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Inside a Well-Made Jacket

Essential materials for long-lasting structure
Threads #192, Aug./Sept. 2017

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. Each element could be discussed in depth to describe installation and options. Threads has already done that in earlier issues, which are referenced on the following pages. 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.


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:

Silk organza, DharmaTrading.com and ThaiSilks.com 

Cotton flannel, cotton organdy, and cotton batiste, VogueFabricsStore.com 

Polyester linings, fine muslin, or, for crisp support, HTC Veri-Shape poly/rayon, VogueFabricsStore.com

For fusible underlinings, choose:

 Fusible poly-knit tricot or weft-insertion interfacings, BBlackAndSons.com, CuttingLineDesigns.com, and PalmerPletsch.com

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.

Wool felt, VogueFabricStore.com

Cotton or wool flannel, BBlackAndSons.com

Pellon Thermolam Plus TP970 Sew-in, JoAnn.com

3M Thinsulate, SeattleFabrics.com 

Chamois skins, for a windbreak, DetroitSponge.com 

Tyvek, also for a windbreak, MaterialsConcepts.com. 

Cotton, polyester, or wool batting quilted to the lining.

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 feltCollar 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.

Rayon/polyester undercollar felt, Wawak.com and BBlackAndSons.com 

Wool/rayon/polyester undercollar felt, BBlackAndSons.com  

Wool melton, cut with the center-back seam on the true bias, BBlackAndSons.com 

Wool/rayon felt, WeirCrafts.com 

Make your own felt with merino wool.

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 tapeInterfacing & 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:

Hymo, 60 percent wool/ 40 percent goat hair,  BBlackAndSons.com 

Lightweight hymo, wool/cotton/rayon, BBlackandSons.com and Wawak.com 

Medium-weight hymo, 42 percent cotton, 35 percent rayon, 17 percent animal hair, 6 percent wool, Wawak.com 

HTC Veri-Shape, VogueFabricsStore.com 

Wigan, a bias-cut 3-inch-wide cotton interfacing specifically designed to stabilize armscyes, hems, and necklines, VogueFabricsStore.com and BBlackAndSons.com 

For fusible interfacings, choose: 

Fusible poly knit tricot or weft insertion interfacings, BBlackAndSons.com, CuttingLineDesigns.com, and PalmerPletsch.com

HTC Form-Flex, VogueFabricsStore.com 

Pellon Shape-Flex, JoAnn.com 

For stay tape, choose: 

Woven cotton stay tapes for strong support, BBlackAndSons.com

Lightweight fabric cut on the straight grain, CuttingLine Designs.com

Threads Reference Articles

“Exceptional Interfacings,” #165 (Feb./March 2013), pp. 34–38 

“Tailoring Principles,” #160 (April/May 2012), pp. 46–50

“Tape to Shape,” #142 (April/May 2009), pp. 66–67

“Stablilize and Support Your Garment,” #135 (Feb./March 2008), pp. 66–69

“Stay Tape Adds Strength,” #113 (June/July 2004), pp. 24–26

“Basics: Pad Stitching,” #110 (Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004), pp. 24–26 

“Interfacing: The Inside Essential,” #103 (Oct./Nov. 2002), pp. 62–67

“The Interfaced Hem,” #97 (Oct./Nov. 2001), pp. 80–83 

“A Stay Tape Prevents Stretch,” #60 (Aug./Sept. 1995), pp. 44–48

“Techniques of a Woman’s Tailor,” #22 (April/May 1989), pp. 44–49

“Tailor’s Logic,” #14 (Dec. 1987/Jan. 1988), pp. 42–47


Sleeve heads & shoulder pads

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.

Prefabricated sleeve heads, BBlackAndSons.com 

Premade shoulder pads, BBlackAndSons.com and Wawak.com 

Make your own sleeve heads or shoulder pads from needle-punched polyester fleece or Pellon Thermolam Plus Sew-In, JoAnn.com.

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

Choose a shoulder pad to fit your garment
Choose a shoulder pad to fit your garment; 1⁄4-inch to 3⁄8-inch thick is typically suitable for women’s jackets. Premade sleeve heads can be used, or you can cut your own.

In-depth tailoring information from the archives

Threads has published articles focused on tailoring, which can supplement the material on the following pages. 

“Tailoring 101,” #146 (Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010), pp. 2125, includes a discussion on interfacing and stay tape.

“Inside the Ultimate Suit,” #50 (Jan. 1994), pp. 6065, discusses maintaining shape without adding bulk.

“Contemporary Tailoring,” #37 (Oct./Nov. 1991), pp. 3641, also includes a discussion on interfacing and stay tape.

The magazine’s issue archive offers a wealth of information that is available online through a subscription with annual renewals at ThreadsMagazine.com/onlinearchive. Many printed back issues of the magazine also are available at TauntonStore.com. You can purchase the complete Threads archive through 2016 in a DVD or USB version for $99.

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