Corduroy quilts: new fabric to stitch, stroke, and stash (+ fabric giveaway!)

Have you seen the new corduroy fabrics at your local quilt shop? It isn’t the fabric you remember from the ’70s. Still velvety and tactile, yes, but the new generation of corduroy is lightweight, cuddly soft, and available in an array of—get this—prints! You know what that means: it’s time to make space on your sewing-room shelves to stash a whole new textile for creating quilts.

Mr and Mrs D quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Mr. and Mrs. D” corduroy quilts

In the new book Uncommonly Corduroy, designer Stephanie Dunphy mixes corduroy and cottons in cozy quilts, bags, and more. As part of the Uncommonly Corduroy blog tour (see tour dates below), she’s here at Stitch This! today to give us a corduroy education—and to entice us to try this new-again fabric in her fresh designs. Welcome, Stephanie!


GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Robert Kaufman debuted their new “Cool Cords” corduroy-print fabric line at Fall Quilt Market—and they gave us FOUR fat-quarter bundles of it to share with you! Find out how you can win one of the bundles plus a copy of Uncommonly Corduroy at the bottom of this post.

Robert Kaufman Cool Cords fabric giveaway


Stephanie DunphyCrafting with corduroy, you say?  My hope is to share the velvety goodness of corduroy and show that no—it’s not just for pants!  My love for corduroy began in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when hip-hugging bell-bottom corduroys were in style. I’ve always had a love for purses and bags and yes, I had a corduroy one. Uncommonly Corduroy combines my love of corduroy, quiltmaking, and bag making. (You can never have too many bags, right?)

I’m not an expert in textiles, but there are two things you need to know about corduroy: nap and wale. This doesn’t refer to what a fussy baby needs! Nap refers to the way the fabric lays. If you pet it in one direction it’s soft and smooth, but rub it in the other direction and it’s rough and bumpy. I love that tactile quality. Wale refers to the number of ridges or bumps per inch; fewer ridges equals heavier corduroy because the ridges are wider. More ridges equal finer, softer corduroy. The majority of corduroy I use is 21-wale, which is as soft as a hankie and best for quiltmaking because of the drape. Wider wale is great if you would like to make a sturdy bag.

Nap matters in garment sewing and upholstery but not in quilt or bag making. If you want the nap to lay in the same direction, you might need extra yardage.

Since corduroy does have nap, I press in the direction of the nap. Because corduroy is slightly heavier than quilter’s cotton, I press my seams open to avoid any bulk that may occur. I use 80/12 and 90/14 needles and cotton or cotton/poly thread. Corduroy also makes dust, so it’s important to clean your machine between projects. This is no different than using flannel or doing machine quilting. Batting and flannel cause the fuzzies, and in general it’s a good practice to treat your machine well so she doesn’t throw hissy fits.

Quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy:

Quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Mrs. D” and “Fairlane”

Quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Scooter Bug” and “California Poppies”

Quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Little Sprout” and “Goin’ to Grammy’s”

Quilts from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Plenty of Raindrops” and “Corduroy Cobwebs”

Stephanie's adorable dog, AbbyAlthough the quilts in my book have not been washed yet, my dear dog, Abby (right), has her own corduroy and flannel quilt and it gets washed often. So if you’re wondering about the “washability” of corduroy quilts, it’s just like washing pants.

Depending on the manufacturer, corduroy comes in varying widths and price per yard. The majority of corduroy I used in my book is by Robert Kaufman. The price per yard is comparable to traditional quilting cottons. If the corduroy is wider than 42″ (some are as wide as 58″), you are getting more fabric for your money. Bonus, right?

I prefer supporting my local brick-and-mortar quilt shops but some don’t carry corduroy just yet. I list resources in my book for online shops, but my hope is that we can start a corduroy craze and get quilt shops to include it in their inventory! I mentioned that other manufacturers produce corduroy, but I have found Robert Kaufman to have the most awesome prints, plus an array of yummy solids.

More projects from Uncommonly Corduroy:

I Heart Dresdens corduroy bag
“I Heart Dresdens” bag

Projects from Uncommonly Corduroy
“Travels with Lou” and “Just Jane” bags

Projects from Uncommonly Corduroy
“California Girl Scarf” and “Sister Sharon” purse

Uncommonly Corduroy shares projects made using all corduroy (top, back, binding) as well as projects made in combination with flannel, quilter’s cotton, and even wool. As much as I’d love for you to grab some corduroy and give a project a try, all of the projects can also be made using quilter’s cotton. I’ve written the yardage for 42″-wide fabric (equal to quilter’s cotton), so instructions can be used by one and all and aren’t limited by a specific fabric type, width, or availability. I hope you love the projects enough to try them in whatever fabric floats your polka-dot boat. Or perhaps my book will help you start a new stash? Fingers crossed!

~Piecefully, Stephanie


Uncommonly CorduroyThanks for teaching us some corduroy essentials, Stephanie!

What are you dreaming of creating with cuddly corduroy? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of Uncommonly Corduroy PLUS one of four bundles of Robert Kaufman’s pretty corduroy fabric! We’ll choose four winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The four randomly chosen winners are as follows:

Kiska writes: “Oh I would love to make a quilt of these corduroy fabrics! There is just something about corduroy that brings back fond memories of my childhood!”

Jessica writes: “Wow!!! I hadn’t even thought of quilting with corduroy!!! I would love the chance to make a really soft and WARM quilt with the corduroy.”

Edie writes: “I have made several quilts from corduroy, before I actually became a quilter. They were made for brothers, I just thought it was fun to use up fabric that I had in my garment stash, and recycled clothing. I think I would like to try a purse or a tote bag in corduroy, with the fun new prints available.”

Bridget writes: “Corduroy has come a long way, baby. I can’t believe all those quilts and bags were made with corduroy. I would love to make a bag.”

We’ll email all of you about your prizes. Congratulations!

Keep up with the Uncommonly Corduroy blog tour—every stop gives you another chance to win Stephanie’s book!

Wednesday, February 19: Stephanie at  Loft Creations
Thursday, February 20: Martingale at Stitch This! (that’s us!)
Friday, February 21: Candace at Squash House Quilts
Saturday, February 22: Carrie at A Passion for Appliqué
Sunday, February 23: Mary at Mary on Lake Pulaski
Monday, February 24: Char at Cloth Stitched
Tuesday, February 25: Mary at Needled Mom
Wednesday, February 26: Linda at The Quilted Pineapple
Thursday, February 27: Margaret at A Sampler of Stitches
Friday, February 28: Ulla at Kotkarankki


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