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Lining and underlining

artistic1 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi again!! this dress pattern I have calls for both underlining and lining. It has been years since I have used both. Whats the difference and what fabrics would be suggested for underlining? It also has interfacing! What is the purpose of underlining please refresh my memory..why would I need all of these? Thanks!!!!!


  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    If you SEARCH them you will find many lengthy discussions on that subject. Hope it helps you.

  2. alotofstitches | | #2

    Underlining is used to support fabric  and lining is used to cover all the seams and make the inside "pretty" as well as make wearing more comfortable.  Check out the 1860's emsemble in the Reader's Closet:  that bodice has a bridal underlining to support the silk giving a smooth appearance on the outside (hiding the seam edges) and the fabric was delicate and the bodice was to fit snuggly so the underlining supports the seams.  There is interfacing in it as well to add more body in certain areas (sleeve cuffs, necklines, etc.) and then it is lined for a nice appearance inside and wearing comfort.  The skirt is lined with it being completely sewn in even at the hemline and then it has a lining too so that the skirt floats freely over her hoop as she moves.  Bridal gown bodices are always underlined so the seams won't show thru on the outside of the face fabric as well as hiding boning, etc.

    1. artistic1 | | #3

      Thanks for the info so do you buy the same fabric for both lining and underling?


      1. alotofstitches | | #4

        NO!  A good underlining such as used on the silk dress is HTC Form-Flex Woven or a similar product.  It's a woven sew-in, usually 100% cotten.  On the bolt it feels stiff but with handling/sewing it softens quite a bit.  HTC's is narrow but you can find a similar product 60" wide.

        I prefer a silk or acetate lining (more cost efficient)--both fabrics breathe making wearing a lot more comfortable than polyester "lining" which is what all fabric stores carry.  Sometimes you can get 100% acetate light weight taffeta to be used for lining but for several years now I've had to find all this on ebay stores because the fabric store here does not carry what I want.  Good luck with your sewing!

      2. Ceeayche | | #5

        I've also found that underlining can give some stability to boucle and other loosely woven fabrics; and provide a wonderful drape to more inexpensive cuts.  I put net under lace sometimes to add a sense of modesty without compromising all of the transparency.  When I did costumes, I used to underline most of them to avoid putting all of the actress' "personal business" on display under the stage lights-- I did this even when the garments weren't lined.

        1. rsew | | #6


          I am currently sewing a jkt and skirt for civil war reenactor.  the jacket calls for underling.  the fashion fabric is 100% cotton . the lining is 100% cotton.  should I also use 100% cotton  (muslin) as the underling for the jacket.  This pattern also calls for boning on the jacket side seams and on the two front darts.  What's your opinion. the pattern is McCalls 5132 and customer would prefer to keep the materials used as close to civil war era as possible --so no polyester/no button holes.

          thank you


          1. alotofstitches | | #7

            Let me quickly say that I am not an authority on authentic civil war era clothing!  I don't think the muslin will have enough "stiffness/body" for that jacket.  You need a product like HTC Form Flex woven--it's stiffer than muslin.  To get the smooth appearance on the outside of the garment you've got to have support for the cotton.  You might even consider 2 layers or a heavier bridal underlining.  the boning sewn to the underlining will help with the smoothing at the front dart and side seams.  I did use poly boning Rigilene in my 1860's outfit and evven an invisible zipper but my customer was more interested in an authentic look but more importantly ease of dressing herself and wearing ease.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #8

            The cotton muslin would probably work well for underlining the jacket. What you did not say was what weight of fabric you are working with for the jacket! When underlining, the underlining and face fabric are worked with as one. They must be compatible with each other. The cottons will do that. Cotton broadcloth will also work. It all depends on which will give you the proper weight and feel for the final hand and look of the jacket that is desired. Cathy

          3. rsew | | #9

            the jacket fabric is a light cotton  so I think the muslin underlining will be ok

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            I think so too. Cathy

          5. rsew | | #11

            thanks to everyone for your insight.


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