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How do I line a top that doesn’t call..

sosewnem | Posted in General Discussion on


I will be making a dress for my daughter’s maid-of-honor. I have the pattern, matte satin fabric and Hang Loose lining. I was planning to line the skirt, but the woman at the store suggested that I line the top as well and she recommended that more than lining the skirt.

The problem is I’m not sure how to line the top, and wonder how to deal with the sew-in interfacing. I imagine I’d attach the interfacing to the lining somehow.  My brain is getting tired trying to figure this one out!  I have heard of underlining and find plenty of instruction about doing that, but haven’t found any of lining a top where the pattern doesn’t call for it. 

The pattern for the top is Simplicity #9466, view A, which is shown on the model on the left and the top middle sketch.  http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=9466

Because I’m more of a visual/hands-on learner, I would need a detailed explanation on how to do this. I have lots of books, including at least half of the Singer Reference sewing series, so if you have a book to recommend that might have photos along with explanation, that might help too if I have it or can get it through my library.  Otherwise, I’ll try to understand any written instructions – and ask more questions should I not quite understand.

Thanks so much!  …The mother of the groom is also sewing one of these tops, so whatever help I can get, I will pass along to her – and she will also appreciate it!




  1. mygaley | | #1

    Bridal Gowns How to make the wedding dress of your dreams (Palmer-Pletsch??) and Bridal Couture (Susan Khalje) have the pictures and instructions you are looking for.  I certainly would line that top and interline it as well as the skirt.  The way I do interlining is to lay out my cut out pattern pieces wrong side up, put tiny dots of any white glue in the seam allowances and lay the interlining pieces on top.  A lightweight interfacing fabric could be used.  Allow to dry about 1 hour and handle this piece as one.  It seems that the lining for this top would have to be done in the way that a vest is lined (pulled through) but your opening would be in the back, making a very nice edge in which to apply a zipper.   I am not familiar with Hang Loose lining but I have interfaced and lined skirts to great satisfaction.  Most of these instructions, or at least the ideas for them came from an old old Palmer-Pletsch book Sew A Beautiful Wedding.  God bless you mothers as you sew these special dresses.  Galey      


    1. sosewnem | | #2

      Hi mygaley,

      I do have the Sew a Beautiful Wedding book and will look at it this evening.  I believe our library has at least one of the others you mention and they can order books from other libraries.

      We weren't planning to do underlining since we felt that just a lining would be sufficient.  The matte satin is a heavier satin (also polyester), which is why we didn't feel the need to underline it also.  As for Hang Loose lining, it is polyester and is static free. 

      The back of the top buttons, which I neglected to mention.  So that would also be a seam.

      I think I have a vest book somewhere, unless I got rid of it prior to our major move south, so that might help me also to know what I am going to be pulling through - I just have to locate it in the boxes of books I never unpacked. 

      You've given me a jumping off point to do some research.  I do appreciate that!        Of course, I do welcome more information if anyone has some.

      Thanks again,


      Edited 2/23/2006 6:08 pm ET by sosewnem

      1. mygaley | | #4

        I am so pleased to help.  I suggested interlining instead of sew-in interfacing. for facings, etc.  Send pictures!  Galey

      2. mem | | #5

        Definitely interline the skirt as the hang will be so much better. also you wont see any heming if you do that as you will sew the stitches into the interlineing and not the fashion fabric. I would inetrline the top and then because you dont understand the lineing process make the sewn in facings in the usual way . The interlineing is treated as one with the fashion fabric . Then when you do them hem etc you can stitch into the interlineing and leave your fashion fabric nice and unmarked . The drape of the garment is greatly enhanced by interlining  and you wont regrat doing it.

  2. suesew | | #3

    I can't believe that the pattern doesn't tell you how to line the top. How else would you be finishing the edges? Here's how I would do it. Cut the lining pieces exactly the same as the rest. Construct both the top and the lining but do not sew the side seams, but sew the shoulder seams. Now put the lining and the top rights sides together. Sew all the edges except the side seams, sew the neckline, the armholes, the bottom edges and the center back edges. Clip and trim really well. Turn right side out through the shoulder seams. It'll be tight, but you can do it. Sew the side seams . You can do almost all of the side seams by machine and finish the last few inches on the lining by hand.

