Patchwork Madras Fabric: How do they make it?
By BUD for Fabrics-textiles.com
Patchwork Madras Fabric is driving everyone crazy this year.And its no exception with us.
All those myriads of colors and plaids crisscrossing and joining up to form what seems like the most beautiful pattern on fabric ever seen.
Well since Madras had everone going crazy,we decided to visit a plant to see how they made Patchwork Madras Fabric.
Our journey took us to some town-villages in India,and in these small bustling city-suburbs,we found our first supplier of patchwork Madras fabric.
What we saw surprised us-we expected to see large looms churning out sewn patchwork fabric,BUT NO–patchwork fabrics are basically regular fabrics which are converted through regular sewing techniques into patches.
The steps in the process are:
1. The base fabrics need to be chosen/woven first.These can be ready fabrics in different Madras check patterns/colors.They can also be Powerloom,handloom or autoloom woven fabrics depending on the level of finish required,and also the quantity required.
Most powerloom/autoloom fabrics to be freshly woven mean huge minimums since the costs of commissioning machines to a weaving project are high.
2.Once the base fabrics are in hand, the designers make color-combinations of 3,4,6 or even 15 checks/plaids in different colors, in order to give the completed fabric its signature pattern.
3.After the color/check patterns are chosen,its time to cut the individual fabrics into strips according to the size of checks required.Most patchwork madras fabric is available in 3×3 inch checks.Which means that the fabric is cut into 3 inch width strips along the entire length of the fabric.
4.These strips (assuming 3 inches in width and of the length equal to the entire length of the fabric in yards) are then loaded on to motorised sewing machines operated by women workers of India,who are untrained masters of sewing despite never having read a book on sewing or crafts,or even ever having seen a sewing pattern.
Once loaded on to the machines, these fabric strips are then stiched onto the other fabric strips of different colors/patterns chosen to make the entire design pattern originally decided upon by the fabric designer.
5.The stitches can be of 2 types put basically as: a loose stitch AND a folded stitch.
The loose stitch means that the stitches between the various fabric boxes/patches is open at the seams when we turn the fabric on its back.
The folded stitch is the neater form of stitching wherein the loose seam is stitched back onto the body of the fabric,thereby creating a double parallel line of stitching along the borders of each patch box.
Regardless of the stitching method used,the fabric looks almost the same on the front side and there is no real difference between the 2 sewing methods.
6.Finally,the sewn fabrics are quality-checked to seek out any loose stitches which might lead to gaps between the patches.
Your patchwork madras fabric is finally ready to be rolled up into bails and sent out as available stocklots of a fabric which is hard to make,yet equally hard to resist buying once you set your eyes on it.