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Help with lining a cotton voile dress

Josefly | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I’m looking for a good fabric to use to line a sheer cotton voile. The pattern is for a simple just-below-knee-length, flared, slip-type dress with spaghetti straps, the dress cut on the bias. This is to be used for bridesmaids dresses for a late afternoon outdoor wedding. I’m concerned about having something that will give body and not be too see-thru, but will still drape and flow. The voile is a floral print with an ivory background. I had thought initially that a cotton lining would be best, but someone told me I need something slippery, so the two fabrics can slide instead of sticking together, and suggested a synthetic lining. I would be so grateful for suggestions. I prefer the feel of natural fabrics on my skin, and so am prejudiced against synthetics, but what should I do?


  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    My first thought was cotton batiste used as an underlining, but you could also use a rayon lining. Rayon is a man-made fabric of natural fibres, so it does breathe, and will give you some "slippery-ness" if that is what you would like. Bemberg rayon has wonderful drape.

    1. Josefly | | #2

      Thank you for the tip, Sandy. I'm not familiar with Bemberg rayon but I'll look for it. I had thought batiste, too, and am still considering it.

      1. Elisabeth | | #6

        The Bemberg rayon is also called Ambiance. Sometimes a JoAnn's will have it in black and a few colors. It comes in lots of colors though. Check out http://www.thesewingplace.com for tons of colors. At first sight Bemberg might look like any old lining but when you start to feel it and work with it you will see what a difference there is.

        1. Josefly | | #11

          Ah yes, Ambiance. Thank you. Will check out your sources.

      2. SewNancy | | #12

        I don't know where you are sewing, but it is impossible to find in "local' fabric shops like Jo Annes. The Sewing Place has the full line on line and you can buy a sample set of all the colors for $10.  Waechter Silk shop also sells the full line of colors.


        1. Josefly | | #13

          Thank you Nancy. I will check out Waechters Silk shop, too. Joann's did have a limited selection, but the ivory color I needed was there.
          I sew in the Atlanta, GA area, by the way.

          Edited 2/13/2005 3:34 pm ET by JoanSch

    2. mem1 | | #3

      I agree with Sandy You could also use a very fine habitue silk . The sort that silk painters use . Its very fine and would be very comfortable.

  2. Merryll | | #4

    My first thought was cotton batiste as well.  Why not try a sample with the Bamberg lining and cotton batiste?  Remember to shrink that batiste first, since even if the garment will be dry cleaned, the batiste may be softer after laundering.


    1. Josefly | | #8

      Thanks for the tip. If I go with the batiste I'll be sure and launder it first. But as I try to drag the voile fabric across cotton, I do notice that it sticks, and so would probably not allow the voile to hang and flow properly. But how good it would feel!

  3. kswolff | | #5

    The lightweight silk is an excellent choice for lining. I agree that the two cottons would probably stick together and the dresses would not hang well. The best resource I have found for the silk habutai is Dharma Trading...


    I design & make costumes so I buy it by the bolt, both the price and the quality are great. They are also very helpful if you call with questions.


    1. mem1 | | #7

      Yes I  think the silk would be best and I would use it as interlineing as then there would be no visible seam allowances or facing show through  and the hem would be stitched to the interlineing rather than the lineing .

      1. Josefly | | #10

        I will look for the silk as well as the Bemberg rayon. The pattern I'm using calls for the lining to hang free from the fashion fabric, only being attached at the top of the dress. Other seams are french seams, with a tiny hem at the bottom. I could underline the voile, but the look I've described is more similar to the bride's dress, which is a silk organza dress over a white linen slip dress, two separate pieces. I'm grateful for any comments, suggestions, or warnings. Thanks so much.

    2. Josefly | | #9

      I appreciate the source for the silk. I wonder if sari shops would have this silk. I would love to see it before ordering.

  4. stjamesb | | #14

    What about silk organza?  Very nice to use.

    1. Josefly | | #15

      Though I've never used it I've also heard that silk organza is a great lining/underlining. I think it is too sheer for my purposes, since I'm using a very sheer cotton voile as the over-fabric. I'm trying to avoid the use of a slip, but think it will be necessary probably anyway.
      Thanks to all for the interest and suggestions.

  5. alotofstitches | | #16

    I agree the rayon bemberg (brand name AMBIENCE) would be excellent choice but sometimes hard to find and it's $6-9/yd. which might be an issue for bridesmaids dresses.  I never use polyester but have found that light weight acetate taffeta makes a good lining too.  I prewash it and use fabric softner to eliminate the rustle, usually a lot of color choices and best of all it "breathes" too for more comfort.

    1. Josefly | | #17

      Liz, I appreciate your suggestion. The bemberg rayon feels wonderful, but the price is an issue for me. It was also too sheer. The acetate taffeta is something I will check out. Is there much shrinkage when it is washed? How much should I allow for?

      1. alotofstitches | | #18

        Very little shrinkage that I remember.  It's been so long since I've made anything that was not pre-shrunk that I can't say for sure.  I always pre-shrink so there are no surprises!

  6. Elisabeth | | #19

    I'm prejudiced against synthetics too but what about a polyester georgette? It's actually not bad to wear as a summer lining because of its crepe texture. The crepe texture doesn't stick to skin easily and it let's air through. It has a nice drape but is crisp enough to not make a slinky form fitting dress and it can be fairly non-see-through and it slides well over stockings. I made some bias rayon skirts last summer and lined them with poly crepe that I found in my stash. Those skirts are great even though polyester is on my no list.

    1. mem1 | | #20

      think about ironing it you need to have something which is compatable with the fashion fabric and therefore probably a natural fibre ??

      1. Elisabeth | | #21

        I agree it is not ideal but cost seems to be an issue with these dresses and poly georgette can be found for little money. I had poly in my stash because I used it for ballroom dance skirts which take a beating. The rayon bias skirts I made started out as experiments but I ended up loving them and found the poly georgette lining to actually work really well even in hot sticky Virginia summer days on bare legs if you can believe that!

    2. Josefly | | #22

      Thanks to all for suggestions and tips on this project.
      I decided to go with the batiste. The seamstress helping me with this project needed to get going, and I guess the appeal of cotton for coolness, and cotton's relative opacity were more important to me than slipperiness. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that the results will be pleasing.All the suggestions I got will be helpful on future projects, and I'm grateful for learning about Bemberg rayon, the sources for silk, and all the other stuff. I love this Threads discussion group -- folks are so helpful, and ideas exchanged are inspiring.

      Edited 3/14/2005 6:22 pm ET by JoanSch

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