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Types of Fabric - What's Corduroy?

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Corduroy is a short filling pile fabric with vertical wales (or ribs) as its main feature. Corduroy is also referred as cored velveteen or needle cord and it is in the similar category with velvet, but it is a bit different. Compared to velvet, the number of times the pile is cut is less and the cutting process is simpler. Corduroy is also thicker than velvet.

Traditionally, corduroy has been made of cotton but recently, it is often made of the mixture of cotton and synthetic fibers (rayon or polyester). The inside of the fabric is mostly a plain weave but it can be a twill weave as well.

Different types of corduroy

Corduroy can be classified by the size of space between wales. The standard corduroy typically has 11-14 cords per inch. This type of corduroy will be found on all types of garments and accessories. The pinwale, which has 14 to 18 cords per inch is often used for classic outfits like suit. And since this one has fine wales, it can help elongate the figure. The wide wale, which has about 8 cords per inch is more used for blazers or casual pants rather than formal outfits. In contrast to the pinwale, it complements a slim body shape. There’s also a type of corduroy with no ribs, very similar to velvet, which is called the ribless. Without wales, there’s less noise when friction occurs between fabrics but it is rougher than other types of corduroy.

Advantages of corduroy

  • A wrinkle and natural material
  • Durability

The rib parts of corduroy are particularly durable against external stimulus.

  • Excellence at keeping warm

The ability of keeping warm is the biggest advantage that corduroy has. Its thick soft fur performs great thermal effect but the price is lower for its functionality. Corduroy fabric is all available for spring, fall, and winter but it is especially useful in winter, when maintaining body temperature is important.

  • Various uses

Corduroy is used for many types of garments (casual jacket, pants, cardigans, skirts, slacks, suits, coats, hunting suits etc.) and hats, shoes, bags, beddings, sofa, curtains, roman shades, large sitting mats and cushions, various covers, and interior decoration.

  • A stylish look

Corduroy was once shunned for being old fashioned. However, as a classic look became trendy, the corduroy material has begun to draw attention. Also, as colors and forms become more various, there are more corduroy fabrics with fine wales recently; therefore, it started being used a lot for clothing. Currently, corduroy is widely used from unique vintage outfits to dandy outfits. If a polished corduroy with a dense wale is used, even velvet-like luxurious suits can be made of it. Besides, corduroy goes well with pastel and vivid colors, which can make outfits more stylish.

Washing tip

If the fiber gets pressed and shrunk during washing, it may not be recoverable, so it is recommended to wash by hands.

By Sue Kim

Image credit: Background photo created by rawpixel.com - www.freepik.com

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