    1. sosewnem | | #7

      Hi everyone,

      Suesew,  The pattern called only for facings - and the ones at the shoulder overlap by 2-1/2 to 3 inches, which I thought would make the shoulder strap area too thick and not look good.

      I have made up a sample top, which I have mailed up to Pennsylvania for the maid-of-honor to try on for a fitting.  My daughter will help with that - and I'll be on the phone asking questions and getting feedback when that happens.  They will also be able to write on this muslin sample. 

      I also went to the library on my way home today and borrowed a stack of sewing books, including one with the method you have just described.  Your step-by-step instructions were excellent, and with the two illustrations I saw in the book, it helped me to understand fully.

      Galey, I'll send pictures along when this finally gets made - which could be in a month or two.  I'm slightly confused about the idea of the interlining being in place of interfacing.  With a bridal gown, there is the fashion fabric, interlining fabric and lining fabric.  (I wasn't aware that they do this with Bridesmaid dresses.)  Maybe that is enough that sew-in interfacing is not needed?  How about when there is just the fashion fabric and a lining fabric?  I would think it still needs interfacing - yes?

      mem, I admit to not planning to interline the skirt, but only to line it.   It had been suggested that we use horsehair braid in the hemline.  I think I had found that in a couple books, including the Palmer Pletsch Sew a Beautiful Wedding & Singer Ref. Sewing for Special Occasions.  (Now, I'm beginning to re-think that...)  You've also made me think about my own MOB dress, which I have yet to figure out what I'm doing for that.  I thought I had it all figured out - and even had the fabric - at which point, my daughter informed me that the chairs are all that color and she didn't want me blending in with the chairs!  So, I'm back to searching for a different fabric.

      cafms, I appreciate your in-put since you have already made this pattern a couple of times.  Possibly you found the overlapping facings annoying also.  I'm wondering if you found the ease in the top (view A) to be too much for your daughter - comparing her measurements to the back of the pattern & choosing the size by that?  I also thought the armhole looked big after I sewed the pattern.  Perhaps you know the answer to my question further above in this particular post - if the sew-in interfacing is needed, as well as the lining?  I don't want to use iron on because I'm afraid it wouldn't be good for the Matte Satin.

        I find your use of the zipper upside down intriguing and a wonderful ingenuity!  I would never have thought of that - and with it being an invisible one, there's only the tab at the bottom, which I'm sure was hardly noticeable. 

      Although I've had some confusion - I'm so thankful for this forum to hear from others their experiences and suggestions.  I'm sure by the time I need to sew the top & skirt, I will have all the answers I need.  :-)



      1. mygaley | | #8

        I'm sorry I wasn't clear:  I was suggesting that you not use facings or  sewn in interfacings.  The directions from Suesew are what I was trying to point you to.  Do, do, use the horsehair braid or at least interface the hem line (look in the books).  In my experience, one is never sorry that a facing, interfacing, lining, boning, or any way of supporting the fashion fabric was used;  I have been sorry that I did not use one.  Galey

      2. FitnessNut | | #9

        Upside down invisible zippers are wonderful. Do consider using one.A book that hasn't been mentioned is Connie Long's "Easy Guide to Sewing Linings", published by Taunton. It is a fabulous resource and gives you all the information to make lining patterns for many types of garments as well as suggesting different options for each garment. I think this book belongs in any serious sewist's library.

      3. Josefly | | #10

        I'd like to add my two cents worth. Interlining makes a huge difference to the body of the fabric, and looking at your pattern, I'm surprised it's not recommended for the bodice. I'd go with mygaley's and suesew's advice here. Interlining should preclude the interfacing, and then a lining will give a nice smooth finish inside. I love the pattern, and that skirt is going to be beautiful with the horsehair in the hem. I would interline the skirt instead of lining it, to make the hemming prettier, but also to give it great body. I was amazed at the difference it makes the first time I followed Threads advice to interline skirts. If you've already bought the non-static lining fabric, I don't see why that can't be used to interline instead of line the skirt. Good luck, and I'm looking forward to seeing pictures!

