Sewing & Pattern making Terms


In the world of sewing and pattern making, the term “cord” refers to a versatile twisted fiber that falls somewhere between a rope and a string. Cords are essential components used in various sewing projects to add structure, functionality and decorative elements. In this article, we will unravel the significance of cords, their applications in garment construction, and how they contribute to the overall design and functionality of sewn items.

What are Cords?

Cord is a twisted fiber made by intertwining multiple strands or yarns together. It is thicker and more substantial than a string but not as hefty as a rope. Cords can be crafted from a variety of materials, including cotton, nylon, polyester, or even natural fibers like jute or hemp. The twisted construction of cords imparts strength, durability, and flexibility.

Functional Applications of Cord

Cords serve several practical purposes in sewing and garment construction. Let’s explore some of their common functional applications:

  • Drawstrings and Ties: One of the primary uses of cords is for creating drawstrings and ties. Whether in waistbands, hoods, or bags, cords provide an adjustable closure mechanism. They allow wearers to tighten or loosen the garment or accessory as desired, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits.
  • Closures and Fastenings: Cords can be employed as closures or fastenings in garments, bags, or home decor items. They can be used as loops, buttons, or even as lacing for corsets or bodices. Cords provide a secure and adjustable fastening option, adding a touch of style to the finished piece.
  • Support and Structure: Cords can be utilized to provide support and structure in garments. They can be inserted into casings or channels to create shape, define pleats, or add gathering effects. Cords add stability and ensure that garments maintain their intended form and silhouette.

Decorative Applications of Cord

Beyond their functional uses, cords also serve decorative purposes, enhancing the overall visual appeal of sewing projects. Here are a few examples:

  • Piping and Trims: Cords can be covered with fabric or used as exposed piping to embellish edges, seams, or borders. They add dimension and a polished finishing touch to garments, cushions, or home decor items.
  • Embroidery and Embellishments: Thin cords, often referred to as embroidery cords or soutache, can be used for intricate embroidery work or as decorative accents. They can be stitched onto fabric, creating beautiful raised patterns or adding embellishments to enhance the design.
  • Craft and Jewelry Making: Cords find their place in various craft projects and jewelry making. They can be braided, knotted, or combined with beads and charms to create bracelets, necklaces, or decorative tassels.

Selecting and Working with Cord

When working with cords, consider the following factors:

  • Material: Choose a cord material that suits your project’s requirements. Consider factors like durability, colorfastness, and desired texture or appearance.
  • Thickness: Select the appropriate cord thickness based on the desired functionality and aesthetic of your project. Thicker cords offer more strength and structure, while thinner cords are suitable for delicate or decorative applications.
  • Handling and Care: Depending on the cord material, certain care instructions may apply. Be mindful of washing and ironing recommendations to preserve the cord’s quality and appearance over time.


Cords are invaluable components in sewing and garment construction, offering both functional and decorative versatility. Whether used as drawstrings, closures, trims, or embellishments, cords provide structure, adjustability, and visual interest to sewing projects. Explore the wide range of cord materials, thicknesses, and colors available to add that perfect finishing touch to your garments, accessories, or home decor items. With cords at your disposal, your sewing creations will exude craftsmanship, style, and functionality.

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Melissa Villegas
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