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add a lining to a elastic waist skirt

blingy | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi All,

It’s me again, Skirt Girl.  I am hoping someone can give me very specific details on how to put a lining in a very basic elastic waist skirt.  The pattern is only 2 pieces, cut on the bias, make a casing, insert elastic and put in a hem.  I have made a couple of these so far and they are simple and very, very cute and comfortable but I have some fabric that I would like to add a thin lining to but I don’t have a clue as to how to go about it.  Do you put in the hem before putting in the lining?  How about the casing?  Details…I need details!!!!  Thanks!




  1. user-51823 | | #1

    hi there skirt girl (you should change your screen name to that! it's cute and EVERYONE will know who you are!personally, i would wear a slip with that skirt and not mess with lining it. i don't like adding the bulk of a lining to anything with an elastic waist.
    but, it can be done with a thin fabric and i'm sure someone here can advise. that's just my opinion.

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    Depending on the amount of bulk you can tolerate at the waist - for me less is better!

    Cut the lining a bit narrower and shorter - the hem's depth &  the turn over for the waistband, just so the stitching for the casing catches 1/4 " of the lining.

    Do a muslin first so you can perfect the lining as you have already done for this skirt pattern.

    Please let us know the method that works best for you.

  3. jjgg | | #3

    Cut the lining from the same pattern as the skirt, Sew the skirt together at side seams, sew the lining at side seams, now match them up at the waist line and baste the lining to the skirt at the bottom of the elastic casing. Trim the lining to about 1/4 inch above where its basted and sew the casing as usual. This way the lining is caught in the casing but is not part of it.Hem the skirt and lining separately. You will have to hang the skirt for a day or two since it is bias, the skirt fabric and the lining fabric will 'drip' (my term for how bias hangs) differently since they are different fabrics.

  4. Pattiann42 | | #4

    I replied earlier...went shopping for groceries and had a flash!

    I was assuming you were going to use the same pattern for the lining as for the skirt.  Cut the lining a little smaller (narrower) than the skirt. 

    Why not have the lining as part of the actual casing?  Trim the fold over for the casing on the fashion fabric to with-in a 1/2" of the fold.  Do the same with the lining.  Stitch the side seams of both the skirt and the lining, leaving an opening in the lining for elastic insertion.

    Seam the two fabrics together at the top of the waist.  Turn right side out & fold over the fashion fabric 3/8" press and top-stitch to keep lining from rolling to the outside of the skirt.  Press again and stitch the width you need for the casing.


    1. jjgg | | #6

      Spicegirl,Why do you recommend cutting the lining narrower and by just how much narrower do you mean?

      1. user-51823 | | #8

        my answer to that question is that if the diameter of the inside layer is the same as the outer layer, you are likely to get some bulging or riding up. the inside layer needs to be a little more fitted for the skirt to look it's best.

      2. Pattiann42 | | #9

        MSM-s also mentioned this.  If you cut the lining and garment the same, the two may be a little bulky.   I would reduce the side seams by 1/2 - 5/8 inch.

        I haven't checked yet, but the Threads articles are most likely the best source - especially if there are pictures!

    2. User avater
      VKStitcher | | #10

      My sister has a RTW skirt that is made this way.  Instead of a skirt with a lining, her skirt has a sheer outer layer, but the technique is the same. 

  5. cafms | | #5

    There are two articles in Threads Magazine that might be helpful if you have or can find the magazines.

    Sept. 1999, #84, page 58, has an article by Frances Cowan "One-Seam Linings for Straight Skirts".

    Jan. 2004, #110, page 39, has an article by Sandy Scrivano "Flat, Flattering Elastic Waistbands".  She has three techniques for the wasitbands.  I have used one and reversed it for the lining.


    1. User avater
      blingy | | #7

      I haven't finished the skirt yet as it has to hang a while but what I have done so far is make the lining with the same pattern, make the seams with french seams and basted to the waist.  Then I trimmed the waist above the baste line, then made the casing then left it to hang.  I think this method will work just fine, I plan to use it on another skirt made of some flowey polyester which is very pretty and very thin!

