Corduroy Trick

Take a look at these two swatches of corduroy.  Both are on the right side.  What do you think is the difference?

1 Corduroy Trick

The answer?  The swatch on the right, which appears deeper in colour, is upside down.  The appearance is dependant on how the light hits the direction of the nap.  The piece on the left has a pearly, whitish sheen which the eye would pick as you look down on the garment.  Most corduroy garments are sewn in this direction.

2 Corduroy trick

My tutor once told me she makes all her corduroy skirts on the reverse nap (i.e. so that if you run your hands down your hips, you go against the nap); this is to gain that darker, velvety shade.  There is a disadvantage; the nap picks up fluff and dust which will show up against the dark fabric so you have to regularly lint-roll.  This is more of a problem with black than with other shades.

What therefore puzzles is me is the apparent success of the Cordarounds: a company which specializes in garments made with the corduroy turned on its side.  I’ve made sleeve cuffs and a waistband with cord at crossgrain (on this dress) and the light made one side appear darker than the other.  What do you think?

4 Corduroy trick

10 thoughts on “Corduroy Trick

  1. I have absolutely no idea but will be eternally grateful to you for directing me to Cordarounds’ website where I read the immortal words ‘ 67% less likely to cause friction fires in your groin.’

  2. What a bizarre marketing ploy. Do people really buy clothes on the basis that they cause less “friction fires”? Either way it’s a great euphemism.

    BTW I love the deeper blue but agree it is irritating when cord picks up every bit of fluff and dust. I guess if you cut each leg on the flat you could ensure that the grain went in the same direction. Perhaps Ruth could tell us as she made a fabulous pair of round-a-cords recently

  3. Mmm. I always make my with the nap running down smooth. But I like the darker color too. Thanks for the bit of info and yes we all should cut down on friction fires.

  4. Brilliant Marianna – thanks for this. I have always made any corduroy garments with the nap running down – apart from the recent jeans. However, I’ve also just finished a skirt for SWAP and I deliberately turned the fabric for effect. It’s the apron skirt from Paco Peralta and the apron at the front and extra back pockets have the nap running up ways. I’m aiming for shading as a slimming technique.

    I can also testify that since wearing my version of round-cords there has definitely been a reduction in my occurrences of friction fires and my drag co-effience is noticeably lowered too – phew! Thank goodness for that……

  5. Don’t worry Moonchild, of course we won’t! But maybe we could give you a hairstyle…
    Great trick, really works. Reminds me of the book, ‘Corduroy’ with the adorable little green corduroy overalls.
    You can see the video on Youtube:

    Remember to clean any garment made of corduroy regularly to get rid of dust!

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