All About Lining a Garment

on June 15 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 101 Comments

Irene keeps our Sew,Mama,Sew! Facebook page hopping, runs the Forum and blogs all about her beautiful sewing and more at Mushroom Villagers. Today she’s also teaching us all about the basics of lining a garment!…

Most sewers I meet are either liners or non-liners. I think it’s a love-hate thing. Most of us want to line our clothing, but that extra step, the extra fabric, and extra patience seems like a lot of work for something most people will never see.

Usually, linings are subtle. Most of us want it to be quiet. If someone does catch that your jacket is lined in the same fabric as your dress, then it’s almost like a surprise present… “Ooooh, I didn’t know that you lined thaaaat!”

Why Add a Lining to a Garment?

Linings can serve multiple purposes:

      1. The obvious: provide a slip for those lighter, see-through fabrics.


      2. Provides a smooth inside finish to hide seams & such; common for jackets.


      3. Provide a little luxury or add a little pizzazz to your garment.


      4. Add warmth or protection from rough fabrics such wool.


      5. Help with the shape and drape of a garment as well as improving overall the structure of the garment.


    6. Adds durability for items such as children’s clothing. Stretched seams and sweat stains can all be contained in the lining and not affect the outer garment which will allow longer use.

Types of Lining Fabrics

After deciding on the purpose of your lining, you can then make the choice as to what type of fabric to use. Here are some options:


Smooth cottons

      are used when lining simple garments such as skirts or blouses. You usually want something that is light in color, breathable and smooth against your skin.



Fiber blends

      are easy to find which can be used to line more formal garments. These are usually labeled in stores as “Linings” and can be a combination of








      . You can choose from glossy to matte finishes as well as printed or plain fabrics.



Heavier linings

      may be needed for robes & jackets. These may include

fake furs



      or some

heavy polyester blend


Overall, you need to consider how the lining will add to the bulk, drape and shape of your garment. If lining a jacket for warmth, remember to accommodate for the added bulk. Press dart seams in opposite directions, press all seams open and trim bulky seams out of your lining.

In most cases, linings are made by adding as little as 1/8” to your seam allowance. This will ensure your lining fits inside the final garment. If your pattern calls for a ½” seam allowance, you will want to use a 5/8” seam allowance for your lining. This will make your lining a tad bit smaller than your outer garment and ensure a smooth fit when you sew them together.

Most linings are attached easily. They can be sewn into waistbands, under facings or allowed to hang free. Careful placement of zippers or other closures can provide a finished look.

Take the time and make that garment special. No one may ever see your extra touches, but every time you put it on, you will not regret it.


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101 Responses to All About Lining a Garment

  1. Janelle says:

    I so love lined skirts! I have not taken the plunge yet to do my own but this was certainly helpful. I would love to see a complete tutorial on lining a skirt. My 4 yo’s favorite part of a liner is that they make her skirts “pouf” and are more twirly!

  2. Joke says:

    In contrast to other commenters, I always had instructions for lining but wondered why I should do it, so I’m happy about this post, now I know!

  3. Amy says:

    It’s true. Lining is worth it everytime.

  4. Rosa in the Antipodes says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you sooo much

  5. Pat Jones says:

    I meant to say in the very back of the skirt at the center seam.

    Again, Help I need a tutorial, dvd, book or eMail on how to get the lining around the kick pleat in the back of the skirt..

    Thanks for any help I can get !!!

  6. Pat Jones says:

    I would like to find instructions for lining a skirt and especially around the kick pleat in the very bottom of the skirt.

    I made my first skirt and that is where I am now and I don’t quite know how to proceed.

    H E L P !!!

  7. lorchick says:

    Good tip on making the seams a slightly different size, I tried to make a winter jacket for my daughter last year and wound up with a big mess stuffed into a safeway bag and hidden under the sewing table, LOL.

  8. Lisa says:

    Great tips! I may have to try lining my next project:)

  9. Kristin says:


  10. jodie says:

    Thanks for this post. As a non-liner I’ve decided I should line the blessing dress I’m making for my new baby girl. Thanks!

