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Materials for traditional Chilkat robes are prepared by hand. Mountain goat hair and cedar bark fibers are spun together to form strong warps. The stylized designs that make up the weft are worked in yellow, black, blue-green, and undyed wool. A Chilkat robe is created on a single bar loom, but individual weft threads are not carried across the full width of the work; rather, the fabric is woven in sections, which are ultimately stitched together. One small design element, such as a face, might take many hours to weave.

Chilkat robes have always been highly prized, for their beauty, for their material value, and as proud displays of their wearers' heritage. In traditional times, as a demonstration of wealth and status, a clan leader might cut up a robe and distribute the sections to guests at a potlatch. From these remnants, the recipients made leggings, pouches, etc., to be worn and displayed at their own ceremonial occasions. Today, Chilkat weavers create these smaller items of regalia, as well as full-size robes.