Does Corduroy Shrink With Use Fabric Fits?

To safeguard your beloved corduroy items from shrinking, follow care label instructions that recommend washing in cold water and air-drying. Avoid high-heat settings on your dryer, and consider removing items while they’re slightly damp to reshape them if needed. By understanding corduroy’s unique composition and following these techniques, you can maintain the integrity of your corduroy wardrobe while addressing potential shrinkage concerns.

Key Takeaways

  • Natural Fiber Dynamics: Corduroy, often cotton-based, may experience initial shrinkage due to the nature of natural fibers.
  • Pre-Shrinking Benefits: Opting for pre-shrunk corduroy or pre-washing the fabric before sewing helps minimize potential post-creation shrinkage.
  • Wash Care Considerations: Washing corduroy in cold water and avoiding high heat in the dryer helps preserve its size and texture.
  • Gentle Drying: Air-drying or using a low-heat setting in the dryer is preferable to prevent excessive shrinkage.
  • Fabric Blends: Corduroy blends with synthetic fibers may exhibit different shrinkage characteristics, so fabric selection is crucial.

Corduroy, a durable and versatile fabric, is often used in clothing and home furnishings. Made from cotton or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers, corduroy’s unique texture is created by cutting parallel ridges, also known as wales, into the fabric.

One common concern for corduroy users is the fabric’s potential for shrinkage. This article will shed some light on factors affecting corduroy’s shrinkage and how to best care for it to avoid unpleasant surprises.

High temperatures and excessive agitation during washing and drying may cause corduroy fabric to shrink. To maintain the original size and appearance of your corduroy garments, it’s essential to understand and follow proper care techniques.

This includes selecting the right washing, drying, and ironing methods to preserve your corduroy’s integrity while limiting the shrinkage risk.

What Is Corduroy Fabric?

Corduroy is a unique and enduring fabric that adds a stylish touch to your wardrobe. It is made from twisted fibers, typically cotton, woven into ridges known as “cords.”

Its distinctive texture and appearance characterize the fabric, making it a popular choice for various clothing items such as pants, jackets, and skirts.

corduroy fabric

The quality and composition of corduroy can vary, affecting its durability and potential to shrink. High-quality corduroy fabrics tend to be more resistant to shrinking, whereas low-quality options might shrink more quickly when exposed to heat.

Proper care instructions should be followed to maintain the appearance and longevity of your corduroy garments.

In addition to its visual appeal, corduroy is known for its functionality. It offers warmth and insulation, making it an ideal fabric for cooler climates or seasons. Its durability further enhances its value, ensuring your corduroy pieces can withstand regular wear.

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Understanding Corduroy

Corduroy is a unique fabric with a distinct texture created by its raised ridges, known as wales. Derived from cotton fibers, this fabric has a long history of use in different garments and is known for its durability and comfort.

Nowadays, corduroy can also be made from synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester, providing an even wider range of weight, texture, and color options.

When looking at the composition of corduroy, you’ll notice a key feature that sets it apart from other fabrics – the twisted fibers that form the ridges or wales.

These wales run parallel, giving corduroy a distinct appearance and feel. The number of wales per inch can vary, but generally, the thicker the wales, the warmer and heavier the fabric will be.

Corduroy fabric is sometimes compared to velvet, as both have a soft, plush texture. However, corduroy is characterized by its wales, while velvet has a smooth and even surface created by cutting tufted fibers.

Regarding durability, corduroy is usually considered more hard-wearing and long-lasting than velvet.

As the corduroy base is generally made from cotton fibers, it shares some similarities with other cotton-based fabrics regarding care and maintenance.

Synthetic fibers, such as nylon or polyester, can be added to the fabric mix to enhance its properties, making it more wear-resistant or easier to care for.

Characteristics of Corduroy

Corduroy is a unique fabric with numerous benefits, making it a popular choice for various clothing items. One of the main reasons you might be attracted to this fabric is its ability to provide warmth.

This characteristic makes corduroy garments perfect for colder weather conditions.

Another attractive feature of corduroy is its comfortable nature. You’ll appreciate its softness and ease of wear, particularly in clothing items like pants and jackets.

When you choose corduroy, you’re going for a stylish option and ensuring your comfort.

Additionally, corduroy is known for being highly durable. Thanks to its strong, sturdy composition, garments made from this material will last considerably. This is particularly helpful if you’re looking for clothing that can withstand much wear and tear.

As for fashion, corduroy has a distinctive appearance sets it apart from other fabrics. Its pile creates a specific pattern of parallel cords, which gives it a unique texture and visual appeal.

This aspect of the fabric makes it an excellent choice for various wardrobe essentials, from jackets to skirts.

Another aspect of corduroy’s texture is its nap. The direction in which the pile runs can impact the overall look and feel of the fabric.

Paying attention to the nap when sewing or creating garments is essential, as aligning it consistently adds to the visual appeal and ensures optimum comfort.

Another aspect of corduroy’s texture is its nap. The direction in which the pile runs can impact the overall look and feel of the fabric.

Paying attention to the nap when sewing or creating garments is essential, as aligning it consistently adds to the visual appeal and ensures optimum comfort.

As for fashion, corduroy has a distinctive appearance that sets it apart from other fabrics. Its pile creates a specific pattern of parallel cords, which gives it a unique texture and visual appeal.

This aspect of the fabric makes it an excellent choice for various wardrobe essentials, from jackets to skirts.

How Much Does Corduroy Shrink?

Corduroy does shrink, but the extent of the shrinkage depends on the fabric composition and the heat applied during washing and drying.

Generally, corduroy is made from cotton or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers, making it prone to shrinkage when exposed to high temperatures.

You can expect it to shrink when you wash corduroy in warm or hot water and use high heat in the dryer. The shrinkage rate can range from 10% to 15%. However, shrinkage is not uniform across the entire garment; it is more likely to occur in length rather than width.

It’s best to follow the care instructions on the garment’s label to prevent excessive shrinking. Most corduroy items advise washing in cold water and air drying or tumble drying on low heat.

Following these guidelines will minimize the risk of shrinking your corduroy clothing. If you are unsure of the fabric composition, opting for a cooler temperature and gentle cycle during laundering is always safer.

corduroy clothing

Factors Affecting Shrinkage

  • Heat: Heat is one of the main factors that can cause corduroy to shrink. Washing corduroy in hot or warm water increases the chance of shrinkage. It’s best to use cold water for washing your corduroy items.
  • Temperature: Avoid using the high-heat setting on your dryer when drying corduroy. High temperatures can significantly shrink the material. Opt for a low heat setting or air dry your corduroy garments to prevent shrinkage.
  • Water: The type of water also impacts how much your corduroy will shrink. Cold water is preferable for washing corduroy, while lukewarm water may cause minimal shrinkage. Hot water should be avoided as it can lead to more significant shrinkage.
  • Damp Conditions: It’s essential to gently reshape your wet corduroy items after washing to maintain their size and shape. Leaving them damp and crumpled can lead to unwanted shrinkage.
  • Drying Methods: Choose a low-heat setting to minimize shrinkage or air dry your corduroy garments. Tumble drying on a high heat setting can increase the likelihood of shrinkage. If possible, avoid direct sunlight when air drying, as it can cause the material to shrink and fade.

Washing Techniques

When it comes to washing corduroy, you can follow a few techniques to minimize the risk of shrinkage and maintain the fabric’s appearance.

First, consider the water temperature and washing setting. Use cold water for washing your corduroy garments. This can help prevent the fabric from shrinking too much.

It’s also important to select a gentle cycle on your washing machine. A gentle cycle, combined with a specially formulated mild detergent, will help protect the corduroy from damage during the wash.

Before putting your corduroy clothes in the washer, it helps to turn them inside out. This can reduce the chances of the fabric’s distinctive pile from matting or becoming wrinkled during the washing process.

In addition, avoid overloading the washer with a large quantity of clothes, as this can cause excessive wrinkling and potential damage to your corduroy items.

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Corduroy garments can be washed by hand with a small amount of mild detergent and cold water. Gently blend the fabric, allowing it to soak for at least 15 minutes.

After soaking, rinse the garment to remove the detergent, ensuring you do not wring or twist the fabric. This agitation can contribute to unnecessary wear on the corduroy.

Whether you machine wash or hand wash, removing excess water from your corduroy garments is crucial. Refrain from wringing them out, which can lead to stretching or damage. Instead, you can press the fabric between clean towels to soak up the excess water.

Drying Techniques

Air drying is a reliable method for drying corduroy. Although it may take a bit longer, it’s much gentler on the fabric. After washing, gently shake the corduroy to release wrinkles and hang it on a clothesline or drying rack away from direct sunlight.

You can also place your garment flat on a dry surface, such as a towel or tablecloth, and let it air-dry naturally. The Portable Laundry suggests air drying corduroy to prevent damage.

Alternatively, you can use a tumble dryer on a low heat setting to dry your corduroy clothes. Although less gentle, this method can still work well if you monitor the dryer carefully.

It’s crucial to remove the garments while they are still slightly damp and allow them to finish drying by hanging. This approach prevents wrinkles and helps corduroy maintain its texture.

While a hairdryer is not ideal, it can be used for small touch-ups or emergencies. If you must use a hairdryer, keep the heat low and the dryer at a reasonable distance to avoid subjecting the fabric to intense heat that may cause shrinking.

Ironing and Shaping Corduroy

Before you begin, turn your corduroy garments inside to protect the delicate ridges. Set your iron to a low or medium heat setting, as high heat can cause the fabric to shrink or distort the ridges.

If possible, use a steam iron to gently release wrinkles and reshape the corduroy without applying direct pressure.

