Sewing With Corduroy - Introduction and Part 1

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the topics, Sewing With Corduroy! Shari and Donna will be joining me as we explore this unique fabric! Join us for a fun month-long course!

The course will be divided into three installments with the first two videos shown in the same week:

Week 1: We kick things off with a 3-way discussion all about corduroy! Jump in and follow along as we chat about the fabric, how we like to use it, ways to care for it, and more! Then jump right into the second video, Fabric Defined, where Donna does a deep dive with an in-depth look at the different types of corduroy available.

Week 2: Shari Donna and I will all show you an example of using the directional wale creatively!

Week 3: In this final installment, Shari will demo some of the things we've discussed as she works to sew the Keepers Dolly Duds Study Hall outfits.


Let's jump in to Part 1 together! We invite you to grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us for a conversation all about corduroy...

 Tips for Sewing With Corduroy Fabric:

  • Pay attention to the direction of the nap. The fabric will sew differently if the nap is smooth up or smooth down. Be sure all pieces are cut laying in the same direction!
  • Wash and dry corduroy before using it for your project. We don't always specify this, but in this case we ran a few tests and all agreed that you should wash/dry to avoid being disappointed after by shrinking pants and skirt lengths or dye transfer. Wash in lukewarm or cool water, and dry on low heat. The fabric will likely shrink about 1/2" to a full inch along the length of the wale.
  • Press with caution! Always press corduroy from the wrong side. If you are using a wider wale cord, then you might want to try using a piece of cord right side up underneath your project piece to keep the wale nice and fluffy.
  • In general a sew-in interfacing might be best. If needed, a fusible interfacing will likely crush the wale. If sewing something like the Snuggle and Store Tote, try By Annies "Soft and Stable" foam stabilizer. It is a sew-in product that added structure to something like a bag or purse.



Now let's move on to Part 2 for the next installment...

Join Donna as she discusses the qualities of various corduroy fabrics and shares how the type in her collection could be used in projects for dolls.

The unique feature of corduroy is the rows of pile.  Corduroy fabric is woven in a special way which creates rows of “floating” threads which are then cut by a special machine process. These cut threads are what create the rows of pile and the tiny little fluffy parts that get everywhere.

The rows of pile are called wales.  And the width of the wale is the main thing that is used to describe the type of corduroy.

The number, whether it’s 8 wale or 21 wale, is the number of wales or these vertical stripes, per INCH.  If it’s an 8 wale corduroy, it will have 8 stripes of the pile within one inch.  So the higher the number, the finer the lines.  The lower the number, the wider the lines. 

According to the industry, standard corduroy fabric has 11 wales per inch, but if a piece of corduroy has anywhere between 8 to 13 wales it is usually still considered to be standard corduroy.  

The 8 wale corduroy is a thicker fabric than the 16 wale, and the 16 is thicker than the 21 wale.  So the wider wale ones are going to have more bulk at any seamlines and the fine wale fabrics are going to be much softer and easier to handle.

The Pixie Pack corduroy is super soft and super tiny and just perfect for doll clothes.  You could use this for most any type of garment for dolls that you might see made in corduroy for humans.


The 16 wale weight would be okay for some doll clothing but it is a bit stiffer, so would probably be best for things you might use a denim for, like pants or A line skirts.  Maybe a jacket or accessories such as tote bags or luggage.

The wide wale corduroy is probably not something you want to use for doll clothing, but it might work well for something like the Snuggle and Store Tote Bag from Liberty Jane or the Modern Sofa by QT Pi Pattern Company.


Donna uses her Art Deco Bags pattern as a base for some cute corduroy bags and her upcoming Prima Bells pattern for some groovy pants.

If you like to visit thrift shops, keep an eye out for clothing made from fun corduroy fabric that can be upcycled into items for your doll.




March 17, 2023

Donna, I have a piece of that purple embroidered corduroy myself that I found as a remnant when the kids were younger. I’ve wanted to do something with it for the dolls and love your idea to make accessories with it! Thanks!


March 14, 2023

Interesting start to this month’s topic. I have used a pinwale corduroy (this is the month we all learn how to spell corduroy, I think) to make the LJC mini skirt pattern, and there are plenty of the jumper patterns that would work, too. Donna, I love that blue corduroy with the flower on it – I bet you could fit the flower in the corner of one of those mini skirts, or fit it onto a bib of an overall! I just add a quarter inch on each side of the mini skirt pattern if I’m not using a stretch fabric. I was really surprised how nicely that large plaid worked up in the pleated skirt – I have some plaids that I can use that way! Thanks, ladies!


March 14, 2023

Cinnamon, when you were talking about gumming up your needle, I was reminded that was taking another class when it was advised to complete the project you get anti-glue needles. Organ and Schmetz has them. They really do work. I had never heard of them before and had to order them from Amazon, but they do work beautifully

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