  11. Lin Estrada says:

    Thank you! I really needed that

  12. Rachel P says:

    Thank you so much for the advice.

  13. DebbieB says:

    Thank you for the tips.

  14. Kelli says:

    I usually line my skirts even if they pattern doesn’t call for it, but I’m more hesitant when it comes to a dress or shirt… Thanks for the reminder of its importance!

  15. Dayna says:

    I’m so glad to have found this post. I really need to line a skirt that I made last year for my daughter, but I’ve been intimidates by the thought of it.

  16. Kristy says:

    Thank you so much for the description!

  17. Erin says:

    I like the fabric in the photos! Great post!

  18. Jessica says:

    So true! One of my favorite skirts is a patchwork skirt made with calicos from Joann’s and I wish I had lined it because I can see that its not going to last long otherwise … and it doesn’t hold its shape nearly as well as it could! Sigh, it’s a self-drafted pattern but I may just have to go back and draw up a new pattern for a lining, I like the skirt that much. Take it from me and do it right the first time!

  19. sy says:

    great info. i’ve been wanting to add a lining to some of my dresses to prevent see through.

  20. Rebecca says:

    I love the way linings look and feel, but I am still working on knowing when to use them and how. Thanks for the overview.

  21. renee says:

    Greast tips thanks! I’ve always wanted to line my skirts because I hate wearing slips.

  22. 4vs1 says:

    Great info! Thanks so much!

  23. Eva says:

    I’ve just finished my first sewed dress, for my baby, and the lining has proved to be crucial in how it drapes.

  24. Ammie says:

    Thanks for the tips, especially the 1/8″ addition to the seam allowance. (I’ve tended to find much harder ways to make my linings a little smaller! Woohoo for an easier, consistent method.)

  25. Layla says:

    nice intro, although short on actual construction details. a more in depth lining series would be useful.

  26. I just made a dress that was partly lined and as I was sewing I was thinking that the extra work was unnecessary but not that it is done I’m glad I did it. The dress looks much more complete and tidy to have all the seams hidden on the inside.

  27. April Hurley says:

    I sew clothing for my daughter, but stick to the basics to avoid having to sew in a lining!! However, I do love the cleaner look a lining gives an outfit. Thanks for the information!!

  28. Catherine says:

    What a great post. I also love linings–and always fuddle around trying to add them. This is very helpful.

  29. Karah says:

    This has definitely inspired me to get busy! I have a pile of fabric and patterns to make for me, but they keep getting pushed aside. I think I’ll take some time now to complete a couple projects. Thanks! Karah

  30. maryanne says:

    I would also love some help with lining clothing with zippers, that’s one thing I always get stuck on.

  31. Rebecca says:

    I have been wondering about linings on a few of the things that I have sewn for my daughter. I never thought about adding it to the pattern myself- I guess I thought the pattern would tell me to line it if it needed it. Now I know otherwise!

  32. Lina says:

    So far I’ve resisted having to line anything but you almost make it sound easy. Maybe next time.

  33. Izza says:

    Thank you for the information. This is very helpful.

  34. Trish B. says:

    I have done some lining but I need a lot of help when it comes to zippers and other openings.

  35. Robyn says:

    I’m gonna try it! I love the finished look.

  36. ~Helena~ says:

    I agree love -hate, I don’t mess with patterns that have lining. Too many steps.

  37. Linda says:

    I agree with the post that asks for a tute. on linings. I want to make my Grandaughter a nightgown out of some beautiful pale aqua material I have, but feel like it is too see-through. Is a nightgown something that can be lined? Do you sew the two pieces together at the bottom? Linda W.

  38. christine says:

    a very timely post indeed. thank you!

  39. auschick says:

    helpful! Thanks!

  40. CarelL. says:

    For my final I decided to put a lining in my dress’s bodice but I did not realize how difficult it was going to be. It would be great if this had some instructions, but this did help a lot! I love how a lining makes the garment look a little more professional and not so much “home sewn”,but I just need to keep practicing!

