Adire ia an ordinary commercially woven cloth that is transformed by hand dying with localy made indigo dye. To create the elaborate patterns of adire the artist blocks the dye from reaching the surface of the cloth. This is done by painting or stenciling with a starch such as cassava paste, or by tying or sewing knots and seams. This pattern is called sun bebe or "lifting up the sun," and is made painting with starch resist. The pattern name refers to the beads girls wore around their hips. While dancing the beads would move up and down. The beads were especially worn by girls who were to be married, and in private ceremonial dances, they performed before their future husbands.
Adire was first produced in quantity in the late nineteenth century, with production dwindling by World War II. The 1960s saw a revived interest in adire with new patterns, and new uses superceeding the original use as women's wrappers.