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Once your know a few little tricks on how to sew corduroy, completing your projects will be so much easier!

Every time I run my hands across the soft texture of corduroy, it brings me back to childhood. I’m taken back to my messy backyard, racing bikes down the street, and yelling for cars to stop at my first lemonade stand with my best friend at the time, Britany.

Since those days, I haven’t spent much time in corduroy. The fabric has gone the way of my Tamagotchi and beloved Furby- not unloved…. but somehow forgotten. That is until I was reunited with this buttery fabric at Minerva Crafts.

How to sew corduroy

The thing that is incredible about corduroy is it’s durability and charm. It’s vertical lines create beautiful details in the finished piece and make it incredibly simple to find the grainline if you are a beginner sewist.

When I first got my hands on this corduroy, I wanted to make some pants from it just like the ones I lived in a child. I did however, change the fit slightly to create a more grown up silhouette. I opted for a wide leg trouser design and immediately went to work.

Working with corduroy is relatively straightforward but can be made even easier with a few small tweaks. Here’s a few to keep in mind:

Tip #1 Use More Sewing Pins To Keep The Fabric From Shifting

Since Corduroy tends to shift as you sew, be sure to pin more often than usual. This will keep your pattern pieces from sliding and shifting as you assemble your project and make sure it comes out the way you intended. For example, if you usually pin every four to six inches, place a pin every inch to be sure your corduroy never slides out of place.

Tip #2 Be Mindful When Laying Your Pattern Pieces

Corduroy has what’s known as “nap” meaning it looks different from different directions. Just like velvet, when you run your hand across the fabric in one direction, the fibers will follow and appear to be another color. When you run your hand in the opposite direction, the hue and look of the fabric can change completely. Be sure you lay your pattern pieces in the same direction so your finished garment has a uniform look when you are done. To make this extra simple, most patterns have a “with nap” pattern placement layout for you to follow along and make the process extra simple.

Tip #3 Avoid Bulk Whenever Possible

Fabrics with a thick pile are famous for being frustrating when it comes to thick seam allowances and darts. When working with corduroy (or any other thick fabric), it doesn’t take many layers before the seams become stiff and inflexible. To avoid bulk, trim your seam allowances whenever possible, clip inside curves so your pattern pieces have the ability to lay flat, and use lightweight facings and linings rather than self-facing options.

Tip #4 Finish All Raw Edges

Corduroy has the tendency to unravel and fray if the seams are left unfinished. Especially since we will be trimming the interior seam allowances to reduce bulk, finishing every seam is especially important in keeping your garment intact and looking polished. One simple option is to finish each piece with a serger. If you don’t have a serger, a simple zig-zag stitch along the edge of your fabric will do. Keep your stitch width wide and your stitch length close together to create a more professional looking finish.

Tip #5 Start With Quality Fabric

If you are going to invest your time, expertise, and love into creating a project, starting with a quality fabric is essential to making a finished piece you can be truly proud of. Whenever possible, choose an all-cotton corduroy rather than a polyester blend. The polyester fibers tend to break down over time in the wash and create pills (those tiny balls that float on the top of your fabric.) If you are unsure of the fabric quality, try scratching it with your nail. If it raises a powdery substance or causes immediate discoloration, move on.

I hope you found these tips useful on how to sew corduroy! It is such a beautiful fabric that is so versatile and comfortable for everyday wear. I know I’ll be wearing these wide leg trousers for years to come.

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Lisa Mecham

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