The technique of Ikat weaving is centuries old.  It is not certain exactly where it originated, but it has roots in India and South East Asia and is still produced today in countries all over the world.  Ikat weaving is a process of  resist dyeing the threads used in order to create a pattern once the threads are woven together.  Different cultures are known for their different techniques and the intricate patterns are passed down through the families of the weavers. Today I am going to show you how some designers in NYC and all over the country are using the amazing fabrics and where you can get them for a fraction of what those designer’s would charge you (Ebay!)

2682418905_e7a9e334a8 by jen west

I love furniture upholstered in Ikat fabrics like this French Louis chair by Jen West that I found on flickr! It is a very simple DIY project!

Madeline Weinrib started this trend and carries an entire collection of French furniture upholstered in Ikat fabrics  available at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC shown here…



Plum_WingChair, madeline weinrib


I pretty much adore all of these chairs and am thinking about doing something similar as the head chairs in my dining room, but I am going to do it the budget-friendly way…Ebay (with some help from my other pal, Craigslist)!

So here is what you do…

Go onto craigslist and put in “french furniture” or “french chair” and this is an example of what you’ll find…


$250 for the pair!   I found an UNBELIEVABLE upholstered French wing back armchair for $100 two weeks ago on craigslist and didn’t end up getting it and am now kicking myself, but my husband would have killed me if I brought home another chair with nowhere to put it!

Anyway… this style is very good for this project because it is easily reupholstered. I did a pair myself and they came out amazing! I am not so good at sewing and these chairs require NO SEWING which is perfect. All you need is a staple gun ($15 at Home Depot) and some nailheads which you can order online or buy at an upholstery shop, and a can or two of spray paint. (FYI,  the primer is the MOST important thing when refinishing furniture and I only use B.I.N’s Shellac based primer because it will stick to anything previously applied to the chair and your new paint job won’t chip off afterwards!)

I love the gold painted frames that Weinrib does on the chairs and you can get that look with a can of gold metallic spray paint also available at HD! Only use the metallic paint with the can tops that look like gold foil (super shiny gold…can’t think of the brand, but you’ll see it)- don’t use a matte gold, it doesn’t turn out so great looking!

Next Step: Take a little virtual trip to Ebay! Type in “Ikat fabric” and you will have a plethora of options to choose from. Make sure that the width of the Ikat will work with the furniture you choose because Ikats are made in shorter widths 16″-24″, but sometimes come larger. You MAY have to sew two pieces together which is what Madeline Weinrib does on hers, so I apologize for saying NO SEWING was involved!

Here are some of the fabrics you will find…






You can purchase these for around $8-$18/yd. Another great budget-friendly place to find Ikats is at this online store Uzbeck Craft where they also have pre-made pillows in all of their gorgeous Ikat and Suzani fabrics…




Here are how some of the big wigs are using Ikats in today’s interiors…

jeffrey bilhuber

Jeffrey Bilhuber, a designer in New York City, used a beautiful ikat pillow on the sofa in this room to pull together the color palette in this understated space.  The ethnic pattern adds an eclectic aesthetic to the room.

house beautiful, 2009 march

In the March 2009 issue House Beautiful featured this room with the Ikat fabric roman shades and accent pillows.

ny apt of robert burke, by todd romano

This would have been a great room for my Masculine Decor blog! Todd Romano designed this apartment in NYC for client Robert Burke. Ikats are totally Man-Chic!

Hilary White Interior Design

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22 Comments to 'Ikat Fabric, Madeline Weinrib, and Ebay…OH, MY!'

Donna Halloran 26 Oct 09 at 5:54 am

I love your post and just want to share with your readers that my sotre carries very reasonably priced ikat pillow cover and other handwoven pillow covers in a variety of desings and colors. It is Please check it and you will be surprised by the breadth and depth of the line.

Tammy@InStitches 26 Oct 09 at 7:34 am

I have this exact project on my to do list !

Renee Gaddis 26 Oct 09 at 11:14 am

I love Ikat! I just upholstered a white french chair with ikat and it looks fabulous in the room.

gina 26 Oct 09 at 12:59 pm

Great post! I love when you do How to’s !! 🙂

Visual 26 Oct 09 at 1:39 pm

Would you believe Urban Outfitters has an Ikat slipper chair for around $300.?!
I love Ikat!
xo xo

I love the details in the fabrics! My favorite has to the the blue and white chair.

Gillian 30 Oct 09 at 9:28 am

I love hearing that HD and Ebay are as useful to others as they are to me. Great Post!

Jaime @ DOXA 07 Nov 09 at 11:21 am

Have always had an appreciation for the graphic qualities of an Ikat. Love the slate and saffron selection…gorgeous!

Ryann 20 Nov 09 at 1:52 pm

I have no idea how you found those fantastic chairs on craigslist for such a good price! I swear I have been looking for something like that for MONTHS now. Please post if you see more in the NY area and I would be forever grateful!

Lydia Slavutin 30 Nov 09 at 4:26 pm

Hi Material Girls!
I love this post, and all of your content! Just wanted to send my appreciation and urge you to add more to the NYC category. I conducted an interview with Emily from your site about a month ago, and it has received a lot of traffic. Thanks again!

down pillow 20 Dec 09 at 8:32 pm

Great-looking fabrics 🙂 I especially love the first one on the first chair – the pink & white coloring is reeally cute.

Dee Marksberry 21 Dec 09 at 11:47 am

I really enjoy the last image in the post. The colors, art, etc. really go well together and it’s very New York. Please check out my blog

Design Wanna-Be 04 Jan 10 at 9:31 pm

I can’t get enough of these beautiful fabrics! Thanks for the great ideas.

little jessy 12 Jan 10 at 8:06 am

Open the new ways to decorate your room with fabrics and usage of colors.

Furniture 15 Jan 10 at 11:05 am

Generally dying the weft Ikats are used when the precision of the pattern is not the main concern, and weaving of weft Ikat is much more difficult than warp Ikat.

maya 18 Jan 10 at 6:11 am

Those pillows look very middle eastern or south Asian, where can I find them?

Angelique Hoffman 24 Jan 10 at 9:57 am

Great blog! Love the style content and the pic’s you use to communicate the look described. We’re fairly obsessed with Ikat, Suzani’s and Kelly Wearstler. I included a link to your blog in our blog Look forward to reading more of your posts.

Ash 01 Feb 10 at 6:28 am

the color of false ceiling is awesome and also the dressing of the room too.

Shamima Sultana 02 Feb 10 at 12:41 am

wow…very innovative design..really like the design

enrolled agent exam 08 Mar 10 at 3:18 pm

Love all of the ideas! Understand about not wanting to bring home more chairs or stuff. ;o)

hallie Bodman 05 Jul 10 at 3:40 pm

help… anyone know of a source for any yardage of kravet’s beautiful ikat fabric “GADROON” in color way 317?

Lauren 21 Jan 11 at 9:31 am

Love the Jen West chair…do you know where the fabric came from? Would love your input! Thanks so much!

2 Links to 'Ikat Fabric, Madeline Weinrib, and Ebay…OH, MY!'

[…] & orange elephants to list a few) and we're having some custom made in a black & white Ikat fabric that adds a modern yet global graphic to ground some of the fabulous, saturated […]

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