Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Real Corduroy?

Between fighting off a cold (and losing) and being preoccupied with other things, I haven't had the energy to post much here lately.  However, on Friday I found an interesting tidbit in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal, that was too good not to share. 

Friday's Journal included an article about a group that calls itself the Corduroy Appreciation Club, which is a club for people who really like to wear clothing made of corduroy fabric. Most of the article was about the group's meetings and was pretty silly, but the article included this explanation of the origins of corduroy that I'd never heard before:
Corduroy's origins date back to the 1ate 1700s England, not France, as is widely believed, says James Pruden, a research promotion nonprofit headquartered in Cary, N.C. The term corduroy is most likely a combination of the words "cord" and the now obsolete "duroy" or "deroy", meaning a woolen garment, he says. "The thinking is that corduroy is so warm and such an autumnal fabric in the same way that wool is something you wear in cooler months." he says.
I don't know what the support is for this version of corduroy's origins, but it makes better sense to me than the idea that  "cor-du-roi" is some kind of king's cloth. Wikipedia points out that there is no expression like cor-du-roi in French (the French term for the fabric is velours côtelé) and the Wikipedia article mentions that duroy or deroy was an old English term for a wool garment. Maybe the original corderoy was woven from wool. It's certainly possible to make velvet out of wool (and it makes a very luxurious and expensive fabric, too).

Hopefully, I will be able to resume one of my projects and have something more interesting to report in my next post; I'm thinking of going back to my fitted wrap-around Viking apron dress next.  


  1. "spokesman for a research promotion nonprofit" would make more sense

    Judy Bemis

  2. Go tell it to the WSJ's journalist, Judy; I was just quoting. :-)