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Jun 4, 2013

When Life Gets Stressful, Go Fabric Shopping!



Friends, I was going to title this post, "Patchwork Madras -- YEA or NAY?" but how many people even know what patchwork madras is?

Anyway, for me, patchwork madras is a definite yea, though much like ball fringe and sequins, a little goes a long way.  I've owned a vintage patchwork madras bucket cap -- a great thrift store find that even has a union label -- for many years now and love it: so lightweight and cool.







It's made from that wonderful gauzy Indian madras that's not so easy to find I've discovered.  I went to Mood today in search of some, and while they had half a dozen different patchworks to choose from, they were all heavier weight than the vintage madras in my hat -- more like regular shirting.

Anyway, I bought some, originally planning to make a shirt with it, but now I'm thinking shorts -- or even long pants.  Would that be too much?



I also bought this lovely pale pink linen, which I think coordinates very well with the madras, should I use it for pants.





The pink linen and the madras together are a little preppier than my usual style, but the combo does say summer, though more "summer in Martha's Vineyard" than summer sweating in the big city, which is what my summer seems destined to be like.

With all the commotion in the apartment this month, I am postponing the gray cotton-mohair suit jacket once again.  I can really only handle projects I can complete in a couple of days each, since I keep having to rearrange furniture and cover up everything with dropcloths.  I WILL make that jacket!

Moving right along, I received a lovely package in the mail today from MPB reader Tammy.  Can you guess what it is?



Ta da!



You still have no idea?  Well it's not a back scratcher or a bent barbecue skewer.  One more hint (I'm basically giving it away):



A million thanks, Tammy!  It works perfectly.

In closing, readers, what are your thoughts about patchwork madras, if you have any?  Is it too preppy for your taste -- too Thurston Howell III -- or, like seersucker, the perfect breezy summer fabric?

Have a great day, everybody!

52 comments:

  1. Hi Peter, understand about the renovations. Bravo for carrying on, and extra walks! I adore Patchwork Madras. Remember Bleeding Madras? Whatever preppies wore, you/others can take it from there, giving it a new twist. I also adore the pale pink linen. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  2. Okay, I think seersucker is yucky...but I think you can rock the madras patchwork.

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  3. Oh yeah, I knew what the "thing" was before you showed it in its proper place. I don't use one but I have three of them.

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    1. On a entirely unrelated note - my apologies for hijacking the post, Peter - I wanted to say that I used Gene Black's Youtube video on how to cut bias binding. Best. Thing. Ever. I ended up making yards of bias that way. So simple and clearly explained. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet given it a try!

      And back on topic - I love madras! Would probably go for shorts rather than trousers though. Seersucker however, I only like when used in conjunction with fun vintage prints. The stripey one, not so much.

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  4. I loved Thurston Howell III, epecially his ascots ha! I say go for it, madras pants!

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  5. Peter, man, what are you saying? The title of your post is responsible for my current financial situation!

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  6. I think the madras would make nice shorts, but not pants. Pants would be too wealthy-orthodontist-dad-playing-golf-y for my tastes.

    Also I would like to take this time and voice my hatred of seersucker. I know it feels nice and cool in the summer but something about it rubs me the wrong way... probably all that seering and suckering.

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  7. Peter - re: madras pants. It all depends on how ironic you want to be. If you want to go full on 1970s prepster, you've got to wear them with a pink or yellow LL Bean golf shirt with a twill and leather belt, no socks and old beat up boat shoes (and throw an old ratty cotton pullover over your shoulders and pronounce 'Aunty' as 'awn-tie' not 'ant-ie'). Oh yes, make sure the belt has little alligators or sailboats woven into the twill. And frankly, I think you'd look fantastic in them. :)

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  8. Patchwork madras is very mainstream now, but I do agree pants would remind me of some of my husbands golf outfits from years ago. Not that you wouldn't rock them as you did the toile pants!

    I've still never used my knee lever thingy. I'm sure it's quite handy, just haven't taken the time to try it.

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  9. How about a nice pair of loose drawstring pants for around the house (the male equivalent of the old "perfect for entertaining" muumuus our mothers wore)? I love cotton house-trousers that just get softer and more lived-in as time passes.

    But the madras pants and linen shirt would certainly be a go-to brunch option, at least through Labor Day...

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  10. I l0ove patchwork madras as well as seersucker. There is so much seersucker hate. I have a great little 3/4 sleeve crop jacket from Ann Taylor Loft in patchwork madras in lovely blue shades. I like the idea of shorts more than pants though. They do scream summer.

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  11. Shorts would be more fun than pants in that fabric I think! My dad had a pair of pants almost just like that but heavier on the warmer colors. We'll think of Tammy when we admire your beautiful pivots from now on!

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  12. Wear it? Good grief, I'd think twice about making anything with quilted madras. Here in Australia I have NEVER seen it used in garments. As for the knee lift -once you get used to it you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.

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  13. I'd go for shorts in the quilted madras, I think they'd get more wear than trousers. I did have some Ralph Lauren printed madras patchwork trousers about 25 years ago which I picked up from a thrift store, I was into the ironic golfing look back then. As for seersucker, I love it. My Mum made me some green and white seersucker shorts with a matching cap when I was about seven years old, I loved them.

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  14. One of my summer projects is creating patchwork madras from shirts I've cut up. My plan is to make a simple a-line skirt when I get the yardage constructed.

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  15. If you want mainstream, go for madras shorts with a linen top. But, considering your style, how about an over-the-top madras kilt?

    Seersucker yuck. My dad used to have a lot of seersucker throws/neck drapes he used in the barber shop. Can't get that image out of my mind.

