making your own Madras

design, quilting, sewing

Madras is one of the best examples of how careful fabric selection can create a very compelling transparency. You have to look carefully because although the two shades of blue are easy to see, it’s the light and dark pink that really make the transparency visually convincing.

Whenever possible we’ve made the quilts in Transparency Quilts in strip sets for a few reasons. The main reason is that it’s so much faster to sew but we’ve also found that if you cut the strip sets carefully, aligning seams becomes so much easier and faster as well. We’ve categorized this quilt as appropriate for “Adventurous Beginners” both for the strip set construction and the color decisions.

I was also happy with the quilting on this quilt. The spirals illustrate, nicely I think, the idea of quilting being a different design layer that enhances the overall pattern of the quilt. If we had done echo quilting or stitched in the ditch, this quilt would have become very predictable and very flat visually. We used a soft gray thread which totally disappears in the contours after washing but is neither to light nor too dark against the lightest and darkest of the fabrics in the quilt.

We chose a deep blue fabric for the binding that serves as a frame. Binding can be tricky with some of the quilts in this book. While it might be counter-intuitive, using a fabric that’s different from those in the quilt top actually frames the transparency more successfully than trying to use a fabric that’s already in the quilt. Given the narrow bands, if you were to use the same fabric in the binding, it might look as if the design is spilling too much over the edge.

If you decide to make this quilt, take you time getting a good palette together and cutting carefully and it will come together quickly and easily.

2 thoughts on “making your own Madras

  1. Do you ever work with Kona solids? I’d love to make this (or something like it) since my mother in law’s favorite color is “plaid.” But I really want to be able to buy 1 yard of Kona Lemon, etc. rather than search in vain for the perfect light & medium pink… I fear that this pattern would look awful if the values were too high. To me I am seeing a medium & medium quilt…

  2. Wow, you have been busy blogging this week! Thank you!! This reminds me of a fun pair of shorts my Grandmother made me. Wanna try this with lavender, green and yellow! Thank you for teaching and inspiring in such luscious ways!! Oh, to visit the Chicago area and meet y’all!
    InJoy! Glynis

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