Corduroy has been worn in Europe since 18th Century but in the 1970's it was adopted globally as a fashion fabric. Fashion's current love affair with the 70's has bought it right back on trend.
The word Corduroy comes from cord and duroy, a course woolen cloth made in England in the 18th Century and used mainly for men's wear.
The fabric has distinctive lines of tufted cut threads that run the full length of the cord.
These cords are referred to as wales and are counted by the inch. The smaller the number equates to thicker wales, and in turn the corduroy.
The finest corduroy is 21 wale and referred to as needle or babycord. Jumbo or elephant cord will have only 3 to 4 wales.
The fabric is woven with a series of uniform loops that are then cut to form the soft piled cords.
Velveteen is woven in the same way but has 32 wales resulting in a plush fabric similar to velvet. The skirt above is made from two coordinating velveteens, a plain plush and a twill version.
True velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses at the same time. The threads between the two layers are then cut, separating the two layers which are rolled onto separate rollers.
All cut thread fabrics like corduroy and velvet have a pile that goes in one direction down the cloth, also known as the nap. If you take two pieces of the same cloth and turn one 180 degrees to the other, you will see one is lighter than the other. Therefore when working with piled fabric you must make sure all your pattern pieces are placed in the same direction - I place mine with the pile running down as its smoother when worn.
Both corduroy and velveteen are a joy to work with, there is a selection to buy here