Madras (cloth)

Last updated

A handkerchief with a typical Madras pattern Madras-tissue01a.JPG
A handkerchief with a typical Madras pattern

Madras is a lightweight cotton fabric with typically patterned texture and tartan design, used primarily for summer clothing such as pants, shorts, dresses, and jackets. The fabric takes its name from the former name of the city of Chennai in south India. [1]

Contents

Madras today is available as tartan (plaid) patterns in regular cotton, seersucker and as patchwork madras, meaning cutting several madras fabrics into squares or rectangles and sewing them back together to form a mixed pattern of various plaids.

Definition

Authentic Madras comes from Chennai (Madras); both sides of the cloth must bear the same pattern; it must be handwoven (evidenced by the small flaws in the fabric). [2] Cotton madras is woven from a fragile, short-staple cotton fiber that can't be combed, only carded, [2] resulting in bumps known as slubs which are thick spots in the yarn that give madras its unique texture. The cotton is hand-dyed after being spun into yarn, woven and finished in some 200 small villages in the Madras area. [2]

History

Madras fabric is generally regarded as belonging to the peasant class in its native India. [2] Dutch traders arrived in India in the early 1600s to trade in the local calico cloth, followed by the British. The English East India Company sought quality textiles, finding the small fishing village of Madraspatnam (Madras), and the company established a trading post there in the mid-17th century. [2] The first madras material [3] was a muslin overprinted or embroidered in elaborate patterns with vegetable dyes. [2] To secure a reliable labor supply, the English East India Company promised a 30-year exemption from duties for Indian weavers in the area, and thus within a year nearly 400 families of weavers had settled in Madras. [4] Undyed madras cloth became popular in Europe because it was lightweight and breathable. [2] Cotton plaid madras reached America in 1718 as a donation to the Collegiate School of Connecticut (now known as Yale University). [2] Sears offered the first madras shirt for sale to the American consumer in its 1897 catalog. [2]

In the Philippines, madras fabric were known as cambaya, after the state of Cambay which also exported madras fabrics. They were popular in the early 19th century for use in traditional women's skirts (saya) in the baro't saya ensemble, as well as for pants for the barong tagalog. Since they were expensive, they were copied by Chinese manufacturers as well as local industries, resulting in lower-grade fabric that were usually used for clothing by commoners. [5]

The name "madras" was attributed to shirt maker David J. Anderson in 1844, [2] although the material had been referred to as such much earlier. In 1958 William Jacobson, a leading textile importer, traveled to Bombay to trade with Captain C.P. Krishnan, exporter of madras from Chennai (formerly Madras). The two men struck a dollar-a-yard deal for madras material possessing a "strong smell of vegetable dyes and sesame oils," woven of bright colors and originally bound for South Africa. [2] Krishnan warned Jacobson that the fabric should be washed gently in cold water to avoid bleeding, advice that never reached the Brooks Brothers buyers to whom Jacobson sold 10,000 yards for the manufacture of madras clothing. [2] Brooks Brothers then sold cotton madras garments to consumers without proper washing instructions, resulting in the bright madras dyes bleeding in the wash and the garments emerged discolored and faded. To counter dissatisfied customers, Madison Avenue advertising giant David Ogilvy coined the phrase "guaranteed to bleed" and used this as a selling point rather than a defect. A 1966 catalog advertisement stated:

Authentic Indian Madras is completely handwoven from yarns dyed with native vegetable colorings. Home-spun by native weavers, no two plaids are exactly the same. When washed with mild soap in warm water, they are guaranteed to bleed and blend together into distinctively muted and subdued colorings.

In the United States, the plaid cotton madras shirt became popular in the 1960s among the post-World War II generation of preppy baby boomers. [2] As early as the 1930s, cotton madras clothing was emerging as a status symbol in the US because only American tourists who could afford expensive Caribbean vacations during the Great Depression had access and thus the madras shirt was a signal of affluence. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Denim Warp-faced textile

Denim is a sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces a diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. While a denim predecessor known as dungaree has been produced in India for hundreds of years, denim itself was first produced in the French city of Nîmes under the name sergé de Nîmes.

Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric.

Flannel

Flannel is a soft woven fabric, of various fineness. Flannel was originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, but is now often made from either wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber.

Dyeing

Dyeing is the application of dyes or pigments on textile materials such as fibers, yarns, and fabrics with the goal of achieving color with desired color fastness. Dyeing is normally done in a special solution containing dyes and particular chemical material. Dye molecules are fixed to the fiber by absorption, diffusion, or bonding with temperature and time being key controlling factors. The bond between dye molecule and fiber may be strong or weak, depending on the dye used. Dyeing and printing are different applications; in printing, color is applied to a localized area with desired patterns. In dyeing, it is applied to the entire textile.

Gingham

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric typically with striped, check or plaid patterns in white and a bright colors made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarns. It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns.

Harris Tweed

Harris Tweed is a tweed cloth that is handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. This definition, quality standards and protection of the Harris Tweed name are enshrined in the Harris Tweed Act 1993.

Textile manufacturing is a major industry. It is largely based on the conversion of fibre into yarn, yarn into fabric. These are then dyed or printed, fabricated into clothes which are then converted into useful goods such as clothing, household items, upholstery and various industrial products.

