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How to Sew Lining


Lining is the inner fabric of a garment. Lining can cover the full interior of a garment; garments with a full lining covering all of the inner workings are called “fully lined.” Garments can have a partial lining, including half linings that cover the upper back shoulders or sleeves. Lining is often a thin, slippery, silky fabric, which makes it easy to slip garments on and off. Lining can be made using cotton, polyester, rayon, acetate, flannel or even cotton jersey. Quilted lining fabrics and flannel-backed linings are available for adding extra warmth to winter garments.

Lining fabrics

Lining fabrics

Lining in Cambie Dress

Lining in Cambie Dress

Lining in a coat

Lining in a coat


Use lining when a pattern calls for it. Sometimes pattern instructions will suggest specific lining fabrics; other times they will simply state “lining fabrics.” Fabric stores often have their lining fabrics labeled or set aside in a separate section, so it’s easy to find. The lining is sewn separately from the main garment, so it’s almost like sewing an entire second garment in lining. The garment and the lining are then joined around the edges, with the wrong sides facing each other so all of the inner construction is hidden. If your pattern doesn’t include lining, you can still add it if you desire. For simple styles like skirts with waistbands, you can simply cut a second set of pieces from lining fabric and sew both layers into the waistband.

Tips + Notes

  • Don’t limit yourself to fabric labeled as lining in the fabric store. Polyester satin prints, silks and cotton batiste are all suitable lining fabrics that may not be sold specifically as lining.
  • Choose cotton linings, such as voile, lawn or batiste, when breathability is important, for example, when sewing summer clothing.
  • When sewing winter dresses and skirts, a slippery lining will ensure the lining doesn’t stick to your tights.
    For pockets made of lining fabric, sew the seam around the pocket bag twice. This is often the first place where the lining seams tear.
  • If you make alterations to your garment, be sure to make the same changes to the lining, too.


Your pattern instructions will likely cover how to sew in the lining, as the construction will be different depending on the design of the pattern. The basic steps follow below.

When it’s time to add the lining, you will have the shell of your garment sewn and the lining pieces cut out. Sew the lining in the same way you sewed the shell. Sew all darts and pleats, then sew the side seams and shoulder seams, and if it’s a jacket or coat, set in the sleeves, so that the lining is fully constructed.

If the lining is enclosed, you don’t have to finish the seams. Press seam allowances open, or press lining-facing seam allowances toward the lining and leave them unfinished. If the lining is free hanging, then seam finish (see pages link) if desired. Consider finishing the seams if the lining will be visible. Remember, finishing the seams adds bulk.

How to sew lining (1)

If there is a facing, sew the lining to the facing. This will give you two nearly complete garments, one made of your main fabric, and one made of lining with facings at the edges. Here’s an example of a piece of lining, with a facing along the top edge, and the garment piece it will be lining. Press the seam toward the lining.
Join the constructed lining to the garment shell around the outer edges. Sew, trim and understitch (page link) where possible, then turn right side out and press.

How to sew lining (2)

Hem (page link) the lining separately. The lining should be about 1″ (2.5cm) shorter than the garment when the lining is left hanging freely. Either cut the lining shorter when you cut out the pattern or trim the lining after it is sewn. To prevent fraying, enclose the raw edge of the lining inside the hem by turning it under twice and topstitching.

If the lining is hanging free, attach it to the garment shell with French tacks (page link).

How to sew lining (3)

For sleeves, turn under the seam allowance on the lower edge of the lining, and line up the raw edges of the lining to the raw edges of the sleeve hem. Slipstitch the lining to the sleeve cuffs. An extra bubble of fabric above the slipstitched hem allows movement within the sleeve. You can press this bubble flat as a pleat or leave it loose.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine