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Sewing on Corduroy

Michelle | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Warm greetings to you all from ‘slightly chilly’ Jerusalem!

We (my Mom and I) are in the midst of a ‘difference of opinion’ as to the correct way to sew corduroy –

 My mother is adament that it’s preferable to sew  with the ‘rough side’ going towards the hem and yours truly claims that it seems much more ‘logical’ to sew with the ‘smooth side’ running towards the hem.

Is there a ‘correct’ way to sew corduroy – and if I am wrong, perhaps someone could explain why it would be preferable to sew corduroy ‘rough side’ towards the hem?




  1. Jean | | #1

    I always sewed it with the nap running up, but I forget why! LOL

    I think use whichever way the fabric looks most attractive to you, but be consistant. You don't want to see it running both ways.

  2. sueb | | #2

    well according to Sandra Betzina's fabric savvy book it say's that the nap will wear better if pieces are cut with the nap going down (towards the hem).  However for a richer color cut it with the nap going up.  Either way works, it's all a matter of personal preference so cut it whichever way you like best !

  3. carolfresia | | #3

    Hang a length of the fabric around your neck, with the ends dangling down your front on both sides. One side has the nap running up, the other down. Which do you prefer? I usually cut so I get the deeper, richer color, and that's normally with the nap running up (so it feels rough when you run your hand downward). But I really like the FEEL of it better with the nap running down. Same with velvets and velveteens.  There's no right way, as far as I know.

    If you happen to run into a corduroy print with a one-way design, you'll know right away which is the "correct" direction, at least for that particular fabric!


  4. Susannah | | #4

    I have always used corduroy etc with the nap running down, however a friend was once using up some narrow pieces of corduroy to make an 8 gored skirt and, after making a minor mistake with layout (ie getting the nap running the wrong way for half the pieces) decided to make the skirt as cut.  The gores had the nap running in alternating directions, and the differences were very striking, and looked really good.  Now who is it who has the message "there are no mistakes, only design opportunites"?  How true!!

    But the message really does seem to be that there is no "right" way, just the way that creates a pleasing effect.

    I am relatively new to the forums, and really enjoy reading the tips, questions, comments etc, and following some of the discussions.  I don't often post, however, but felt I had to share my friend's creative approach to corduroy.

    regards from Tasmania


    1. User avater
      paddyscar | | #5

      I've always sewn corduroy clothing with the smooth side towards the hem, probably because my Mother told me to, but also because I like the feel of it.  It also tends to let go of lint better.

      In upholstery, the nap should be applied running from the top of the chair to the seat, and from the back of the seat to the front of the chair.  This is so that when you rise from the chair, you bring the nap forward with you, leaving the chair all one colour. 

      It also reduces the wear on the chair seat when we aren't working against the grain; because we tend to 'sit' on the chair in one motion, while we usually leave a chair by coming forward to the edge, then stand ... or so our instructor said.

      Placing corduroy or velveteen going in multiple directions in piecework, can add a subtle change in a pillow, runner or vest, without adding yet another colour or patterned piece. 


  5. Sally99 | | #6

    On the back and on the front, after sitting for a half-hour in either a blazer, pants, or a skirt, some wrinkles will have set.  I would choose the direction of nap where the "sitting-down" wrinkles show the least negatively. Good luck!

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