Because madras plaids have been around so long, they've become a kind of seasonal neutral. That and the fact that they're available in so many multicolored patterns makes them great fabrics for cloth handbags. Even better, one of the newest styles in madras fabric combine similar plaids into patchwork patterns. If you think a quilted handbag may be just the thing to tote your shades and sunscreen around in, there's probably a quilted madras bag out there with your name on it. Before you grab one, make sure to check the straps and seams to make sure they have good reinforcement. You should also look for heavier weight canvas cloth that has a madras pattern rather than a lightweight fabric with a thin lining. After all, you want your summer bag to last all season.