      Thanks to all for your help


  6. Teaf5 | | #11

    The option described in the Threads article--and it works to make reversible skirts--is to cut the two layers exactly alike, but cut off the fold-down part of the casing and use a standard seam allowance at the top of the casing instead. 

    Sew the side seams of each layer, then sew the top of the waists together, turn, press, and topstitch the two together at the casing line. 

    Depending on whether you place the lining layer right-side or wrong-side toward the fashion fabric while stitching the waist, you'll end up with a reversible skirt or a two-layer skirt with both right sides facing outward.  With sheer fabrics, you can play with these different options to give you a lot of interesting skirts!

    1. User avater
      blingy | | #12

      Would this technique be basically the same for a skirt made with an "overskirt"?.  This pattern has the option of making an overskirt but there are no instructions as to how to cut out and sew the 2 together.  I guess they assume I know how to do this, I don't, in fact, I have never heard of an overskirt until I picked up this pattern.


      1. Pattiann42 | | #13

        Sandy Scrivano's article regarding elastic waist garments in THREADS, issue 110 has directions and photos for constructing a skirt that consists of an overskirt and underskirt. 

        Even if this is not exactly what you are looking for, the article provides good information that could help in getting to the look you want.

        PS:What pattern are you using?  It may be listed at PatternReview.  Someone there may have made the over/under feature you have asked about and can walk you through the process that is missing from the pattern instructions.


        Edited 10/4/2007 2:46 pm ET by spicegirl1

      2. jjgg | | #14

        Blingy,You have to start figuring these things out in your head. It all follows logical steps. I'm not an engineer (I'm a nurse practitioner) but you just have to figure this stuff out. When you go to sleep at night, think, OK, if I sew this seam here, can I then sew that seam and will it work? If I do this step first, will it make the next step easier or more difficult?I put myself to sleep at night thinking through these sorts of problems. That or when I go running in the mornings. When you can think through the steps of what you need to do, thats when your sewing will improve. You will be free of the "directions" that come with the pattern that most often don't have the best steps in them.You know you usually have to start with the smaller items and details (darts, pleats,pockets etc, then sew the major seams. Think through the process and see if you can't come up with a better way of doing it than what the directions show. There are 9 ways to skin a cat and 10 ways to put a garment together.I do occasionally refer to pattern directions, if its a step or process I haven't done in a while (or if it has to do with right and left sides of a piece - I'm good at mixing them up - must be where my son gets his dyslexia from! I've put more sleeves in the wrong arm hole than I care to think about. Now, I put the sleeves on my arms before they go in the top so I know which is right & which is left!Start with something simple (like your skirt) and think about the steps in making an overskirt. How will you attach it? sew each separately and then baste them together at the waist? can you then continue with the elastic casing? will all the seam allowances be hidden if you so that? etc etc.OK, I'm going to quit now

        1. mygaley | | #16

          I also think through completely any project or activity I'm working on.
          My family calls this "the think system". I am so glad to hear another sew-er uses this same system; it has served me well in the custom drapery business and also formal sewing where patterns are not often used. God bless you, Galey

      3. Teaf5 | | #15

        Yes, you could use the "seam them together at the top edge" technique to make an overskirt.  In that case, you'd put the wrong side of the under, longer layer on top of the right side of the upper, shorter layer, stitch them together, then turn. (If you're like me, you might need to take two scraps of fabric, place them this way, stitch them, and then turn them to see how it works.)

        After you have turned them, both the under and upper layers will have the right sides facing out, with the raw seam allowance running inside along the top.  Topstitch and inch or so below that (through both layers) and you'll have a finished casing.

        Like another poster, I sometimes solve sewing problems just as I'm drifting off to sleep.  At other times, I make a miniature of the garment out of paper towels or scraps to get a visual of the process.  My family thinks it's silly, but it works, and I can always use the paper towel version to clean when I'm finished with it!

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