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Corduroy, or cord, fabric is immediately recognizable by its ribbed appearance, which is down to the type of parallel weave.

This results in raised ribs, or wales, that run lengthwise. Corduroy can be made from cotton, rayon or other fabrics, and can come in different weights. Wide ribbed corduroy is known as wide wale, and narrow ribs are called pin wale corduroy.

At Spotlight, we stock both wide wale and pin wale cords, as well as stretch corduroy, in a range of different colours in both plain and patterned varieties, ideal for making trousers, jackets, dresses, bags and more.

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Can I purchase woven apparel fabrics at Spotlight?

Yes, you can. Woven fabrics account for a large percentage of all dressmaking and apparel fabrics and we are pleased to be able to offer you a wide choice of these fabrics here at Spotlight. Woven apparel fabrics are available in many weights, fibres, colours and designs, making it easy to find the right fabric for your next sewing project here.

What are the features of woven apparel fabrics?

Woven fabrics are made up of a weft - the yarn going across the width of the fabric - and a warp - the yarn going down the length of the loom. The side of the fabric where the wefts are double-backed to form a non-fraying edge is called the selvedge. There are at least three distinct types of woven fabric, which are:

Plain weave: In plain-weave fabric, the warp and weft are aligned so that they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Plain-weave is strong and hardwearing, so it's used for fashion and furnishing fabrics.

Twill weave: In twill-weave fabric, the crossings of weft and warp are offset to give a diagonal pattern on the fabric surface. This means the fabric is strong, drapes well and is used for jeans, jackets and curtains.

Satin weave: Satin-weave fabrics consist of a complex arrangement of warp and weft threads, which allows longer float threads either across the warp or the weft. The long floats mean the light falling on the yarn doesn't scatter and break up, like on a plain-weave. The reflected light creates a smooth, lustrous (shiny) surface commonly called satin.

What are the advantages of woven apparel fabrics?

Here are some of the main advantages of woven fabrics:

Cost: As in all industries, time and labour have an effect on the cost of items. Woven fabrics are formed on looms and are made to be sturdy. The fabric cannot be stretched and does not shrink. While this does produce high-quality material, it does increase production costs.

Washing: Most woven fabrics are simple to launder and typically will not shrink or wrinkle. The main exceptions to this are linen and silk, which it may be better to dry-clean.

Durability: Woven fabrics by far outlast most other fabrics such as knits, and this is why so many heavy-duty fabrics are weaves. Examples of woven fabrics include denim, linen, corduroy and tweed.

Does Spotlight also sell other types of fabric?

Yes, as well as woven fabrics, Spotlight also stocks a large collection of knitted fabrics. Knitted fabrics are generally more stretchy than woven fabrics and the stretch means they are less prone to wrinkling too. Woven and knitted fabrics cannot usually be interchanged, so if you are unsure as to which fabric you need, check your pattern for information or ask advice from our sales staff.

Of course, there are special fabrics for sale here at Spotlight too, that are neither woven nor knitted, such as bonded fabrics, imitation leather and vinyl, and other specialty fabrics such as lace, nylon tulle and nets.

Can I purchase Cord fabric at Spotlight?

Yes, you can. Corduroy, or cord, fabric is quite distinctive because of its ribbed appearance, which is down to the type of parallel weave. It is a sturdy and versatile fabric that can be used for making clothes, bags, baskets and many other craft projects including dolls and storage items. Some corduroy fabrics can also be used for interior projects like upholstery or soft furnishings.

How is Corduroy fabric made?

Corduroy is a fabric with a woven rib that has a velvet-like nap (A nap occurs on fabrics where the fibres are not vertical but lean over in one direction, creating a different feel and appearance from opposite sides. Think of velvet or velour, both of which have a nap too). The fibres in Corduroy are twisted together and woven into parallel ribs (also called wales) that result in Corduroy’s distinct pattern.

Corduroy comes in a variety of wale thicknesses. Wide wale corduroys are often used in trousers and pants, while narrower wales are used in jackets or dresses. Corduroy can be made from cotton, rayon or other fabrics, and can come in different weights. Wide ribbed corduroy is known as wide wale, and narrow ribs are often referred to as pin cord, pinwale cord or needle cord. Corduroy can also be a stretch material.

Why is it called Corduroy?

Corduroy fabric has been in use in Europe since the 14th century, although some sources say it may have been invented by the Egyptians as far back as 200 AD. The word corduroy was first used in England around the late 18th Century after its arrival from France, where it was very popular with the monarchy of the time, and is thought to have grown from the translation of ‘cloth of the King’ (corde du roi in French). It had a popularity revival in the 1970s and many vintage Corduroy items are still available today.

How do I look after items made of Corduroy fabric?

Most items made from Corduroy can be washed, but some care must be taken to make sure that the nap is not damaged. Here are some tips to maintain your Corduroy items in good condition:

  • Check the care label to see if it is safe to wash and what temperature to use. Machine washing your Corduroy garment is usually possible as the fabric is very durable.
  • Do up buttons or zips and turn it inside out before washing.
  • Do not overfill your washing machine as this will crush the pile on your Corduroy item. Choose a gentle wash cycle with a short spin, use the reduced crease setting if you have one.
  • Never wash Corduroy with other fabric that produces lint, such as towels, fleece, felt, woolly jumpers, as the lint will attach itself to the corduroy and be hard to pick off again.
  • Take care with dark coloured Corduroy items as they may run due to the dye that has been used.
  • To dry Corduroy items, make sure you do not hang items over a hanger or use pegs as these can leave visible marks in the fabric.
  • Use a padded hanger where possible, and always iron inside out if ironing is needed.
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