I still desperately miss the corduroy jacket I once left on a train. Soft to the touch, relaxed in fit, much comfier than denim yet with the same undertone of too cool for school. Hmmm. I really must sew a corduroy jacket some time.
Before I began sewing, I thought corduroy was corduroy. I think the above photo proves that’s not the case! The swatch is a cotton baby cord. The mustard cord has a much thicker wale. Ooh, get me – wale. That’s the term for the ridges running down the fabric. There’s an interesting and fuller description of corduroy over at Wikipedia.
Most of us will be familiar with cotton corduroy but it can also be made with viscose, contain lycra or polyester or even be silk-based. Look at this awesome embellished cord from Mood. Any other corduroys that you’re aware of?
Threads has an exhaustive article on corduroy here. Check it out! But, still, here’s my four’penn worth and I’d love it if you could add yours.
Buy the best you can
There’s cord, and then there’s cord, and then there’s cord. In my experience, buy the best that you can. Cheap cord can start to moult pretty quickly – I’ve found whole bare patches on brand new fabric.
Be aware of stress points
Cord does age and any part of an item that is going to get extra stress – on knees or elbows, turned corners etc – is, over time, going to become bare. So it might be worth remembering this when planning a project and it certainly means turning a cord item inside out when laundering. Maybe you don’t mind the distressed look – indeed, on the right piece of clothing, that’s part of cord’s charm.
Cord is relaxed
One of the things I love about corduroy is how relaxed and soft it is. This can also become a drawback. Over a day’s wear, I found that my Star Wars corduroy skirt just got bigger and roomier until it was swivelling around on my waist and not looking flattering at all. Again, choose your make with care.
The nap means pattern placement is key
Cord is the kissing cousin of velvet and has an obvious nap. This means you will need to be careful when cutting out pattern pieces. Ideally, all pieces should run down your bolt of fabric in the same direction. Otherwise, the finished item will have odd differences in sheen and colour when sewn together that could make or break a project.
Corduroy is a thick fabric so in any key intersections – corners, for example – do everything you can to trim away bulk.
Press with care
Although corduroy has a reputation for being a very practical fabric, it can be a princess around pressing. If you have the equipment to hand, use a press cloth and a velvet press board. If you don’t have these items, just use a light touch with your iron, and as much as possible, press on the wrong side of the fabric.
I think that’s it from me! What have your experiences been around corduroy? Do you love it or loathe it? I love corduroy but I’m quite cautious around sewing with it. Should I stop feeling the fear?