Bògòlanfini Malian dyed cotton fabric

Bògòlanfini or bogolan is a handmade Malian cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud. It has an important place in traditional Malian culture and has, more recently, become a symbol of Malian cultural identity. The cloth is exported worldwide for use in fashion, fine art and decoration.

Tweed Rough, unfinished woollen fabric, of a soft, open texture

Tweed is a rough, woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun.

<i>Kasuri</i>

Kasuri (絣) is the Japanese term for fabric that has been woven with fibers dyed specifically to create patterns and images in the fabric, typically referring to fabrics produced within Japan using this technique. It is a form of ikat dyeing, traditionally resulting in patterns characterized by their blurred or brushed appearance.

Maya textiles are the clothing and other textile arts of the Maya peoples, indigenous peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. Women have traditionally created textiles in Maya society, and textiles were a significant form of ancient Maya art and religious beliefs. They were considered a prestige good that would distinguish the commoners from the elite. According to Brumfiel, some of the earliest weaving found in Mesoamerica can date back to around 1000-800 B.C.E.

The manufacture of textiles is one of the oldest of human technologies. To make textiles, the first requirement is a source of fibre from which a yarn can be made, primarily by spinning. The yarn is processed by knitting or weaving, which turns yarn into cloth. The machine used for weaving is the loom. For decoration, the process of colouring yarn or the finished material is dyeing. For more information of the various steps, see textile manufacturing.

African textiles

African textiles are textiles from various locations across the African continent. Across Africa, there are many distinctive styles, techniques, dyeing methods, and decorative and functional purposes. These textiles hold cultural significance and also have significance as historical documents of African design.

Check (pattern) Pattern of intersecting vertical and horizontal stripes

A check is a pattern of modified stripes consisting of crossed horizontal and vertical lines forming squares.

Finishing (textiles)

In textile manufacturing, finishing refers to the processes that convert the woven or knitted cloth into a usable material and more specifically to any process performed after dyeing the yarn or fabric to improve the look, performance, or "hand" (feel) of the finish textile or clothing. The precise meaning depends on context.

Sambalpuri sari

A Sambalpuri sari is a traditional handwoven ikat or sari wherein the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving. It is produced in the Bargarh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Balangir district, Boudh District of Odisha. The sari is a traditional female garment in the Indian Subcontinent consisting of a strip of unstitched cloth ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles.

Textiles of Mexico

The textiles of Mexico have a long history. The making of fibers, cloth and other textile goods has existed in the country since at least 1400 BCE. Fibers used during the pre-Hispanic period included those from the yucca, palm and maguey plants as well as the use of cotton in the hot lowlands of the south. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Spanish introduced new fibers such as silk and wool as well as the European foot treadle loom. Clothing styles also changed radically. Fabric was produced exclusively in workshops or in the home until the era of Porfirio Díaz, when the mechanization of weaving was introduced, mostly by the French. Today, fabric, clothes and other textiles are both made by craftsmen and in factories. Handcrafted goods include pre-Hispanic clothing such as huipils and sarapes, which are often embroidered. Clothing, rugs and more are made with natural and naturally dyed fibers. Most handcrafts are produced by indigenous people, whose communities are concentrated in the center and south of the country in states such as Mexico State, Oaxaca and Chiapas. The textile industry remains important to the economy of Mexico although it has suffered setback due to competition by cheaper goods produced in countries such as China, India and Vietnam.

Wet processing engineering is one of the major streams in textile engineering refers to textile chemical processing engineering and applied science. The other three streams in textile engineering are yarn manufacturing engineering, fabric manufacturing engineering, and garments manufacturing engineering. The processes of this stream are involved or carried out in an aqueous stage and thus it is called a wet process which usually covers pretreatment, dyeing, printing, and finishing.

Kotpad Handloom is a vegetable-dyed fabric woven by the tribal weavers of the Mirgan community of Kotpad village in Koraput district, Odisha, India. Cotton sarees with solid border and Pata Anchal, duppatta with typical Buties / motifs, Scolrfs on cotton, silk, handloom stoles, and dress materials are all dyed with organic dyes. The natural dye is manufactured from the aul tree grown in this area. The Kotpad tussar silk saree with tribal art and Kotpad handloom fabrics with natural color is its specialty.

Wangkhei Phee

Wangkhei Phee is a textile fabric made of white cotton. It is a product which is protected under the GI registration and is made throughout the Indian state of Manipur and is woven by women. The fabric is transparent, has many designs on its body, and is popularly worn by women of Manipur for marriage ceremonies and other festive occasions.

References

  1. Mitchell D. Strauss, Annette Lynch (2014). Ethnic Dress in the United States: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. p. 189. ISBN   9780759121508.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Orvis Checkered Past: A Brief History of the Madras Plaid Shirt
  3. "Cotton: a Yarn with a Twist". The Forum. BBC. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  4. Sven Raphael Schneider, gentlemansgazette.com Madras Guide – How the Shirt, Pants & Jackets Became Popular 12 July 2013
  5. Coo, Stéphanie Marie R. (2014). Clothing and the colonial culture of appearances in nineteenth century Spanish Philippines (1820-1896) (PhD). Université Nice Sophia Antipolis.