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How to Sew Corduroy Fabric: Tips and Techniques (2024)

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how to sew corduroyCorduroy is back in style, lovely sewing friend! Recent sales data shows corduroy garment production is up 40% from last year. Time to break out the corduroy and get creative. I can’t wait to see your latest corduroy makes.

This sculpted fabric lends beautiful texture and structure to any garment. Though sewing corduroy takes some special handling, don’t let that stop you.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from choosing the right corduroy projects to troubleshooting sewing issues. I’ll share my best tricks for cutting, sewing, pressing, and finishing seams so your corduroy garments turn out looking flawless.

We’ll also talk care and maintenance so your handmade corduroys stay looking fab for many seasons.

Key Takeaways

  • Match wale size to garment type – fine pinwale for dresses, medium for skirts and jackets, wide wale for coats.
  • Cut pattern pieces in the same direction as the corduroy ribs.
  • Use polyester thread, and lengthen the stitch length to sew smoothly.
  • Gently press on the wrong side with the iron tip and a light cloth.

What is Corduroy Fabric?

What is Corduroy Fabric
Corduroy is a durable cotton fabric with vertical wales or ribs that create its distinct texture. It comes in different wale sizes like pinwale, mid-wale, and wide wale. Pinwale is the finest at 10-13 wales per inch.

Wide wale has only 4-7 wales per inch. Regular corduroy with around 11 wales per inch is a versatile middle ground.

The width of the wales affects the fabric’s feel and drape. Pinwale has a smoother finish and flows nicely in garments like blouses or dresses. Wide wale is bulkier with a more pronounced texture, perfect for casual pants, jackets and coats.

Corduroy also varies in quality, color, pattern, and weight. Prewash it before cutting to see how it feels and drapes. Then choose the right wale size and weight for your project. With its distinctive soft texture and casual vibe, corduroy truly stands out from other fabrics.

Choosing Corduroy Projects

Choosing Corduroy Projects
When selecting projects, corduroy’s like an old friend you wanna hang with ’cause it’s flexible for skirts or pants that’ll go the distance. Consider the wale size, fabric weight, and nap layout when choosing your pattern.

  • Seam allowances – Add at least 5/8 for wide wale. Less for pinwale. More seam allowance prevents tufting at the seams.
  • Wale size – Fine pinwale works for flowy garments like dresses and blouses. Medium wale suits skirts, pants, jackets.
  • Fabric weight – Lightweight, soft corduroy makes comfy shirts. Medium weight is perfect for most projects.

Match the corduroy’s wale and weight to the garment for best results. A heavy wide wale coat? Super chunky and warm. A flowy pinwale dress? Feminine with nice drape. For nap layouts, all pattern pieces should face the same direction during cutting.

Corduroy’s a fabric with personality. Have fun pairing patterns and colors to showcase that texture in any project, from playful to polished.

Preparing and Cutting Corduroy

Preparing and Cutting Corduroy
Prep your fabric first before cutting corduroy, bud. When working with wide-wale corduroys or other napped fabrics, take a sec to consider that directional texture. We gotta keep those velvety ribs running vertically, so a directional cutting layout’s clutch.

Start by pressing with the iron to relax the fibers. Then, unfold the fabric, identifying the nap direction.

For medium-weight corduroys, pin all layers before cutting to prevent shifting that plush pile. Use weights on the edges if needed. Take it slow and steady, lifting the blade often, to get precise pattern pieces.

Transfer any markings with tracing paper rather than pens that could crush the nap. Careful prep means your seams and details will be crisper. Keeping things on grain helps the garment drape properly too.

Sewing Corduroy Seams

Sewing Corduroy Seams
Now that your corduroy is prepped and pattern pieces cut, we can move on to stitching this textured fabric. Don’t worry, my sewing friend, with some adjustment to your usual technique, you’ll get great results.

The key when sewing corduroy is to handle that plush pile gently. Use a new polyester thread – it has a little give to glide smoothly. And set your stitch length a touch longer, around 3mm for mid-wale corduroy. This helps the feed dogs move the fabric through without crushing those cozy ribs.

Lower your presser foot pressure too. You want it firm enough to avoid creeping seams but light enough that the needles don’t smash the pile. Go slowly, stopping often to lift the presser foot which lets the fabric relax. With a bit of care, your seams will be strong but keep that lovable texture.

