by Sandra Betzina
from Threads #68, pp. 37-39
Have you ever found a fabric that was the perfect color but too lightweight or drapey for the garment you wanted to make? Do you avoid some pastel or white fabrics because you know the seams will show through on the right side? Well, these are just two of a handful of everyday sewing problems that are easily solved with underlining. Read on to find out why and how to add underlining to your toolbox of everyday sewing tricks.
Underlining vs. lining
Let's clear up one point first: lining and underlining a garment are two different procedures, and depending on their purpose, one or both can be used in a single piece of clothing. Usually cut from a slippery fabric, lining is attached only at the garment's waistband or neck, and sometimes its hem -- otherwise, it hangs free in the garment. It's generally used to give a finished look to the inside of the garment, prevent seams from raveling, reduce wrinkling, help conceal some figure faults, and make a garment easier to slip on and off.
The steps for applying underlining are the same for every combination of underlining material and fashion fabric.
|1. Cut fashion fabric and underlining from same pattern pieces.
2. Pin fabric and underlining together down center only, along straight grain.
3. To adjust for turn of cloth (amount of space taken up by fabric's thickness when folded) along straight grain, place hand over pins, fold fabric over hand (underlining's overlap shows amount of adjustment needed for turn of cloth), pin fabric and underlining near adjusted edges, and baste. Average turn of cloth will be 1/8 to 1/4 in. (or more, depending on fabric's thickness).
Underlining, on the other hand, is cut from the same pattern pieces as the fashion fabric and is attached before construction begins. Then, as the garment is constructed, the underlining and fashion fabric are handled as a single unit. Most often, underlining is cut from fine cotton batiste (see Sources for underlining fabrics), light- to medium-weight cotton broadcloth, or silk organza. But a variety of other materials can also be used to underline a fashion fabric.