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Inside a Well-Made Jacket

Essential materials for long-lasting structure
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A classically tailored jacket hides a wide range of internal materials. They are essential for creating and maintaining the garment’s shape over years of wear. Pattern: Vogue 8333. Fabric: author’s stash.

The visible fashion fabric, facings, and lining of an exquisitely tailored jacket can make a strong fashion statement. These stylish textiles are supported by a hidden inner structure. This framework, comprising a fascinating assortment of materials, creates and maintains the garment’s shape and fit.

Get to know the inside elements that make a jacket hang properly and flatter the wearer. Not every jacket needs a full complement of interior layers. However, knowing  the options for optimal shaping and long-term performance, will enable you to choose the support your garment requires to look its best and last for years.

In-depth tailoring information from the archives

Threads has published articles focused on tailoring, which can supplement the material in this article.

  •  “Tailoring 101,” #146 (Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010), pp. 21–25, includes a discussion on interfacing and stay tape.
  • “Inside the Ultimate Suit,” #50 (Dec. 1993/Jan. 1994), pp. 60–65, discusses maintaining shape without adding bulk.
  • “Contemporary Tailoring,” #37 (Oct./Nov. 1991), pp. 36–41, includes a discussion on interfacing and stay tape.

Editor’s Note: You can access these and other articles through the Threads Magazine Archive. The archive offers a wealth of information that is available online through a subscription with annual renewals at Many printed back issues of the magazine also are available at under the Magazine tab. You can purchase the complete Threads archive through 2019 in a DVD or USB version for $99.95.


An underlining gives inside support to seams, facings, and hems; it is typically concealed beneath a standard lining. Underlining helps give the garment a firm, sculptured look, adds strength and durability, and provides wrinkle resistance. Typically, underlining backs each garment section. It is basted or fused onto each fashion fabric section and then treated as one fabric.

For sew-in underlinings, choose:

For fusible underlinings, choose:

Threads Reference Articles

  • “Underlining Benefits,” #183 (Feb./March 2016), pp. 76–79
  • “Underline with Silk Organza for Invisible Strength,” #97 (Oct./Nov. 2001), pp. 69–71
  • “Understanding Underlining,” #68 (Dec./Jan. 1997), pp. 37–39


Interlinings are an additional layer of fabric, between the outer fabric and the lining, for warmth or as a windbreak. Typically, mount the interlining fabric to the lining for ease of insertion. Interlinings are usually omitted in the sleeves because they add bulk. Any fabric that adds warmth can be used for an interlining.

Threads Reference Articles 

  • “Interlining Options,” #188 (Dec./Jan. 2017), pp. 72-73
  • “Build Lightweight Warmth into Coats,” #121 (Oct./Nov. 2005), pp. 46-51
  • “Winterize a Coat or Jacket,” #93 (Feb./March 2001), pp. 39-41

Collar felt

Collar felt is used for a tailored jacket’s undercollar. Stable wool melton or felt do not ravel, so seam allowances can be eliminated to reduce bulk in the collar. Though not as popular as it once was, Ultrasuede works as well.

Threads Reference Articles

  • “King’s Collar,” #175 (Oct./Nov. 2014), pp. 51–56
  •  “Professional-Quality Notched Collar,” #56 (Dec. 1994/Jan. 1995), pp. 52–55, describes an Ultrasuede undercollar, but the techniques are the same as for felt.

Interfacing & stay tape

Interfacings stabilize or reinforce areas in the garment that need additional support, such as collars, cuffs, welts, buttonholes, pockets, plackets, facings, and, occasionally, hems. Mount interfacing directly on the garment fabric or onto the wrong side of areas needing additional support, such as welts, buttonholes, pockets, and zippers. Stay tapes concentrate support along linear areas, such as roll lines, shoulder seams, necklines, and front and underarm seamlines.

For sew-in interfacings, choose:

For fusible interfacings, choose:

For stay tape, choose:

Sleeve heads & shoulder pads

All jackets should have some shaping at the shoulder. The sleeve head’s function is to support the sleeve cap and prevent it from drooping at the shoulder. A rectangular strip of fleece or a prefabricated sleeve head is attached to the seam allowance along the sleeve cap seam. A shoulder shape or pad supports a jacket’s shoulder and sleeve head. Place shapes or pads even with the seam allowance’s cut edge, toward the sleeve head of a jacket with a set-in sleeve.

Threads Reference Articles

  • “Set a Perfect Sleeve,” #133 (Oct./Nov. 2007), pp. 64–70, also features shoulder pads
  • “Basics: Inserting Shoulder Pads,”#103 (Oct./Nov. 2002), pp. 26–28
  •  “Shoulder Pads,” #91 (Oct./Nov. 2000), pp. 70–73
  • “Setting in a Jacket Sleeve,” #61 (Oct./Nov. 1995), pp. 40–43

Author and teacher Daryl Lancaster has been tailoring jackets professionally since she was a teen.

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