Sewing With Corduroy Tips For Success

Now that you're ready to sew with corduroy fabric, Shari is here to guide you through a few tips and tricks for success!

The examples in this video are made using the Keepers Dolly Duds Study Hall pattern.


The fabrics for the Jumper and blouse are featured in the Roxbury Pixie Pack Fabric Kit. The Blouse shown with the pantsuit is made from he Liberty Tana Lawn fabric in the Daisytown Pixie Pack Fabric kit. The pants suit features the periwinkle corduroy that's included in the Hill Country Pixie Pack Fabrics kit the kit includes a fat quarter 18 x 28 , it is enough to make the View A pants suit as long as all the lining pieces are cut from the blouse fabric. Careful placement is required to be sure you can get it all to fit, but only the pants front and back are cut two so if you do those first, then open up the remaining fabric, everything else fits!

Tips For Success: Unlike most piled fabrics, Corduroy is actually pretty easy to work with, but there are still a few things to keep in mind so that your project doesn't go awry.

  1. Prewash the fabric-With corduroy, however, it's not a good idea to skip the prewash since it has a tendency to shrink considerably along the length of the fabric... quickly turning a pair of pants into capris.  What is nice about corduroy, is that a prewash can actually make the fabric look even better as it lifts and fluffs the thread tufts, giving it a softer look.  For this project, I ran my fabric through an express wash with no detergent then popped it in the dryer. 
  2. How to find the nap-Before I start laying out the pattern pieces, I need to find the nap.  I do this by brushing along the cords with my hand. The nap should feel smooth when I swipe down. Once you find the nap, be sure that you lay out all your pattern pieces so that the nap runs from top to bottom.

  3. Linings and Facings-Because corduroy is a bit bulky, it's a good idea to use a lighter weight fabric for facings and linings if bulk is a concern. Lightweight fabric like a Tana Lawn work great!
  4. Stitching Issues-The piles and the nap of the corduroy have a tendency to shift against each while sewing.  If you are having trouble with this, there are a few things you can do to add some stability:   
    • Use plenty of pins or baste pieces together before you sew
    • Sew seams in the direction of the nap to help reduce shifting.
    • Raise the presser foot with the needle down every few inches. This will release tension on the fabric and allow it to settle back into place.
    • A walking foot, Teflon foot or roller foot can reduce shifting by helping both layers of fabric move together.
    • If your corduroy is especially shifty, you can place a piece of tissue paper between the layers of fabric and underneath the fabric on the sewing machine to help get a little more control.  Then, simply tear the tissue paper away when you are finished.
    •   If you are still having problems, you can use a temporary fabric spray adhesive along the seamline on the right side of the fabric.  
  5. Pressing-Always press corduroy with the wrong side up to with on top of a towel or another piece of corduroy underneath to help prevent crushing the cords.  Because corduroy has a tendency to pick up the texture of the pressing surface, I prefer to use a piece of corduroy underneath because it has the same texture.  Press lightly with plenty of steam.  If you press too hard the impressions of the seam allowance will show on the other side.
  6. Hems and Topstitching-Because corduroy is a bit bulkier than other fabrics, a double-fold hem is not always a good option.  Instead, cover  the raw edges by serging or with a bias strip of lightweight fabric, ribbon, or lace.  Then, finish with a single-fold hem.   Topstitching really stands out when sewn across the cords and can be a great  way to secure your hem.  Depending on your project, this may be a good opportunity to use a decorative stitch for a little added detail.  If you prefer an invisible hem, the textured surface of the corduroy makes it really easy to hide hand-sewn stitches.


Leave a comment