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With all of its soft ribs and great plush feel, corduroy is a wonderful fabric to make all sorts of items with personal sewing machines. Yet it is important to keep the ridges straight for your items to look their best. Whether you are making clothing, bags, or other things on Janome sewing machines like the Janome Magnolia 7318, follow these tips to keep those ribs tidy and in line.

A Little Bit About Corduroy

Corduroy is a cotton or cotton/polyester blend fabric that has a visible, soft pile texture formed into ribs or "wales" that run along the lengthwise grain. It is available in different weights and with differently sized wales that are suitable for many items that can be sewn on sewing machines.

Wales are measured per inch. Finer weight fabrics with more or finer wales per inch are suitable for shirts and dresses. Heavier weight fabrics with fewer or thicker wale per inch are great for pants, skirts, bags, etc.

How to Successfully Sew Corduroy

The raised wales in the fabric give corduroy its great texture and appearance. They must be kept straight when you sew on Janome sewing machines to have the best appearance. Use these techniques to make sure you are correctly handling the wale of the corduroy:

  • Corduroy Grain and Nap - The wales on corduroy fabric run lengthwise in the direction of the fabric grain. Corduroy also has a nap, which is the direction the pile lays. Nap is very important to final project results. If you want the wales to be more prounced, lay and cut your pattern pieces with the pile brushed upward to stand up more when you slide your hand down the fabric. For a smoother and shinier look,lay and cut your pieces with the pile brushed down; it will flatten as you slide your hand over it. Either way, be consistent to avoid having your finished project look uneven.
  • Cutting Corduroy - Once you've determined which direction you want the nap to lay, mark that direction on the fabric and then pin or mark the pattern pieces. Make sure the grainline arrows on the pattern pieces are in the same direction as the wale so your cuts are straight and not angled when crossing over the wale. Accomplish this it by pinning and cutting on the right side of the fabric to have full control over the direction your scissors are cutting.
  • Sewing Corduroy - The emphasis with corduroy when stitched on a Janome Magnolia 7318 is keeping the wale straight. Carefully align your fabric for sewing, making sure the wale is parallel before you begin stitching. While sewing, let the wale act as a guide to keep your stitching straight.

Sewing on the wrong side of fabric can be more challenging. This is where accurate cutting becomes critical. Carefully align your seam allowances so the wales are straight if you fold the fabric back. You may even want to press it back and use the press line as a guide. Pin the corduroy to prevent it from creeping while you sew.

The trick to sewing corduroy with sewing machines like the Janome Magnolia 7318  is to keep the wale straight and the nap uniform so all the pattern pieces align correctly. If you take your time while marking and cutting pattern pieces, you will easily keep them parallel. Straight wales are a hallmark sign of professional-looking items sewn on great Janome sewing machines!

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