Corduroy is a ridged velvet fabric that has distinctive parallel ‘cords’. It is made by weaving extra sets of fibre into the base fabric to form vertical ridges (called wales). The wales are made so that clear lines can be seen when they are cut into pile. The number of wales per inch of fabric ranges from a very wide 1.5 wales to a very fine 21 wales per inch. The standard size is usually 11 wales per inch.
Corduroy is a soft but durable fabric. It is usually made of cotton or cotton blended with man-made fabrics such as rayon or polyester. It is generally used to make garments such as trousers, shirts, jackets and dresses. Fabrics with wider wales are usually found in trousers and structured jackets and shirts are often made from fabrics with fine wales.
Corduroy first became popular in France and England in the 1700s, called corde du roi, or "cord of the king." It was first woven of silk and was used to make clothing for royal servants. By the late 1800s corduroy was being woven of cotton and mass-produced in factories. Cotton corduroy clothing became very popular with the working classes as it is durable but not expensive.
Types of corduroy
Pigment dyed: Dye is applied to the surface of the corduroy, the garment is then cut and sewn. During the final phase of the manufacturing process, the garment is washed and the pigment dye washes out in an irregular way, creating a vintage look. The colour becomes softer with washing.
Pincord/needlecord: Over 16 wales per inch - the finest gauge corduroy that is manufactured.
Standard pinwale: 11 wales per inch.