  41. Donna Lee Williams says:

    This tells me why, but not HOW.
    I am loving all the inspiration this month, but would really love a little instruction – particularly on the details of how exactly to line a skirt or a dress that has no pattern pieces or instructions for lining.


  42. Amber H says:

    I think this brings up an excellent point, since it’s either this or make a slip or something for a dress. Also, linings are better cut on the bias for extra stretch. I had a skirt once I bought from the store that was not cut on the bias, and it ended up warping and twisting too much for me to wear the skirt comfortably.

  43. Amy B. says:

    I’ve been debating whether to line my wraparound skirt. This is really helpful!

  44. MichelleB says:

    This is a great post. I’ve been trying to figure out how to line cotton sundresses without adding too much bulk, and it is a little frustrating. Too bad so many fun fabrics are so transparent! Let me add my agreement to the requests for a tutorial.

  45. Ginger says:

    I need to try using cotton as a lining in skirts. The poly stuff the local fabric store sells is too hot.

  46. Kendra says:

    Lining a garment also eliminates the need to finish the seam edges unless the fabric ravels too much. The drape is seriously improved by lining a garment, it’s definitely a richer look. I often add lining to patterns that don’t call for it because I think it’s easier than cutting out all those little facing pieces. Thanks for this post.

  47. Andi says:

    I definitely need to add more linings to the clothing I make but am always confused about what fabric to use. Thanks for the tips!

  48. Noel says:

    A tutorial would be awesome. I tried making a fancy dress for my sister with lining and it turned out terrible. Thanks for the info on how they benefit your clothing.

  49. Thanks for the great advice! I just got a skirt pattern for my niece, and I wasn’t sure what fabric to use for the lining.

  50. Heather says:

    This is a great article about Why…but what about How? Skirts are easy, but lining a jacket or blouse is really intimidating. Can anyone direct to some good online learning on the subject?

  51. elle says:

    Linings don’t have to be subtle. They can be a great surprise under a conservative garment. Lots of fun if you can’t quite flaunt it!

  52. Jenny says:

    That jacket is BEAUTIFUL! Lining is SOO nice.

  53. Sandra says:

    Thanks for the information – it all helps to make a better fitting and well draped garment. Well hopefully.

  54. Katie says:

    I entirely lined a maxi dress because I choose a gauzey fabric. I’m glad I did it.

  55. Kadybug says:

    Excellent information! I so agree the added touches are so worth it!

  56. Joy says:

    I love lining dresses, they feel so much better when its soft inside =)

  57. Beth says:

    I used to only concentrate on the final look of the outside of a garment I had sewn, but recently I have been paying more attention to the inside too, including using linings.

  58. Margie Bennett says:

    I have never lined my garments but I do see why I should. I wonder if I do it once if I will get it!!!

  59. Cecily says:

    The difference in seam allowance has always thrown me. Thanks.

  60. brittany says:

    i was thinking about lining a dress i am working on… maybe now i will.

  61. Doris says:

    My mom made garments with such care…it does deserve the time.

  62. Tammy says:

    This is a great post, Inspiring me to be confidant and try lining something 🙂

  63. Vida says:

    great info, thanks!

  64. Liz says:

    Thank you this was very interesting!

  65. Sade says:

    I love learning new techniques, so a special on how to line different garments would be lovely.

  66. Jennifer S. says:

    Oh, I should, should, should line my garments. But I’m too impatient. You sure make it look easy here, however… maybe I’ll give it a go!

  67. Laura says:

    I’m learning so much this week, thanks sew mama sew for putting this together!

  68. Chris says:

    I appreciate this post. I haven’t fully lined a garment, yet, but my favorite patterns line the bodice and all the seams are hidden. It’s great for my little girls.

  69. Marcia W. says:

    When I sewed my clothing when a teenager, I would line everything. Then got away from sewing. Thanks for the reminder as to the benefits of linings.

