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Lining for duponi silk wedding gown

derby | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I am  about to start my daughters wedding gown very simple strapless boned bodice and princess line skirt with train I have purchased dupioni silk I am wondering if I should underline the whole dress and with what , our stores haven’t heard of china silk which I was told to use.  Should I use the same fabric for the actual lining I am a little nervous about this project the mock up has turned out okay so its the lining that is worrying me at the moment Any help  or suggestions would be greatly appreiciated.

Edited 4/7/2005 5:11 pm ET by cindy1


  1. HeartFire | | #1

    I made a really fabulous wedding dress out of silk dupioni. What I did for the bodice, was end up using 2 layers of the dupioni, a layer of bleached white cotton muslin and then silk organza as an underlyining. I then lined the dress with silk crepe de shine. this may sound like a lot of layers but it really gave a beautiful hand to the dupioni which by itself was too thin and lightweight to use alone in the bodice, If you are making a strapless, boned top, you will need something a little more 'beefy' than one layer of dupioni.

    Hope this helps

    1. derby | | #4

      Thank you so much for your advice, I'm to the fabric store to see what I can find.


  2. FitnessNut | | #2

    I, too, have made a strapless wedding gown from silk dupionni. I underlined the entire dress with a light cotton batiste and lined it with a bemberg rayon. I would have used china silk, had it been available in my location. The bodice was underlined as well with a product that was labelled crinella....I have never seen it in any other store, but it is a fairly stiff and thin fabric used for strapless garments in Europe. The store had it in two weights, both of which were transparent. The wonderful thing about this fabric is that it gave the gown the required structure without bulk....even the boning was invisible underneath it! I think that a similar fabric was used in the recent Threads article on bustiers. Remember to secure the gown at the waist with a grosgrain ribbon inside belt. It really does help to keep everything in place.

    1. derby | | #5

      Thank you for your advice I'm off to the fabric store to see what I can find.


  3. Elisabeth | | #3

    http://www.thaisilks.com has the silk fabrics mentioned. They have good prices and good service.

  4. PamelaD | | #6

    I just made a very fitted princess line flared gown for my daughter in silk Dupionni.  The top of the dress had a shelf bra and Victorian lace bust inset; I created the pattern from a plain strapless gown. 

    I was short of time and had to use locally available materials.  I underlined the dress with a stiff nylon(not polyester) organza.  It was a sale item, and probably commercial in origin.  This particular store gets some items from factories, perhaps it was even the crinella mentioned.  I had hoped to use silk organza, but couldn't find the right colour.  That said, this stuff gave the dress much more substance than silk organza would have and contributed to the extreme flare my daughter wanted and also eased all the fears I had about weakness at the seams in a fitted dress out of dupionni.  It also hid all the boning.  I loved it!  I liked it better than silk organza for this project.  The bust of the dress was self-lined (the shelf bra) and I used cream silk taffeta behind the antique lace.

    Being short of time, I did not line the dress (couture dresses are often not lined), but I did hand overcast the verical princess seams, which really was a quicker operation than lining.  I was concerned about show through had I finished the seams with a serger.  I don't trust drycleaners to press properly.

    I'm going back to the store to buy some more of this nylon organza.  It's perfect for strapless dresses where you need strength and flare.

  5. craymondb | | #7

    Hi there,

    I think that whether you interline the garment or not will depend on whether you want to keep the hand of the fabric that you are working with or not.  I am assuming that you are adding boning seeing as it's a strapless wedding gown.  I don't think that's it's necessary that you add an interlining to the dupioni silk, but it is necessary to have an interlining to sew the boning to.  As for the lining, I think that a really beautiful bemberg lining would be the way to go.  It is as breathable as the dupioni silk so on accout of this it will make the gown very comfortable.  The "interlining that the boning is sewn to, could be the dupioni silk, but probably just as good to use a cotton batiste.  Remember that if you put white under white you could change the tone of the white dupioni, so play with a couple of other colors ( ie ivory, off white, nude ectera) to find a tone that doesnt affect the color of the silk.  Add some bust pads to the batiste so the boning doesnt show. 


    1. derby | | #8

      Thanks for the info, I managed to purchase batiste and bemberg for the lining, however the pattern Simplicity 4652 suggests that I put the boning in the seams of the bodice I don't have a huge amount of sewing experience but I  am wondering if it wouldn't be better in the lining?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

      1. HeartFire | | #9

        you can make a casing for the boning by cutting a strip of the silk about 1 1/2 inches wide on the BIAS, fold it in half and sew a channel in it( slightly larger than 1/4 if your bones are 1/4 inch wide) to slip the bone into, then hand sew the bias casing into the seam allowance of the bodice and insert the bones. I would put it in the bodice, not the lining, but I suppose it might work that way too.

      2. craymondb | | #10

        Hi there,

        I think that is a surefire way to disaster.  On a little day dress, sure those kind of things don't matter, but this is a wedding dress.  I think it is best to cut the interlining of the batists the same shape as the outer shell, sew the interlining together and then sew the boning to the seam lines of the batiste.  This way you don't alter the hand of the beautiful dupioni silk, but you still allow movement of the lining. As well, you might was to consider adding 1 inch twill tape at the waist of the batiste interlining for support and to prevent distortion.


  6. derby | | #11


    I have already put the interlining to the bodice and it gives it a lovely hand.  Are you suggesting I use another layer of batiste or should I  use the bemberg for the lining and attach the boning to same

    1. craymondb | | #12

      Since you have already sewn the interlining to the shell fabric, the only option you would have would be to sew the boning to the bodice.  Sewing boning to the lining will not off enough support. 

