Corduroy is a fabric featuring ribs or raised ridges running vertically down the fabric parallel to the selvedge. These ridges are referred to as ‘wales’. The wale count is the number of ridges that fit into 1 inch of fabric (or 2.5cm), so the lower the number the thicker the ridges. If the number is higher the ribs will be finer, less pronounced and sometimes referred to as ‘needlecord’.
Corduroy fabric is a ‘cut-pile’ fabric and has a texture similar to velvet. It is important to make sure you cut all pieces in the same direction when working with corduroy as the pile will look different when viewed from different directions. Traditionally garments are cut with the pile brushing in an upward direction, which gives the fabric a better sheen. In the 1960’s many designers started to reverse the pile direction to give it a more ‘contemporary’ edge.
Corduroy is perfect for making jackets, trousers, skirts, dungarees and pinafores.