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Attaching a Lining

maddie964 | Posted in General Discussion on

To any greatly helpful person:
I am trying to attach a lining to a dress that doesn’t call for lining. If you want to look up the pattern number just for reference, It’s Simplicity 0645. I am reading The Complete Book of Sewing section on lining and am very confused
– First of all- the book tells me to stitch all the darts on the lining as tucks…is that necessary?
-Secondly- Step one says to machine stitch the lining and garment shoulder seams. Press the seam allowances of the lining side seams to the wrong side. With right sides together, stich the “lining in position” at lower edges, the armholes, and the front and neck edges. Does the mean stitch the lining TO THE GARMENT at bottom of garment, at the armholes and neck eges. And when stiching lining to garment at armholes, should I staystitch the lining so it doesn’t stretch? Should I clip the edges? I tried to stitch the lining to the armholes before and I kept ending up with more lining than garment in the end. FRUSTRATING!
-Thirdly- Step Two says turn right side out by “threading each front piece up through the open shoulder seam between the lining and the fabric, down through the back, and out of the side seam?” What does thread mean? and Should I turn the garment right side out through ONE open shoulder seam or both?
I know I need a lot of guidance..but it is greatly appreciated if you provide any help! THANK THANKTHANK YOU!


  1. Tatsy | | #1

    Attaching a lining can be very frustrating until you figure out what works best for you. The reason they say to put the darts in as tucks is that tucks have more give than darts, so if the lining fabric is not as stretchy or as thick as the garment fabric, it can give easily without binding. The method you're describing for attaching the lining is fairly complicated. I would recommend against seaming the lining to the bottom of the skirt because it could easily hang below or pull the hem out of shape, just hem them separately, making sure the lining is 1/2 to 3/4 inch shorter. On a straight or A-line skirt, you can slipstitch the hem of the lining to the top of the hem of the garment. Otherwise, use serger chain or narrow ribbon attached in the seam allowance of lining and dress to keep the lining from shifting while you walk. Staystitch the neck and clip it unless you're sewing a lightweight knit or a sheer. You may want to trim 1/8" off the lining neckline so that it does not show above the neck. I have found that hand basting the neckline in place saves grief later and is well worth the little extra time it takes to line up the seams and ease in the curves before machine sewing.If the dress has sleeves, follow the same steps as for the hem. I suspect the dress is sleeveless because threading means pulling the whole lining through one shoulder seam, then repeating the process for the other side. It's really important to make sure that the shoulder lining is the same size or slightly smaller than the dress's shoulders. I recommend you cut the bodice top and the lining top from muslin or leftover fabric and practice two or three times before attempting the maneuver on the dress. It also helps to pin the two arm shoulder seams together, right sides together, then sew from the shoulder seam to the underarm with the lining to the throatplate, then line up the other underarm seams on the same arm and sew back to the shoulder seam. This helps you get the right twist in the seam allowance and keeps the shoulder seams matching, which is crucial.
    Once you've got it down, you'll love the results. Good luck and remember to give yourself a break whenever it gets frustrating.

    1. User avater
      maddie964 | | #2

      Thank you for the help! But I have a few more questions:
      The dress has sleeves and I want to line it as well. I plan on cutting the lining 1/2 inch shorter on the sleeve to the lining doesn't hang out. But how do I attatch a lining with sleeves to a dress? Do I attatch it at the shoulders?What I really don't understand is where I pull to thread the dress to the right side? It will have an invisible zipper in the back. Could I pull it all through there?What do you mean when you say side the arms from the shoulder to the underarm on the "throatplate"Also, I want to adjust the pattern piece of the arm, making it smaller. But how do I change the shoulder pattern so it will fit evenly when I attatch the arm to the shoulder?
      Thank you again if you can help me out...

      1. Tatsy | | #3

        If you're making a dress with sleeves you don't need to thread it at all. You simply put the lining and the garment together at the neckline. Everything else is either loose or tacked--just a few stitches to hold the pieces in place at significant points. I usually put a few stitches in the seam allowances at the sleeve cap, under each arm, at the waist on each side and then use a crocheted or serged chain about an inch long to attach the sides and back of the hem. You start at the sleeve cap and work down. It takes just a short time.As for adjusting the shoulder seams, well, that's a touchy thing. You need to make sure the armscye is large enough for your arm. Even if you do reduce the sleeve, it's possible that the shoulders will remain the same. If not, you need to determine where the shoulder are too big. Is the shoulder seam too long, or is the armscye too big? If the shoulder seam is too long, it's possible to shorten it, then gently curve back into the armscye. If you have small arms, you may need to take some length off by deepening the shoulder seam allowance. In some patterns, I need to take off 3/4 to one inch. Again, experiment with scrap fabric before you try it on your garment. Good luck.

        1. User avater
          maddie964 | | #4

          The sleeve is too big and I need to take it in 1 in. But I will experiment on some muslin and tell you how it goes! Thank you!

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