The Bleeding Madras Shirt

Being a haberdashery, we carry clothing that comes with history long before it lands on the product display tables. The history we are referring to are the wonderful stories of finding a source, sometimes halfway across the world, understand their craft and then collaborating with them to make a special and unique garment for our customers.

Sometimes we associate the most elaborate stories or manufacturing processes with the most expensive items. However, we have found amazing stories of craftsmanship in items as small as cologne or pens. Finding those stories is a part of what we do. It is in our haberdashery DNA to find makers who take as much pride in their product as we do.

In this story, a simple sport shirt. At first glance you might say it is just a plaid shirt. But, upon further inspection you’ll learn it is not just any plaid, but genuine India Madras. Bleeding India Madras, that is.

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Today, all the clothing we wear is colorfast. Meaning the dyed colors of the yarns will not run, fade or be washed out. However, due to a clever marketing plan during the introduction of madras in the 60's, the demand for vegetable dyed, bleeding madras increased and the cloth was promoted as being exotic and special. The appeal of madras was the unique way the madras colors bleed into each other during each washing and created a "new", one-of-a-kind look after each laundering.

Looking back at the history of madras at H. Stockton and its unique qualities, we felt a desire to recreate this distinctive and iconic sport shirt.

After some searching and a few dead end leads, we were able to connect with a weaver in the city of Chennai(formerly known as Madras), India to help. We communicated with the weaver via email for several weeks before having cloth samples sent to us in Atlanta. Once the samples arrived, the weaver requested specifically for us to dip the samples into water and watch the colors run, or bleed. And they did. -We had found the cloth we were searching for.

As weeks passed and we designed custom patterns for H. Stockton and the weaver sent progress updates of the cloth being made. But first, there had to be yarn. The yarn is dyed using AZO-free dyes which are friendly to the environment as well as the wearer.

It was a fascinating process to see happen before our eyes. Next, the yarns would be fed into the hand-loom to weave the fabric. The hand-loom is a custom loom that can be used to produce various types of cloth depending on the clothing it will be used for like shirts, sport coats or trousers. The weaving process was another bit of magic just like the yarn dying. Done without computers, lasers, automation or any current technology used to weave cloth other than the weavers close eye. However, this cloth does not always come out perfectly and that is another characteristic of its beauty. The slubs, or irregularities in the cloth, come from the yarns not being combed to smooth them out prior to weaving. The slubs should be embraced just as much as the bleeding nature of the cloth.

After the 8-week long process of weaving, we finally saw our cloth for the first time. It was love at first sight! We then had the cloth sent from India to our H. Stockton shirt-maker in Honduras to have this wonderful cloth made into 2 styles of button-down collar sport shirts.

Finally, and happily, we present our Authentic Bleeding India Madras Shirt.

Remember, this shirt is Guaranteed to Bleed and should be washed separately or hand washed.


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