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lining a dress

amyL | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am making a 100% cotton sheath dress,  with a zipper (an old Vogue pattern) I want to line the dress in 100% cotton muslin even though the pattern does not call for it.  My question is do I sew the sides together and then do the darts with lining and fashion fabric as one? Thanks for any input


  1. Josefly | | #1

    My experience is that underlining gives a cotton dress or skirt a wonderful body and feel. The garment doesn't wrinkle as much when wearing, and keeps its fresh look much longer. Treating the fashion fabric and lining fabric as one is underlining, as opposed to lining, where darts, side seams, etc., are taken in the two fabrics individually, then joined at neckline or shoulders, or waistline, in the case of a skirt.

    When underlining, you don't need to sew the two fabrics together at the sides before sewing darts. Just pin the darts in while the two layers are pinned together; sew the darts and then treat the two layers as one, sewing side seams, and adding facings and/or sleeves. When you turn up the hem, you can sew to the underfacing only, leaving a completely invisible hem.

    1. amyL | | #2

      Thanks for the speedy reply now I can get to work. Amy

      1. Teaf | | #3

        One word of caution about 100% cotton muslin-- quality varies widely, and some of it wrinkles too horribly to use as a lining. (Can you tell that I've had a terrible experience with bad muslin before??) Pre-wash and dry the muslin in the same way you plan to treat the dress to make sure that you won't end up with a nightmarish interlining that will ruin your beautiful cotton dress!

        1. amyL | | #5

          I am in a quandry. My muslin is 100% cotton and high quality. I do have a 65% poly 35% cotton batiste that I could use. My fashion fabric is 100% light weight cotton. What do you suggest?? Thanks Amy

          1. Elisabeth | | #6

            I'm going to jump in here and suggest not using the poly blend. Why spoil the wonderful feel of cotton. Try the muslin layered with the cotton, hold it over your hand, move it around some, hold up a nice sized area with the two together and see how it drapes and if it changes the mood of the fashion fabric in a way you like or don't like. If the muslin is good quality it will be a pleasure to sew with.

          2. mem1 | | #7

            you had better wash that muslin very well before using it and then make your decision.

          3. amyL | | #8

            Thank you all for your advice on lining my dress. After much consideration, I decided to use the batiste. It felt so soft and light compared to my other muslin fabric I could not resist it. (I also did not want to go to the fabric store Again since time is of the essence), It was so helpful to hear from all of you and, as always, I appreciate having this forum to get the information so quickly.

      2. Elisabeth | | #4

        I wonder about the muslin too. Maybe a good quality batiste would be better? It is lighter weight and can be found in a high enough quality to not misbehave as an underlining. It depends on the weight of the cotton you are making the dress from. Overpowering the fashion fabric with the underlining in weigh or crispness may not create the results you hope for.

  2. Millineress | | #9

    Instead of muslin, you might wish to try the cotton that is available at Indian sari stores. It can be quite fine and yet substantial enough for a lining. I've used it with success.

  3. SewNancy | | #10

    I wouldn't line or underline in muslin, it isn't fine enough.  Try finding cotton voile or batiste. 


  4. babalouie | | #11

    I made my daughter a children's small dress in satin (for practice). I lined it by sewing the lining together with the satin, from the gathered neck down. I would never do it that way again because of the hemming problems.

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