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  16. I love it all! Make whatever your heart desires. I have just a couple of caveats regarding patchwork madras shirts. I would definitely go short sleeves. That will give you a longer wearing season. I made a long sleeved one, which I love, but I can only wear it briefly in the spring. After that it's too hot, and it doesn't work for fall. Secondly, you have to plan the cutting out carefully. All those seams can get bulky quick. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

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    1. Hey! Get back to that Belgian Chef's Jacket. Of all the great things you have made I am most anxious to see the outcome of this project(baited breath-tapping toe...)

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  17. Pink linen pants contingency here. There's a relief of sorts in the visual lightness and color or men's trousers in the summer. With your fine frame, they'll hang handsomely.

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  18. Hi Peter, I'm delighted the knee lifter bar arrived safely.

    The patchwork madra with the pale pink linen will make a fabulous summer outfit. Hope your apartment renos are finished soon.

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  19. Shorts for sure. As you said, a little goes a long way and I think it might be overwhelming in pants.

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  20. I think the madras should be for shorts...a shirt would be awkward with all the little patchwork seams. The linen would make a perfect camp shirt.

    I just discovered your blog a week or so ago and have been spending all my spare time reading every post since you started. (I am retired) I usually don't like sewing clothing but you may have inspired me to start again. I also have a blog Thimble Fingers about my sewing at
    csturgeo.blogspot.com

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  21. I had a pair of patchwork madras plaid pants (long) in college that I loved so much. So I say yay.

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  22. I'd go with shorts in the madras.

    In a related note, I have a plaid crinkled cotton/seersucker fabric that's super cute, but very narrow. Princess seams wouldn't work with it (it would be impossible to do any sort of matching). If I can't find a good pattern for it soon, it may end up going to Goodwill. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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    1. The Japanese yukata (informal robe) is traditionally made from 14"-wide fabric. Maybe a loose shirt or jacket made along those lines would work.

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  23. buy fabric responsibly.

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    1. ...and if you've been drinking, appoint a designated shopper!

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  24. Peter, I LOVE the combination! A light as air pink shirt and the madras for shorts...I do think the pants would be a bit too much in the plaid! Can't wait to see the finished project!

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  25. Not for me, but I can see you in the madras as shirt or shorts, though I do prefer it in shorts I think. Pink for a shirt?

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  26. I like the madras and pink linen together.

    And, "When life gets stressful go fabric shopping." Yes! That's what I need too.

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  27. I vote: Shorts,(pants may be too much, unless you are golfing in Palm Springs Cali) and use the pink linen for a sport coat. Again, that is really Palm Springs Cali, at least for the over 70 year set. LOL. The Gizmo you got in the mail is a knee attachment for your machine. Right ON!!!!!!!!!

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  28. Madras isn't my style, but I think it will be great on you, even if it is in a Nantucket sort of way. I'm kind of surprized about the seersucker hate - I love the stuff!

    BTW - I think I saw Madras at Metrotextiles a few weeks ago, but I don't remember the weight.

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  29. I love patchwork Madras myself. Back in the early 90's when I was in college, I made myself a baggy button down shirt out of some that had a orangy pink vibe to it. I wore it until it was faded and falling apart. I agree that the stuff I had was a lot heavier than what Madras shold be, but hey, I live in Alberta, and we don't get the long hot summers like everyone else does.

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  30. You will love that knee lifter as much as your rotary cutter. It's my favorite feature of the machine. Lane

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  31. Am I the only one who doesn't know what this "knee thing" is or does?

    Also, I love Madras. I recently saw a knee length A line skirt made of Madras and it was just charming.

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    1. Grace, I didn't know either but I was too bashful to be the first one to say it.

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    2. It raises and lowers the presser foot of my Bernina. You push it with your knee and the presser foot goes up.

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  32. Madras for shorts and the linen for a shirt. I just made a linen shirt for myself so I highly recommend it for warm to hot weather. I have 2 more linen shirts in the queue as soon as I get used to my husband being at home so much.

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  33. I love patchwork madras! I have a skirt, shorts and a dress. Love 'em all.

    That being said, your linen would be loverly for a button up shirt and the madras would make rockin' shorts! Or pants!

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  34. Love the fabric! And I think it would make an absolutely fabulous pair of pants, or shorts or whatever you come up with!

    And speaking of ball fringe - I am using some in my latest project.

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  35. Of course the pants would be too much! I hope you make them soon.

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  36. But of course! Bring back the days of Great style! Please!!

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  37. Madras shorts were big when I was 12. They were super bright at first, but the deal was to wash them so the colors softened and bled together. No one wore them it the loud colors they came in when they were new. It usually only took about 3 washings to get them to quit bleeding. The same with Levis back then.

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  38. Love your fabric.
    Madras shorts and a pink shirt. Although you'd do well to make another pair of linen pants.

    Love the look of seersucker, but I only have successfully used it to make a robe.

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  39. Kare Janx made Santino Rice a pair of madras pants on Project Runway...don't think it was patchwork though. Is that a strange dog in your apt.?

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    1. That's Freddy. Yes, very strange! ;)

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  40. I love madras - I had wrap around skirts in the early 60's, and made a jacket when I was in my 20's. I also don't understand the seersucker hate - I love it and I love linen, too. I vote for a short sleeve pink shirt and madras shorts - you'll rock them for sure.

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  41. Surfer shirt - like they had in the 60's. Placket front, no collar, bound edges.
    A.

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  42. First - On the Mehtheh's Veehnyehd/madras patchwork look-a-like - pshaw on looking too preppie - preppie is sort of summery and synomous with a summer look. Yeah it was started by the preppies, but I think it's more main-stream now - and it's so New York!

    Second - I ALWAYS going shopping when 1.) there's nothing else to do, 2.)I need a little uplift! I feel sort of like fabric (particularly new fabric) is to me like facelifts are to Joan Rivers!!!!

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