Known as the “poor man’s velvet” corduroy is prefect for creating vintage winter fashion. I just recently used this classic fabric to make a corduroy skirt.
I started this project, because I wanted more winter time vintage clothes in my wardrobe. It also just so happens that not long ago I cam across some corduroy at the antique store. Then later I was given some more corduroy by my mother-in-law, Miss Linda.
Rochelle from Lucky Lucile, writes about how corduroy is a great fabric for winterizing your vintage wardrobe. According to her corduroy is a type of velvet with tufted “cord”‘ which is what gives the fabric durability and texture. This is why I decided to use this to sew a quick skirt, even though I’d never sewn with this fabric.
Corduroy has been around forever. V is for Vintage has a fairly in-depth article on the history of corduroy. according to the post the first corduroy fabrics were manufactured in Ancient Egypt. By 18th century corduroy, in England was considered a modern and practical outdoor textile, because of its durability.
Throughout the 19th century corduroy was considered the working mans fabrics, as it was used in informs and farmer overalls. Even though it is a durable fabric, it still has a soft touch.
By the 20 century the perception of corduroy changes, as it begins to be used in children apparel, men’s suits, and even automobile upholstery. From 1950’s onward corduroy seems to go in and out of fashion.
Although, corduroy seem to be more popular in the 40’s and 50’s, I actually came across a vintage 1965 pattern for a corduroy suit I had. Simplicity pattern 6124 included a skirt, jacket and vest pattern. However, due to my limited fabric, I went with just the skirt.
As usual with my vintage patterns, it wasn’t exactly the right size. So, the first thing I had to do was trace and grade the pattern. I have graded the pattern using this tutorial. I added 3/4″ to each of the cuts on both the front and back pattern pieces. As for the waist band I usually just measure the width with the pattern and cut the length by warping it around my waist.
Width of the “cord” is known as the “wale”. Corduroy can come in many wale lengths. The higher the wale corduroys are more pliable and great for dresses. It is also important to note that corduroy has a “nap”, meaning a direction. One direction the fabric is smooth the other it is rough. There can also be a slight color change between the nap of the fabric.
After adjusting the pattern I cut out the fabric. Unfortunately, I forgot all about the “nap” of the fabric. I ended up cutting the front and back at two different directions. I didn’t even notice this until I had the skirt completed.
Despite the color difference, the skirt came out very nicely. I love the color even if from the side seem you can see the color shift. The lap zipper, was the nicest I’ve sewed. I also did a nice Job on the snap at the waist band.
This project only took me 3 hours, a new sewing record for me. I ended up wearing it the following day to the Doll show I attended two weeks ago. I really like how the skirt kept me warm and hope to sew myself up a few more corduroy outfits soon.
Your skirt looks great – it’s possible that the nap was going up on the back and down in the front which could change the color.
Thanks Kate. Yeah, I completely forgot about the checking the nap on the fabric, before cutting.