A Lining Trick from the Industry

One of the last projects I worked on in my pattern making class at FIT was a women’s vest, and I dreaded it because as with everything else, we had to draft the pattern and make a sample, but we were given very few assembly instructions. There’s no doubt you can learn a lot when you have to figure out how something goes together.

This is the vest we had to make.

In lieu of a treatise on assembly, my professor always gave a few industry tips along with her instructions and those were priceless. She had worked as a professional pattern maker for years both in the U.S. and Russia and was a goldmine of industry secrets.

The vest we were making had a brocade front that was faced with the lining attached to the facing and hem. Then the back of the vest used the lining material for both the lining and the fashion fabric.

To me, I had alway though that because the lining goes on the inside, it should be either the same size or a little smaller, and on many commercial patterns, you cut the lining from the same pattern piece as the fashion fabric.

The truth of the matter, however, is that you need a little bit of ease in the lining, so that it is actually bigger that than the fashion fabric piece. In a coat project that I made for the Winter 2012 issue, for instance, I added a pleat to the neckline of the lining, to add ease.

In this vest project, the professor had us add 1/2″ inch to the length of the lining when we were drafting the pattern. This way, once the lining was attached to the hem, it would overlap the hem by that 1/2″ and form a little lip that would allow the wearer ease when moving.

The lining is attached to both
the facing and the hem.
Making the lining 1/2″ longer creates
ease with a lip that overlaps the hem.

If you have a sewing project where the hem is not attached, for a dress or skirt for instance, and you want to attach it, just add that 1/2″ in length to the lining and that will allow for movement and keep the lining from pulling up the garment. Once attached to the hem, press the lining edge so that the 1/2″ lip is formed. An attached lining always looks so much more finished than an unattached lining and it will protect the inside of the garment better.

For lots of patterns to practice your sewing skills on, check out the downloadable patterns from Stitch Winter 2011 now available in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have any tricks for installing linings? Let us know!

Happy stitching!






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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

8 thoughts on “A Lining Trick from the Industry

  1. Thank you for this tip! I have been sewing for years and always made my linings a bit smaller than the fashion fabric. I have learned something new today.

  2. On lining coats/jackets/vests there are a few more areas that should also have ease that your instructor may not have addressed with you, as designing garments using industry techniques is my specialty.
    In both mens’ & womens’ if you look inside commercially made tailored garments, you will typically see on the shoulder seem on the front a small pleat to allow for movement when putting on, sliding your arm down into the sleeve, etc.
    Also, many times depending on the design, there is a small pleat at the bustline in the front – very subtle and different from sewing convex to concave curves at that point.
    The pleat in the back may be a deep pleat that is actually sewn a few inches down from where the lining attaches to the back neck facing, opening up about 2 inches down and remaining open at least 5-6 inches, this is typically a deeper pleat and is in direct proportion to the weight of the outer fabric. Free hanging lining needs to be at least 1-2 inches wider than the fashion garment if full length, and tacking should be at least 2 inches in length to allow for sitting movement.

  3. This is a great tip! I have a question about partially lining pants – I’m getting ready to make some white linen pants for summer, and I’d like to line the seat area but not the whole leg. Any suggestions or tips for that? My pattern does not include lining.

  4. Yes, fantastic tips! For the partial pants lining, I would say to use your self pattern pieces and add a wee bit of ease (1/8″) at the side seams. End the leg at about mid-thigh and leave 1″ for hemming.

  5. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate these tips. Now, if I can only remember them or figure out a way to find them when I need them! I also appreciated weavestudio’s extra advice. It all makes such a difference in making a comfortable, wearable item that looks professionally made. Diana

  6. I’m fairly new to lining (and sewing clothing too) so I will be using this great post on lining soon. I have several sewing books and videos, but these lining tips are “new” to me and I will find them very useful. I always look forward to your postings…you give us such great tips. thank you, thank you,……