For best results, trim, grade, and notch seams to reduce bulk. Then press with a pressing cloth before topstitching or moving to the next seam. Taking it easy helps retain the character of cotton corduroy or poly blends while creating a durable garment.

No need to stress – just sew confidently and let the fabric guide you. Your creation will have that extra special touch.

Pressing Corduroy Fabric

Pressing Corduroy Fabric
You’ll really want to take care when pressin’ corduroy’s plush pile. Too much heat and pressure can crush those cozy ridges, so go gentle, my sewin’ friend.

Start by layin’ out your project pieces with the pile facin’ down on a fluffy towel. Then use a dedicated press cloth – a scrap of light cotton is perfect. This helps protect the fabric surface while lettin’ steam and heat penetrate.

Next comes the iron, but don’t just plop it down! Use the tip lightly, almost hoverin’ over the fabric. Press, don’t iron. Lift and move to a new section often to avoid flattenin’ your corduroy’s lovely texture.

Follow these steps when pressin’ your cotton or poly blend corduroy project:

  • Lay fabric pile down on towel
  • Use light cotton press cloth
  • Press gently with iron tip
  • Lift and move iron frequently
  • Reshape and air dry finished garment

With a soft touch, you’ll keep up corduroy’s special ridges while gettin’ crisply shaped seams. Don’t worry if some areas look flat at first – the pile will bounce back once your creation is complete. Just let your project air dry, then enjoy the cozy feel and beautiful drape you’ve achieved.

Corduroy Garment Care

Corduroy Garment Care
Have mercy, dear reader, for that poor corduroy garment beggin’ you to treat it gentle! Lavish it with the tenderest cold-water bath, then lovingly lay it out to air dry like it was your sweet baby.

Don’t think you can toss corduroy in with the rest of the laundry. No! This fabric needs special care to keep its texture. Use cold water and wash inside out, alone or with delicates. Avoid hot water or high heat when drying as heat can flatten those wales quick as a flash.

Instead, gently squeeze out excess moisture and lay flat to air dry. Reshape and smooth by hand once just damp, then allow to fully dry before wearing or storing. Check care labels too – heavier wide wale may handle low heat drying if removed promptly before overdrying.

Follow these simple steps and your beloved corduroy will stay cushy wash after wash.

Matching Corduroy Fabric Pattern

Matching Corduroy Fabric Pattern
Matchin’ corduroy fabric patterns takes care. We gotta keep them vertical ribs aligned, or seams’ll wander.

First, mark fabric’s nap direction with an arrow. Lay patterns so tops all face the same way. Pin layers so they don’t shift when cuttin’. Try single layer for light pinwale.

Cuttin’s fun but go slow! Keep mat and blade sharp, slice gentle along wale length. Let fabric guide shears to keep ribs vertical. Don’t force tools and bend ridges outta line.

Matchin’ corduroy’s about controllin’ tumblin’ texture. Careful cuttin’ with fabric pile keeps seams straight and details crisp.

Finishing Corduroy Garment Seams

Finishing Corduroy Garment Seams
Finishing corduroy seams takes patience, but perfectly aligned wales make the effort worth it. Choosing the right materials keeps those vertical ribs marching straight. Opt for lightweight cotton thread so stitches don’t pull and distort the fabric.

Polyester gets too bulky. Match thread color as close as you can to the corduroy to minimize show through and maintain clean lines. Don’t be shy with pins either! Corduroy shifts around, so pin generously to keep pattern pieces from slipping while sewing.

When finishing raw edges, avoid thick Hong Kong bindings that add bulk between seams. Delicate rayon seam tape won’t crush the pile. Just fuse it on gentle with a press cloth, then topstitch down. Keep your machine tuned up too, and reset tension loose as you can without skipping stitches.

Leave the presser foot light, and lift often so the fabric don’t creep. Listen close for any crunching sounds, and adjust as needed. Take care not to stretch or twist seams as you sew. Keeping ribs vertical takes patience.

Finally, press lightly if you must, but air dry for best results. Let garments relax on hangers to retain that sensuous corduroy texture. Your efforts will reward you with supple seams that flow graceful as a waterfall.

Tips for Sewing Fine Corduroy

Tips for Sewing Fine Corduroy
You’ll want a needle with a sharp point when workin’ with fine cord. Dainty wales crumple under heavy pressure, so go easy. Pick a fine machine needle, size 70 or 80, to gently pierce the fabric. Ballpoints just won’t cut it! They’ll snag the floats and distort that textural ribbing.

