about the origin of the fabrics because with internet - thank God for living in 21st century! - it is easier for everyone to learn from each other. This beautiful ikat fabric, also of Indian origin, could easily be Uzbek Ikat fabric while it is not - this is Indian warp ikat fabric:

Blue and white ikat fabric

 

Now you might ask what type of ikat weaving method s used for Uzbek Ikat fabrics. Well, Uzbeks are very simple people and we like to keep things likewise :) It is warp ikat.

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive
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