        1. sosewnem | | #11

          Hi Josefly,

          I guess I thought the lining fabric would not be 'stiff' enough to be a interlining, though 'stiff' is not the word I want - because it is not supposed to stiffen it.  I'm beginning to think that maybe the 3 layers of fabric (ie: fashion, interlining, and a lining) would be, and will consider one of the suggested interlinings in "Bridal Gowns" by Palmer Pletsch, which I have borrowed from the library along with 5 other books, including "Bridal Couture".   To quote from pg. 90 of "Bridal Gowns" by Palmer Pletsch, "Some of the most commonly used fabrics for underlining bridal gowns include, cotton organdy, silk organza, netting, lightweight fusible interfacing, cotton batiste, sewin-in interfacing and crinoline."  I'm not sure which one to choose at this point.  The matte satin is a heavier weight than some I've felt at other stores.  The lining matches the satin pretty well, so I'd rather not use it for interlining the top, but rather use it for the lining there.  I think it's fine for interlining the skirt, which is how I'm planning to do that.  Being that it is a May 27th (almost June) wedding in Maryland, I think maybe I should choose one of the cottons since the two polyester fabrics (satin & lining) will already be warm to wear.  However, if anyone has a reason why one type would be better than another, please advise.

          I'm hoping to gather enough information between the books and all the help everyone has suggested here to be able to make this and have it look good.

          I appreciate so much each of you who have taken the time to answer my questions.  I'm sure it has helped me along in this process!

          sosewnem    :-) 



          1. mygaley | | #12

            Cotton organdy and batistes bring the problems of shrinkage and wrinkling; if the gown is polyester, perhaps it would be washed sometime in its lifetime.  I would suggest a cotton blend. 

            It's not possible to keep these bridal party ladies cool enough, especially in the south, what with the temperature, excitement and anxiety.  When I help a bride dress I insist that there are several fans in the dressing rooms and where the maids are dressing also.  Also, I have one high, backless stool, so the bride can sit down after she puts on her dress; just lift the skirt over the stool like an umbrella and it will not be wrinkled when she is ready to change locations.  Galey

          2. User avater
            susannah_sews | | #15

            Not really on point, but........I noticed the comment about keeping the bridal party cool.  Recently I was discussing lining fabrics with my favourite fabric shop proprietor (unfortunately she has closed, to marry the special man in her life and become a farmer's wife).  She had often encouraged the use of contrast fabrics for lining, especially when the lining colour did not impact on the exterior view of the garment.  (this is why my conservative black, grey and navy skirts often have vivid scarlet, emerald or turquoise linings - that only I know about).  She said that a dressmaker she worked with always used a very ice-white lining for wedding dresses, sometimes as a second lining if the outer fabric was cream, because brides were always nervous, and the visual impact of a very cool colour had a calming effect!


          3. mygaley | | #16

            Thanks for the tip; anything we can do to calm our brides will show our work at its best.  Galey

          4. Josefly | | #13

            Galey's comments on the fabrics are good advice. I'm wondering if silk organza to interline the bodice would give it the extra stiffness you fear losing when foregoing the interfacings? Joan

  3. cafms | | #6

    I have made that pattern for my daughter using both views A and B (strapless) with skirt E.  I was using a lighter fabric than matte satin so I fused a light tricot interfacing to the fashion fabric before cutting it out.  I don't like facings as the pattern calls for in view A so lined it using the method suesew, above, described but did not sew the center back seam to the lining.    We did not want buttons or a regular zipper so I put in an invisible zipper upside down to zip from the bottom up to about 3 inches from the neckline.  I  then stitched the rest of the seam and the lining as far as the zipper so  the neckline was smooth in the back.   Her dress looked so much better than the other bridesmaids because of the interfacing and lining.   She used it again a year later for her sophomore flute and piano recital in college.

    Edited 2/23/2006 10:52 pm by cafms

  4. SewNancy | | #14

    Probably the easiest thing to do is to underline the top to give it more body and a place to hem it so that it doesn't show on right side. Or, you could just baste the lining at the neck and armhole and then add the facing and you can tack it to the lining. Hem lining separately. This is probably easier than other methods. Threads had an article some years ago showing how to face and line in one. I don't know when.

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