I miss corduroy, I really do. I was reminded of it when I heard from a colleague who would wear a corduroy suit long after it was in style. I remembered various projects I had made from it and I realized I didn’t know much about it. Now we are all going to learn some facts about corduroy.
1. Meaning – For the meaning I checked with Merriam Webster’s website which defined it as such: “a durable usually cotton pile fabric with vertical ribs or wales.” Sounds right to me.
2. Origin – Corduroy is a modern name for an ancient fabric called ‘fustian’ which was being used and woven in 200 AD in Fustat, a city near Cairo. I found this fascinating information at this terrific site.
3. Spread – Fustian was very popular locally but gained a wider market during the Middle Ages. Italian traders introduced it to Europe and everyone wanted it to keep warm in those drafty castles. Where did I learn this? From Brook Brothers, can you believe it?
4. Name theories – There is a popular belief that Cord duroy is the derivation of the name, cloth of the king, however that has been debunked. There is another belief that it is from the woolen British fabric Duroy. Wait, there’s more! Another theory holds that Americans called the fabric after corduroy trails – roads constructed from logs. This site and I like the third way of thinking.
5. Other names – I learned different names at this website. In the states, we call pants made from this fabric, corduroys. But in northern Europe they are referred to as Manchester Trousers and in Spain as Pana.
6. Popularity – It was all the rage from the 1700’s on but really caught on because of its durability with the working classes. Henry Ford even used it to upholster cars, isn’t that fascinating. You can read it all here, I did!
7. Fashion icon – Corduroy was the it fabric of the 70’s, I read it here but I lived it as well. I wore them with bell bottoms and wide belts and had them in all kinds of colors. I was a holdout as long as possible and even dressed my oldest daughter in it. It has never reached that level again.
9. Widewale – If there is a thin ridged corduory, there must be a wide one, hence the name. You can get the dimensions at this site and see Dustin Hoffman wearing cords!
11. Books – Yes! There is a very popular children’s book named Corduroy by Don Freeman. I love it and have read it to two generations. One of the many delightful aspect is that the heroine sews a button on the bear’s corduroy overalls like it is no big deal. Anyone can sew on a button, right?
12. Song – Yes, again! I am stuck in the 70’s musically but Pearl Jam actually recorded a song named Corduroy, named after a, wait for it…, corduroy jacket!
Well, yes. I actually do have proof of weddings with corduroy. Here is my Mom in a picture from my wedding to my first husband. It makes me laugh. Those jackets were from Sears catalog!
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I have written fact posts before. Here’s a link to my last one.