To preserve the shape of your garment, gently press the iron onto the fabric without sliding it back and forth.

Avoid pressing down too firmly, which can crush the ridges and cause fabric distortion. Instead, use light pressure and gradually work around the garment, focusing on problematic areas such as seams and hems.

Remember to iron the garment while it’s still damp, which helps the corduroy ridges maintain their shape. You may want to mist your clothing with water before ironing it, or you can iron after washing and air-drying the garment until it’s slightly damp.

Preventing Corduroy From Shrinking

When washing your corduroy items, pay close attention to the care label instructions. Most care labels recommend using a gentle cycle to wash corduroy in cold water.

Cold water reduces the risk of shrinkage, protecting your corduroy garments from undesired alterations.

Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach during the washing process, as these can damage the fabric’s structure and lead to shrinkage. Instead, opt for a mild detergent that is suitable for delicate materials.

Proper drying techniques are also crucial when caring for corduroy. High heat during drying is a common cause of shrinking corduroy.

Keep the dryer heat on low or air-dry your corduroy items to prevent this. This may involve hanging them up to dry while still damp, which can help retain their shape.

If you’re using a dryer, keep your corduroy garments in there for only a short time.

Once they’re almost dry, remove them and reshape them if necessary, then allow them to finish drying by hanging them up or laying them flat. This prevents excessive heat exposure and minimizes the risk of shrinkage.

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Special Care For Different Corduroy Items

Corduroy is a classic and versatile fabric used in various clothing items, such as pants, jackets, shirts, and even hats. To keep your corduroy clothes looking their best, it’s important to give them special care.

Remember to turn them inside out and button or zip them up when washing corduroy items.

This helps prevent the pile from being crushed or distorted, as well as reduces the fabric’s matting and wrinkling. Also, avoid overloading the washer, as it can cause excessive wrinkling of your corduroy clothes.

For drying, using low heat and removing the corduroy clothing from the dryer while they’re still slightly damp is recommended. This allows you to hang dry them and maintain their shape.

A useful tip is to give your corduroy pants or jackets a quick shake before hanging them to dry, which will help minimize wrinkles. Most corduroy items do not require ironing, making the process even easier.

To prevent shrinking, it’s best to follow the care instructions for your specific corduroy clothing.

Washing in cold water and using a gentle cycle are usually recommended. Moreover, air drying or using low heat during drying can further reduce the likelihood of shrinkage.

Check the care label for proper cleaning instructions when it comes to corduroy hats. If the hat has a stiff brim or shape, hand washing, and air-drying may be the best option to keep it well-maintained.

Lastly, keeping corduroy clothing, like pants and jackets, separate from lint-producing garments during the washing process is essential. This ensures your corduroy items stay free of unwanted lint and maintain their overall appearance.



Corduroy fabric can shrink under certain circumstances, particularly when exposed to high temperatures during washing or drying. However, proper care can minimize the risk of shrinkage and maintain the quality of your corduroy garments.

To protect your corduroy clothing, it’s essential to wash them in cold or warm water, avoiding excessive heat that can cause shrinkage.

Moreover, always check the care labels on your garments before washing them, as some structured corduroy items, like jackets, should only be dry cleaned.

Remember that corduroy is typically made from cotton or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers, A cotton garment that is exposed to excessive blend or high temperatures may shrink.

Awareness of this allows you to take appropriate care measures for your corduroy clothing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Corduroy Pants Shrink?

Corduroy pants can shrink, especially in length, when exposed to high heat levels during washing and drying. The exact amount of shrinkage depends on the fabric composition and care methods used. To minimize shrinkage, follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and consider washing in cold water and air-drying.

Can You Wash Corduroy With Jeans?

Washing corduroy with jeans or other clothing that produces lint is not advisable. Corduroy can attract lint easily, affecting its appearance. To keep your corduroy items looking their best, wash them separately or with clothing of similar fabric and color.

Should You Size Up In Corduroy?

Sizing up in corduroy depends on the garment’s fit and personal preference. Since corduroy can shrink, especially in length, choosing a slightly larger size may be a good idea when purchasing. However, ensure the garment still fits comfortably and consider alterations if necessary.

Does Corduroy Stretch Over Time?

Corduroy, typically made from cotton or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers, will not stretch significantly over time. However, some garments may have spandex or elastane, allowing for some stretch. Check the garment’s fabric composition to gauge its potential for stretching.

How To Shrink A Corduroy Jacket?

You can use heat from washing and drying to shrink a corduroy jacket. Wash the jacket in warm water and then dry it using medium to high heat in a dryer. Remember that excessive shrinkage can affect the garment’s fit, so always use caution and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Is Corduroy Supposed To Be Baggy?

The fit of corduroy garments is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer a baggy, relaxed fit, while others may opt for a more tailored look. Choose a corduroy piece that suits your style and comfort needs.

Jenny Williams