      I would have:

      Sewn the outer shell together and press the seams flat

      Sew the interlining together, press the seams flat

      Sew the lining together and press the seams towards center front on the front and center back on the back

      Sew the boning to the seam lines of the interlining

      Add the bust pads

      Sew the outer shell to interlining along the the top of the bodice interserting weft insertion and shrinking in the bodice slightly

      Sew the lining to the bodice and interlining.


      Edited 4/12/2005 10:27 pm ET by craymondb

      1. derby | | #14


        Thank you for your suggestions the penny has finally dropped, I was getting confused with the underlining  I thought I treated it as one fabric  I was a little ahead of myself.  Thank goodness I bought extra material I will start again.  The reason I purchased cotton batiste and bemberg it was all I could find in our town.  We purchased a long strapless bra which seems to fit very well are you suggesting  I would be better to use bra forms in the bodice.  I'm sure you can tell I am a novice at this I have made prom bridemaid grad dresses but not a wedding gown.    

        1. craymondb | | #15

          Hi Cindy,

          I am not suggesting that you use the bra pads.  They are generally not formed as nicely.  What I am suggesting is to get a little bit of thinsulate (or very light padding) and cut these to form a pad.  Basically cut a circle with approximately an 8 - 10 cm radius.  Then from the circle you want to make the bust cup.  Basically you will be making two darts, one from the bottom to the center the other from the top to the center and slighlty off center so that one half is smaller than the other.  Cut down the sides of each dart creating the two pieces and cutting out the dart and smooth the edge so there is no point.  Sew the two sides together with a zigzag stitch butting the sides togethr. Next attach this to the interlining. 

        2. Elisabeth | | #16

          But you do treat the underlining and fashion fabric as one. That is how the underlining supports the fashion fabric in the seams and helps with opacity. A fashion fabric with some tender qualitites, such a dupioni, needs the backing support of an underlining to be able to just be there and look pretty. Sewing a dress in a single layer of dupioni makes the dupioni be a workhorse which it is not so good at.

          1. derby | | #17

            thanks for the info if I treat the dupioni and batiste as one should I use another layer of batiste for the boning?

          2. FitnessNut | | #18

            When I suggested that you use another layer as a foundation for the boning, I didn't specify how to sew it in. Actually, what I do is make a complete separate layer for the boning....almost a separate garment, cut just below where the waistline is so that I can attach the grosgrain waistband to it at all vertical seams and have it sit on the waist. Sew the seams, attach the boning and then attach it to the top edge of the garment. You can sew it to either the lining or the outside (underlined) layers. The waist belt is fed to the inside of the garment through buttonholes in the lining. By doing it in this way and not sewing the boning layer into the garment seams, you have the ability to fit it separately and add boning in areas other than seams if necessary for proper support. I've used batiste, muslin and the aforementioned crinella for this, but you must be sure that it doesn't show through and change the colour of the garment....another reason to underline. This is a variation on a technique written about in Threads by Kenneth King over ten years ago.

          3. craymondb | | #19

            Hi Cindy,

            Sandy's advice is completely right.  By sewing the different layers, unlike what Elizabeth is suggesting, the batiste does do the work for you.  No need to treat the dupioni and batiste as one layer. The dupioni is just an outer shell.


          4. Elisabeth | | #20

            If you read Sandy's post carefully you will see that she and I are not suggesting different methods.

          5. craymondb | | #21

            Hi Elizabeth,

            Perhaps there is confusion on my part.  After reading your posts, I understand that you are saying to treat the outer shell (dupioni) and the interlining (batiste) as one.  This creates a stronger outside shell.  If that is what you are suggesting than this is what I see as a problem.

            interlining the dupioni will change the hand.  If this is what you are looking for then fine.  If not, and you want to keep the hand as is, then treating the batiste and dupioni as one would not be the way to go.

            I am suggesting to sew the outer shell as one and then to sew the batiste as one.  Like cindy suggested, then you can sew boning to the batiste anywhere you like to add extra support.  If you treat the batiste and dupiona as one then you can not do this and are really stuck to setting the boning into the seam lines. 

            By having an interlining between the dupioni and the lining that really does work as the workhorse and does not need extra.  If your really concerned about seam slippage or such a little strip of fine sew in interfacing in the seam would work to add support.

            If I have misunderstood you I appologize.


    2. Elisabeth | | #13

      Underlining the dupioni with batiste sounds wonderful. I have only used silk organza which gives the dupioni an airy feel, now I must try batiste! An underlining helps the dupioni not get stressed at the seams, it's fibers can slip as it's funny fraying habits show. Sandy's suggestion of yet another layer of something more crisp in the bodice area is a good idea for shape and the extra layers help the boning not to show through, but it sounds like you have already sewn the seams.The purpose of the boning is maintain the shape of the garment against forces such as gravity and body curves and motion. While there are common strategic places to put the boning and known methods for sewing it in you can also simply use your judgement some as to where you need it and even how you put it in. I am not suggesting it but, believe it or not, you can even sew through that thick plastic stuff! There are different types of boning too. A nice one but not readily available is the steel spiral boning which bends in more directions than the plastic strips. The stage of assembly of your gown will also help you decide. If you were to add another layer I suggest something nonslippery, lightweight, and a little crisp. I hope I'm not confusing you with options here. My wish is to encourage you to trust your knowledge and instincts and know that there are many "right" answers in sewing. A final thought, on the finished gown a waist stay works well to give the gown a foothold on the moving body.

  7. wench34 | | #22

    Hello-check out http://www.thaisilks.com-they have silk habotai, which is what you want, and very reasonable.  You want at least an 8mm weight...should go for around 5 dollars a yard..also underlining in silk organza will be good as it will help support the fabric without weight and be a shelf that you can hem on.  Also prevents wrinkles.

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