I recently unearthed some fabrics I bought from the now-defunct Kasuri Dyeworks in Berkeley maybe 13 or 14 years ago. This was during my obsessive quilting phase and I am so glad I made the pilgrimage to Kasuri Dyeworks before it closed.
The fabrics I unearthed were mostly Japanese ikats, or kasuri. There was one piece, in particular, that I paid a goodly sum for. These fabrics are typically 14-inches wide (suitable for kimono).
First, take a look at this particular fabric that I bought:
and here is a closeup:
What is amazing about this fabric, is that the indigo dye is applied to the thread before the fabric has been woven. Imagine the accuracy that must go into this process! Now, there are other cultures, such as several in South America, that also use this ikat process, but the resulting woven fabric, while beautiful, does not have the same impressive accuracy of high quality kasuri. And if the technical difficulty wasn't high enough, the traditional kasuri changes the design every several inches, as you can clearly see on my length of fabric.
Gorgeous. I originally bought this fabric thinking I might use it in a quilt, but it was pricey. I recall that this piece (which included one repeat of each of the designs) cost me over $100. Yes, expensive, but certainly worth it for the craftsmanship. However, I chickened out, I guess, because the fabric was lovingly put away and never used.
Now that I have brought it out again, I know I can never cut it. It's too amazing, too precious. So, I may hem the ends and turn it into a table runner. I think the fabric might enjoy that, so long as I keep drippy candles away from it. :)
I recently bought a Japanese fabric that very much reminded me of the traditional kasuri. In this case, every several inches it changes the weave to produce a different pattern. It is a stretch woven fabric, containing a fairly high percentage of lycra.
This fabric is actually black, though it appears to be charcoal in this photo. And, unlike the kasuri, this fabric has been cut and is being sewn up into a top. I'll be posting it once it's finished and I can corral a child into photographing it. :)