Description : A corded fabric with a woven rib that has a velvet-like nap. The fibres are twisted together and woven into parallel ribs that form the fabric's distinct pattern. The cords are often tufted with a gap between the tufts. Corduroy is usually considered to be a casual material and is more widely used in colder climates because of the warmth it procures. The width of the cord is called the "wale" - corduroy comes in a variety of wale thicknesses (expressed as the number of wales per inch, hence a lower wale number implies a larger wale thickness). Wide wale corduroys are used in trousers and pants, while narrower wales are used in upper garments.
Fabrication : Extra fibres are woven into the base fabric to form the vertical ridges called wales. Corduroy can be made from cotton, from wool, from synthetic fibres and from blended fibres.
Subtypes : Corduroy's wale count can vary from about 1.5 to 21 wales per inch, with most corduroy produced in the middle range. Pincord is the name given to the fabric with the highest wale counts, and has an extra soft feel as well as being a very light fabric. A horizontal type of corduroy also exists.
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Dyes may be applied to the fibre before weaving, or alternatively can be applied to the surface of the finished fabric. This second process leads to a vintage appearance, because the pigement dye washes out in an irregular manner. Dry cleaning keeps a corduroy garment looking new longer. If you machine wash, do so in warm water and dry on a delicate cycle. To restore the pile if it has been flattened, tumble dry with a damp towel, wrong side out, for ten minutes. Remove and hang to finish drying.
Draping properties :
Cutting properties : Layout with double thickness, wrong side inwards. Use weights to hold the fabric and pattern down, rather than pins.
Sewing challenges : Serge each piece or sew in using flat felled seams. Topstitching is to be avoided. Use a pressing cloth and iron on the cotton setting with steam, pressing on wrong side of the fabric. Fabric should be hand-hemmed.
Example patterns : Jorinde jacket,
Example creations : Marie skirt, Laura dress, Red jacket, Victorian corset, Vest, Brown trousers, Hikaru jacket, Artemis bag, Blazer, Pea coat, Baby shoes,
Uses worldwide :
Origins and history : The word seems to be derived from the French "corde du roi", although this expression does not appear to have been used in France. The fabric appears to originate from Manchester in the early 1800s - Manchester at that time was a kind of "cotton capital" because of the large number of spinning mills to be found there.
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