The ridges, which are also called wales, vary from fine to wide. The ridges produce the effect of a number cords placed together. The etymological explanation of the word corduroy still remains an unsettled matter among lexicographers. The word "Corduroy" appears like a French word roughly translated as 'cord for the king'. But the word seems to have existed before in England than France. What ever be the controversy about the etymology of the word as Shipley (1945) puts: was early deemed a kingly cloth.
From the point of classification, corduroy falls in the category of weft-pile fabrics, which means the threads are woven at right angles across a warp in making the fabric. Since corduroy is a pile woven fabric it needs further cutting. The pile in corduroy can be increased in depth, height or length by affecting the density of the material. In this fabric rows or ridges can only run parallel to the warp. This puts limitation on the fabric because the piles cannot be too thick, the background is always visible and the piles are actually ridge like. The fabric is designed for light wear. Traditionally it was rather an expensive fabric because of the volume of work and special machinery needed. Because of the peculiarity of the pile ridges it is eminently suited for light drapery as it dropped well because of the ridges. ...Show more