Friday, 9 December 2016

Tips for sewing with corduroy

Whether it is for a vintage seventies look, in earthy tones or for a modern look, in vivid colours, corduroy fabrics are right here for you! Versatile, it can be used for  a wide range of garments such as pants, skirt, overalls, dresses, bodices and jackets. Its iconic ribbed texture and sturdiness require some precautions, and for this, we advise you to read our quick guide before you start your new project.

Trousers with wide leg, by P.A.R.O.S.H. 
Super long skinny trousers, by  Société Anonyme 
Jacket with lapel collar, by Yohji Yamamoto Vintage

Fabric choice
Choose a fabric according to its stiffness. The ribbed effect is measured by the amount of ribs inside one inch, meaning that a thick rib will include a smaller amount of them but increases the fabric stiffness. On the other hand, a fine rib will include a higher amount and will produce a more pliable fabric. The term used for the rib is called a 'wale' (abbreviation W).

Navy blue corduroy with thick stripes, by Cacharel
Beige corduroy with fine stripes, by Yohji Yamamoto Vintage

Sewing pattern choice
Avoid sewing patterns for knits or light woven fabrics (chiffon, silk....). A sewing pattern for denim (twill) or leather will be perfect. Some tailored trousers could work too.

Baggy trousers, by Assin
Mini skirt with exposed zippers, by Marcelo Burlon County Of Milan
Oversized denim jacket, by Rta

Internal pieces and linings
Corduroy is thick and to avoid useless bulk in your garments, cut the internal pieces (pocket bags, facings...) or linings in a matching fabric with a lighter weight. 

Nap direction
Corduroy fabrics are part of the velvet family which means that they are composed of a short pile resembling very short hair. For that matter, it is very important to stroke the fabric to identify the nap direction. Avoid any mistake and indicate the nap direction directly on the fabric, near the selvage, using arrows. Then, place your pattern pieces on the fabric so that the nap direction is going toward the bottom of the garment. Please note that this might lead to an increase of fabric yardage. Do not hesitate to buy a little bit more of the fabric!

See the shading difference between these two parts from the same fabric piece. This difference is created because the nap direction is different from on side to the other. It's very important that all your pattern pieces are placed in the same direction within one garment!

As you would normally do with thick materials, use a high calibre sewing needle, such as a jeans needle (size 100-16). Beside, your top stitches will be much more visible and strong if using a top stitch thread instead of a regular thread.

Jeans fly, exposed zippers, self covered buttons, welt pockets, gusset pockets, snaps... Do not hesitate to add details to your designs as corduroy is not meant for 'clean' or minimal looks.

Bomber jacket with gusset pockets, flaps and self covered buttons, by Marc Jacobs 
Tailored lapel jacket with welt pockets, by Golden Goose Deluxe Brand

To avoid damaging the pile, iron your corduroy fabrics on the wrong side only, at medium heat, and with a towel placed between your iron board and the fabric.

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