The origins of the word “Corduroy” are very obscure. Folk etymology has it as originating from French ‘corde du roi’ (King’s cord), but in French the term for the cloth is velours À côtes, thus casting doubts on its French origin. Some Historians believe that before being called corduroy, this fabric was frequently known as “fustian”, named after the Egyptian town where it originated. Yet other scholars have found linkages of the word to American and Latin origins. So far there is no substantiated document to justify its origin and hence it remains shrouded in mystery.
Technically, Corduroy is a weft pile fabric. Manufacturing corduroy is often referred to as an art. The intricate weave is formed by one set of warp yarns that are inter-woven with two types of weft yarns (referred to as the pile weft yarn and the ground weft yarn).
• Corduroy can be broadly categorized as follows based on the wales size:
Broadwale: refers to broader/larger wale sizes such that in 1 inch there are 4 – 6 ribs (wales).
Midwale: represents that medium category of wale size between 8 – 10 wales.
Pinwale: also referred to as Pincord or Needlecord, has 12 -16 wales per inch of the fabric.
Babycord: as the name suggests is commonly used in baby or infant wear. It consists of wale sizes between 18 wales – 30 wales. Due to its fine wale size it is often used as shirting fabric.
Variegated Cord: represents a special corduroy cut fabric in which the pile is cut unevenly giving a unique look. Such an effect is possible in any wale size.
Hi – Lo: is also a unique fabric design in which the pile has two different heights giving it a fashionable texture. Such an effect is also possible in any wale size.
• Care Instructions for Corduroy and Velveteen:
Corduroy and Velveteen are piled fabrics and must be treated with care during the washing and drying stage. The information below provides a general guideline for handling such fabrics:
If one is hand-washing the garment, then turn the garment inside out. It is recommended to completely dissolve the washing agent in the solution before introducing the garment. Soak the fabric thereafter and rub gently to facilitate the removal of dirt particles. Do not scrub the fabric harshly nor wring it during washing or rinsing. Care must be taken not to mechanically damage the pile since the action would be irreparable. Carry out the above procedure in luke warm water and then repeat it with with cold water. Line dry the garment after the washing stage. Tumble drying is strictly not recommended for corduroy or velveteen garments.
Similar to hand-washing, in machine washing turn the corduroy garment inside out. Load the garment in the washing machine and modify the wash cycle such that it rotates at a low speed (less than 800 rpm) and runs at a low temperature (40 C). If possible, load lesser clothes than a regular cycle to minimize the mechanical abrasion of the garment. Avoid the use of concentrated detergents or bleaching agents that may damage the pile. Wash similar colors together or wash the garment separately. Line dry the garment after the washing stage. Tumble drying is strictly not recommended for corduroy or velveteen garments.
To maintain the smoothness and structure of the corduroy fabric, use the pressing technique. Do not touch the iron to the face of the fabric. Iron the garment inside out. It is recommended to place the steam iron gently on the area to be pressed and then lift the iron to the next area instead of moving it along the fabric.
Steaming helps revive the pile and enhance the look of the fabric. Gentle brushing may further attenuate the effect.
Often pile fabrics may be imparted with special finishes that may require additional care. Please read the label and follow the instructions accordingly.
How to Cut and Sew Corduroy and Velveteen Fabrics:
Corduroy and Velveteen fabrics have special characteristics since...
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