The weave has faint lengthwise ridges, but without the filling yarns that make the distinct wales characteristic of corduroy. It can have the appearance of narrow-width stripes with thin lines between.
Because of its stiff construction, it is often used in upholstery or in outerwear that does not require draping. Trousers made with Bedford cord are sometimes called “Bedford cords.”
A water-repellent cotton version of Bedford cord called Jungle Cloth was used by the U.S. Navy for flight clothing during the 1920s-1940s era.
In 1893 a dress made of Bedford cord figured into the trial of Lizzie Borden. Various testimonies about “the Bedford Cord” gave conflicting ideas as to if the dress, which was burned by Borden after the murders of her father and stepmother, was stained by blood or by paint.