To the Metropole

>> Friday, April 22, 2011

In March, my friend Amanda came to visit me in DC (as did her husband, who handily took the above picture). She had just finished prelims (the big exams that separate coursework from dissertation work in grad school), and I had every intention of giving her a present, especially since I wasn't there to take her out for a drink or buy her a cupcake when she was done. I had promised her a scarf, after all. But, like usual, I was behind.

When I went to Michigan last weekend, I was determined to bring a belated gift, and the gift turned into gifts: a coordinating scarf and bag. When I saw the madras fabric above on sale, I knew exactly what I was going to do: make a linen and madras bag. Now I think these materials work well together as a summer-weight bag to begin with, but it also reflected Amanda's work. {nb: please indulge my inner total nerd for a moment.} She works on the British Empire, and linen (Ireland) and madras (India) represent two textiles the empire regularly imported from its colonies, near and far.  Moreover, she's off to the metropole, London, for research in about a month, so it seemed appropriate to give her a bag made from materials that tied the capital to its far-flung colonies, some of which she studies.

I also made her an infinity scarf from 2 madras prints. I don't regularly use madras but it was super easy to work with, and this scarf is a perfect spring/summer accessory. As it turns out, Amanda had wanted an infinity scarf -- she is far more fashionable with her clothes and accessories that I am, but I pay enough attention to the sewing world to coincidentally make something she wanted. A perfect pairing, I think.

One of the fun surprises of the madras was that it turned into stripes when I folded it for the bag handles. This is definitely my favorite photograph, and might even be my favorite part of the bag. I should mention that the linen cooperated with the madras. I know linen is notoriously difficult to sew with, but it was fine for a simple tote bag. I'm not sure it would have been as fine for a more complicated bag, but I have some left so I might try.


~Michelle~ April 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM  

ah madras... I have to stop myself from buying my hubs more than 1 pair of madras shorts each summer...but I love the look! The tote & scarf look great and pretty summery :)

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