Cotton fabric has been spun, woven, and dyed on the Subcontinent for over 4,000 years, and India remains today one of the largest growers of this “white gold”. Much Indian cotton is “madras” (named after the historical primary city of export), a traditional handwoven, lightweight, fine yarn-dyed cotton in either solid colours, random stripes, or plaids. Originally the yarn was coloured with vegetable dyes that weren’t stable and tended to bleed into each other, producing new, uncontrollable effects every time the fabric was washed. Today stable dyes are used. The cloth itself has a lovely, silky soft hand, but is surprisingly stronger than gauzier or loosely woven cottons, so it launders well.