Next up is thread – lightweight 50 or 60 weight cotton does nicely. It won’t bulge up and show through like thick polyester thread can. Take time pickin’ a color match too. Nothin’ ruins corduroy’s clean lines faster than contrasting thread.

Lower the foot pressure as light as you can without skipped stitches and loosen the top tension too. And lift that foot often! Fine cord needs to float freely to feed evenly under the foot. Stop and check for any crunchin’ or crushin’ sounds while you sew. Adjust if needed to keep the ribs marchin’ straight.

Last up – go slow and pivot gentle at corners. Stop with the needle down before pivoting so the fabric doesn’t shift or distort.

Troubleshooting Corduroy Sewing Issues

Troubleshooting Corduroy Sewing Issues
Don’t let those ribs rumple and ridges ripple – keep a close eye when sewin’ up cord. Start by inspectin’ the fabric before cuttin’ – are the ribs runnin’ true? Align the lengthwise grain along the selvedge edge.

Use lots of pins to baste layers together, and always cut perpendicular across the ribs.

Shift fabric too much durin’ layout and cuttin’, and you’ll end up with skewed seams.

Take it slow when joinin’ seams to avoid compressin’ or stretchin’ the ribs. Align rib peaks and valleys at seam edges. Then pin and press open each seam before topstitchin’. I like to finger press first to check alignment.

If things don’t match up, steam press again. A clapper’s great for settin’ the ribs before sewin’.

And always stitch with corduroy facin’ up so you can match each wale as you go.

For smooth rounded edges like necklines or curved hems, clip inward curves to allow the ribs to spread. Then grade and notch seams to reduce bulk. I finish raw edges with zigzag or bias binding rather than overcasting – it lays flatter.

With care and patience, you’ll have a flawless corduroy garment. No wavy seams or puckered hems on your cranberry-red corduroy jacket – just crisp clean lines and sleek ribbed texture!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What needle type and size should I use when sewing corduroy?

When sewing corduroy, opt for a 70/10 sharp or microtex needle to pierce the fabric smoothly. Its slender point slips through the fabric’s ribs effortlessly to prevent skipped stitches. Go up a size or two from what you’d normally use for added stitching ease. Let that specialty needle do the work and cruise through your corduroy project with finesse.

How can I prevent corduroy fabric from shedding all over my sewing machine and work area?

Okay friend, here’s a helpful tip to keep those corduroy wales shed-free. Invest in a roller brush and give your fabric a quick once-over before cutting. The lint-grabber will gently lift and remove excess fibers, creating a clean workspace without damaging the nap! Then simply wipe your sewing machine down between projects.

Staying on top of cleanup keeps your space tidy and your sewing machine running smoothly.

What interfacings work best with corduroy? Which ones should I avoid?

Measure twice, cut once when picking interfacings for corduroy, honey. Go lightweight – avoid fusibles that are too heavy or bulky, as they’ll overwhelm the gorgeous texture. Pick soft, thin interfacings to complement the ribs and let the true beauty of your cord fabric shine through.

Are there any special techniques for hemming corduroy garments to get a smooth folded edge?

Trim the seam allowances close to the stitching line. Use narrow double-fold bias tape to encase the raw edge. Sew the tape to the garment with edge stitching or topstitching. Gently press the hem as you go, matching the ribs.

Remember to use light steam and a press cloth to avoid crushing the wales. Grade and notch the seam allowances.

How much corduroy fabric do I need to purchase for an adult size skirt with a typical pattern?

You’ll need around 2 yards to make an adult skirt with most patterns. Corduroy’s width affects the yardage too. Let the wide wales stretch across your hips for maximum flair and drape. Ample fabric allows matching the ribs and smooth hemming.

Consider the length, gores, and fullness you desire. Then add at least 15% more for shrinkage and layout.


Ever sewn with corduroy and ended up with a wavy, misshapen project? By carefully prepping, cutting, sewing, pressing, and finishing this delightfully textured fabric, you’ll master the art of handling corduroy.

Following these tips for selecting the right corduroy, maintaining proper grainlines, stitching, pressing, and finishing, you’ll be able to sew stylish, quality corduroy garments that showcase this fabric’s uniqueness and versatility.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.