  70. wendy says:

    I’ve lined handbags, but not clothing. This was good info, thanks!

  71. Lynn Osborne says:

    The extra 1/8 in the seam allowance makes sense. Thanks for this post!

  72. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for the info! The other I went to buy some lining for a dress, and really had a hard time convincing the seller that I wanted some natural stuff, not the usual polyester! It’s my first time with a lining, but I think it would give a more neat finish to the dress. I hope so at least!

  73. Rebecca says:

    i’ve only lined skirts. I need to start working on other garments that require linings.

  74. Stephanie G. says:

    Nice overview, but I’m still mystified as to how to do the actual sewing.

  75. kelly jo says:

    I’ve just started lining my daughter’s dresses and so this is a good bit of information to carry on and improve my sewing with! Thanks so much!

  76. Rochelle says:

    Thanks for all the great lining info!

  77. tayamg says:

    Thanks for this great post! I am just getting into making clothes (I’ve been more of a quilter) and I am trying to learn all I can!

  78. DebbieKL says:

    Good info! I like to use muslin for lining.

  79. Unity says:

    Thank you for this! I have always loved lined items. I need to add lining to my own items.

  80. Martha says:

    OH, how I needed this post! THANK YOU!

  81. Ana says:

    Thanks for the tips!
    Very useful…

  82. MB says:

    Any advice about attaching linings to an a-line skirt with a zipper? I cheat on this by leaving an opening in the seam next to the zipper, finish the exposed edges, and just let it hang loosely next to the zipper seam. If I was skilled, I would attach the lining to the zipper like they do in RTW, but I am not skilled.

  83. Serena says:

    Thank you for the tips.

  84. Ramona says:

    Thanks for the information. Very helpful.

  85. beverly says:

    It’s kind of like ironing. It’s a pain, but the extra work makes it look soooo much better.

  86. Desiree says:


  87. Ana V says:

    That’s really helpful; thanks!

  88. Kari says:

    I love the look of linings but it turns my brains into goo unless I follow a step by step pattern (even then-still gooey). I like the practical tips like cutting patterns to 5/8″ seams. thanks!

  89. I don’t mind lining skirts, but I loathe lining jackets and tops. The sleeves just mess with my head! LOL Great article! Happy Sewing! 🙂

  90. QSOgirl says:

    I never really thought about adding my own linings to unlined patterns (usually I’m just uncreatively following a pattern). I liked the tip about using in 1/8″ increase in the seam allowance. Thanks!

  91. susan hwang says:

    a lining tutorial would be helpful! i’ve seen the “clean finish” on garments but have no idea how to approach this technique. it definitely improves the quality of the clothing. thanks!

  92. Jessica C says:

    This is something I need to take the time to do. I finish something but then sans linning it doesn’t look right, and I never end up wearing it!

  93. Pamela says:

    I love your final remark! I like knowing that those special touches are a part of my finished item and even if no one else ever knows it still makes me smile, like a secret between two great friends.

  94. Tammy says:

    I haven’t really lined many garments, but I haven’t made a lot of “fancy” clothes. But I guess even every day clothes could benefit from a lining! Thanks for the great post!

  95. Vanessa says:

    I have just started adding linings to simple garments (i.e. skirts), and it has not been as hard as I thought. I am anti-slips, so lining skirts is becoming a must.

  96. Thanks for this post. I have done a lining once in dress and I think it did make a difference. I appreciated the extra information in this post, especially the list of reasons to add a lining.

    Thanks and have a great day!

  97. PeachRainbow says:

    Would love to read more on how to actually add a lining to a complete dress, with pictures (if possible)
    Thank you!

  98. Bonnie C says:

    I so needed this! Thanks!

  99. Tong says:

    Thanks for the great info, very useful!

  100. Leisel says:

    Thanks for the great info!

  101. Claire says:

    My mom is always telling me to line skirts I make and I didn’t really get it…Now I do! Thanks!


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