Cording is a great way to add subtle texture to a garment. It also stiffens the fabric and adds more structure to the area. It’s particularly well suited to garments in heavier weight fabrics like jeans, jackets, and corsetry. It’s important to select an appropriate cording weight. A thinner cord will produce a subtler result, where as a thicker cord will create more defined ridges. Lighter weight fabrics are better suited to light weight cording.
It’s important to initially cut your fabric a bit bigger than the pattern piece as it will shrink during this process. Make sure that you can identify your straight grain later, either by cutting an edge along the grain or marking a line in tailor’s chalk. You’ll need 2 pieces of fabric the same size and a length of cord. To calculate the approximate length of cord you’ll need, multiply the width of the fabric by half the length. So if you have a rectangle that’s 20cm wide and 30cm long you’ll need about 3 meters of cord.
To begin you’ll stitch a straight line through both layers with wrong sides together about 1cm from the edge. Next, place the cord between the 2 layers and move it right up against the stitching line. I find it helpful to use a tool like a screwdriver, tweezers, or whatever is long, narrow, and lying around to manoeuvre the cord into place.
Using a zipper foot, sew a straight line on the other side of the cording. Continue this process until you’ve finished the area. It can be difficult to maintain perfectly straight lines, especially over a large area. It gets easier with practice but it can be helpful to mark out your lines with a ruler using tailors chalk or an air erasable pen before you start.
You’ll notice that the side that was on top when you were sewing has more defined ridges than the other side. This means that that you’ve got a smoother side to place against the skin, which is more comfortable, and the nice defined ridges are more visible on the outside.
Once you’ve finished cording the area you’ll need to recut the piece. It’s important to make sure that your grain line is correct and the cording lines are symmetrical.
Let me know how you go with it or if you have any questions.