Sunday, 8 December 2013

Adding a lining

The Historical Sew Fortnightly has introduced me to the blogs of so many talented people and given me a wealth of ideas and inspiration; not just for yet more garments I want to make, but also how to make them. For example, the beautiful finish which The Modern Mantua-Maker always gives to her clothes has prompted me to make more of an effort with finishing off my own dressmaking.

The first thing to benefit from this approach is Vogue 8686, to which I have added a lining. The only green lining fabric I could find was an emerald green which clashed dreadfully with the apple green of the dress. Eventually I found a browny-green crepe fabric which was suitable, if a little heavy.

To make the lining, I cut out all the pattern pieces apart from the facings. The only thing which I changed was the bottom of the sleeve; I cut it slightly shorter, and with a straight edge. Then I made up the bodice in the lining fabric.

There were only two differences from the construction of the dress bodice. Firstly, I used a scant 12mm/½” seam allowance rather than the usual 15mm/⅝”. A lining should be made very slightly larger than the garment, because lining fabric generally has less 'give' in it that the outer fabric. Secondly, I omitted part of the stitching which attaches the lower back piece of the lining to the sleeve/back yoke. This was because the lining would be handled differently at the centre back.

The part of the bodice construction omitted from the lining

Once I’d made up the lining bodice, I turned the dress inside out and then pulled the lining over it, wrong sides together. I pinned the two bodices together the seams and dart ends, then pinned through the lining, neckline facing and dress at the very edge of the facing.

On the dress front, I cut the lining fabric away to about 25mm/1” in from the row of pins, except at the centre front. There I made the edge of the lining into a much shallower V, so that it was easier to work with. I turned the raw edge under by about 12mm/½”, pinned it down, and slip-stitched along the turned edge.

Front neckline completed

The facings at the back of the dress are quite wide, as they have to accommodate the buttons and buttonholes. As with the front, I cut the lining back to about 25mm/1” in from the edge of the facing. Once the sides were in position, I turned under the top edge of the lower back piece, and slip-stitched that in place as well.

Back neckline

I used much the same technique for attaching the lining to the sleeves, except that I made the sleeve linings about 25mm/1” longer than they needed to be, so that the lining comes down over the sewn edge. This is the same technique as is used for jacket sleeve linings, and ensures that you can move your arms easily.

Sleeve, showing the slight overhang of the lining

When slip-stitching the lining down, I had to be very careful that I only sewed it to the facing, and didn’t so much as catch the bodice fabric underneath. I found this out the hard way. Even though the stitches didn’t show on the right side, they pulled the fabric, and were very obvious once the dress was on.

Next I made up the skirt lining, and attached it to the bodice. I now need to decide if I want to sew the lining down to the waistline seam allowance, or if I leave it hanging free, with a stay at the side seams to stop it from twisting round under the dress.

(Please excuse the festive backdrop to these photographs; my sister-in-law and brother-in-law called in at the weekend and dropped off our Christmas presents, I haven't found anywhere to store them yet!)

Back view of the lined dress

I also used two strips of the lining fabric to neaten the edges of the skirt’s side vent with a Hong Kong finish.

The skirt vent

I will use the same technique on the hem, when I get to that stage. Putting the dress on a dressform, I was surprised by how long it is; even though I made my pattern pieces quite a bit shorter than the originals.

Front view. The dressform is the same height as I am, without shoes.

As well as making the inside of the dress look so much neater, the lining makes it much easier to get the dress on and off. So all in all, well worth the extra effort.

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