Madras patch fabric: More on Madras
By BUD for Fabrics-textiles.com
Some of the most colorful and beautiful fabric you can find is called Madras patchwork fabric. Named for Madras, the city in India where it was initially made, the fabric is a conglomerate of small squares of cotton material patched together in various tiled patterns to form a glorious field of colored plaid.
Even though the city of Madras is now called Chennai, the material created here is every bit as glorious today as it ever was. Traditionally the material was created from cotton fabrics, which were dyed with vegetable and other organic dyes.
These fabrics were generally created as striped or plaid patterns that tended to bleed their colors with every wash, giving a telltale blurred effect to the material.
The individual squares of carefully chosen fabric are stitched together by hand and machine sewing to create a pattern of colorful plaid squares which is practically identical on both sides of the material.
The designers responsible for the color coordination of the squares may choose up to 15 different plaid patterns and colors of fabric for each design of material. The distinctive squares of fabric are generally 3 inches square and run across the material, giving the traditional Madras patchwork look to the material.
With more modern methods of coloring, the madras fabrics of today are much more stable and even more colorful than many traditional patterns. Southeast India is still the main manufacturing center for this colorful material and almost every yard of madras material in the world is still painstakingly crafted by hand.
The material is famed for its softness, light strength and coolness making it an ideal choice for summer wear the world over. Many designs of pants, shorts, blouses and dresses are created from this traditional material. The English word for patch is actually created from the Indian (Telug) word “pach’chadamu” meaning two pieces of cotton cloth joined together.