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lining loosely-woven fabric for skirt

Ginny | Posted in Fitting on

I made a skirt out of loosely woven fabric. The fabric pulls apart at the seams, even though there is enough sitting/walking ease built into the skirt. I suspect I need to line the skirt (wearing a slip doesn’ help the pulling)

My questions are:

Do I sew the lining and skirt fabric together at the seams (treating the lining and skirt fabric as one) or

Do I sew the skirt separately, the lining separately and connect at the top?

What would be the best lining fabric?

Would “lingerie” fabric work as that would provide some stretch or would that defeat the purpose of lining…

Should I use a more stable fabric for lining?

Thanks for you input on this!



  1. Jean | | #1

    At first I thought a bonded liner, but that would probably spoil the drape of the fabric.  Hang on, someone will come along with the answer to your problem.

  2. SEWWRITER | | #2

    The problem is not just a lining: it's treating the seams! I have sewn handwovens, so here are some tips: First, unsew the seams. Cut strips of a soft interfacing, such as FusiKnit, 1/4" wider than the seam allowances.  Fuse them to the seam allowances.  If you have a serger, serge the edge after applying the interfacing.  Now, re-sew your seams.  You'll be stitching through a bit of interfacing.  Alternatively, you can apply bias fusible stay tape to the seams and simply re-stitch them.  It won't keep the seam allowances from raveling, but it will strengthen the seams without compromising the drape of the fabric.  Either way, attach a free-hanging lining -- and best of luck!

    Stephanie Corina Goddard                                                                                Member, Professional Association of Custom Clothiers (PACC)

    1. Ginny | | #3

      Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a try! The skirt turned out so great I hope I can rescue it before it falls apart at the seams.

      It is a wrap around skirt and I pulled the threads to create a fringe on the front overlap piece - it looks great. Hopefull, your advice will help,

      Thanks again!


      1. sewphaedra | | #4

        Why wouldn't you simply interline the skirt? Use a stable woven like bemberg or china silk and treat the lining and skirt fabric as one piece. Then you've stabilized the seam and you'll reduce the wear on the skirt fabric as you wear it.

        1. Ginny | | #6

          Well, this is exactly why I asking for advice... I couldn't figure out if I should do a free-hanging lining or treat the skrt fabric and lining as one piece. The fabric is a loose weave (one reason it fringed so well for the front piece) and the seam is pulling apart at some places on the side.

          Keep the opinions coming; I'll make up my mind what track to take eventually - and let you know what I did!



          1. rjf | | #14

            If it's a wrap-around skirt, how is there stress on the side seams?  I think I agree with sewwriter.....reinforce the seams with a stabilizing fabric.  A free-hanging lining would be easier to work with but necessary?   But if it were not a wrap-around, a free-hanging lining would really help take the stress from the seams.    rjf

          2. rjf | | #15

            I was making a cup of coffee and just thought of another solution.  If you sew the seams, press them open and put a piece of tape over them and then topstitch on each side of the seams about an eigth of an inch away, that might do it.  But that depends on whether it would be too noticeable on your fabric.  It would be an easy solution if it didn't spoil the looks of your garment.        rjf

      2. kai230 | | #5

        Definitely a free-hanging lining as sewwriter said--you can even use an evening skirt or slip--satin is one option--and it doesn't have to be attached, but is convenient for aligning the slits.

        If some seams have stretched, you might try some hot water or pressing cloths on those areas. Some fabric threads shrink after being wet, then drying.

        1. sewphaedra | | #7

          How funny the different advice on this topic! I wouldn't even consider a free-hanging lining. I would want to give the fabric, which sounds pretty fragile, as much support as possible and take off as much stress on it as possible in wearing. Interlining will do that by stabilizing the seams and the fabric itself. Maybe interline and also line (then it might start getting bulky if it's a coarse fabric).

          1. kai230 | | #8

            Well, this is probably why I'm not a seamstress! I do recall that the crocheted dress my Grandmother made for me did not stretch much if it didn't have to conform to my body--so I always wore skinny slips (which is where the stress went). My concern w/interlining is that it could decrease the drape; still, sounds beautiful regardless.

          2. stitchmd | | #9

            There is definitely a lack of consensus here. I didn't jump in at first because I wasn't sure, but after seeing the various suggestions and reasonings here are my two cents. I think the interlining would add support, but also thought the other fabric would stretch out to a different degree so that it would be puckered at the seams. How about if you let it hang out for a while until it is done stretching, then do the construction with interlining.

            As for the seams I'd suggest something like Seams Great binding to cover the ends and a couple of rows of longish straight stitching along it to keep all the threads in place. Did you do a row of stitching along your fringed edge to keep the fringe from growing progressively longer? If you don't want to do this because it would be visible...now don't gasp...you could hand tack each warp and weft together on the wrong side. Really, I'm sure if you matched the thread color well, even went a shade darker, nobody but you would see it.

          3. Ginny | | #11

            Such great ideas! I still haven't decided what to do about the seams for sure. I serged the seams originally and then did a straight seam after it pulled out...

            As to the fringe, the fabric is woven with white thread in one direction and black in the other, so when the thread was pulled for the fringe, I ended up with a lovely black fringe. It's about 1-1.5 inches long. To strengthen the fringe (and make it hang nicer), I sewed a strip of narrow black grosgrain ribbon about 1/8 of an inch from the edge where the fringe starts. It really looks great and gives a nice vertical (i.e. slimming) effect.

            Hopefully I'll have some time to devote to this soon...

            Thanks for all your comments. Keep them coming :)

  3. Barbaran8 | | #10

    whatever you do, hem the lining and the outer layer separately! If the outer layer stretches more you get these saggy puffs at the hem, otherwise

    1. sewphaedra | | #12

      I interline nearly everything I sew and I never get puffs at the hem. Maybe I'm just not using really loosely-woven fabrics or something. Or maybe I (unintentionally!) let it hang long enough that all the stretchiness comes out.

  4. Tikiclub | | #13

    Ok, one more opinion can't hurt.

    I think we are getting a few very similar terms confused here. When you interline an item, you generally use a lining type fabric, and the two are cut the exact same size and sewn together (just a hair inside the 5/8 line) and treated as one single piece. (edit to correct: I mean underlining. Thanks Carol!) If you've got a dart, you would sew it after the two pieces are one. (Sort of like the old sew-in interfacing). Then, you can still line the item. The interlining stabilizes the loose fabric, without affecting the hand of your fabric. And you have your lining, too. Yes, I am talking 3 layers. This is why it's so confusing! And why you would want to use strong, light weight fabrics. The interfacing in the seam allowance is good, as long as it doesn't add too much bulk.

    I made a formal dress using interlining and lining. I wanted to see how the dress would hang. It was a crepe material, and all those layers did add up, but it draped and swished wonderfully. As a bonus, it was not at all transparent.

    Edited 2/7/2003 10:29:29 AM ET by TSittler

  5. carolfresia | | #16

    Ginny, take a look at "Underline with Silk Organza for Invisible Strength," in Threads, issue 97. The author, Juno Friedman, suggests using silk organza as an underlining for raw silks as well as other loosely woven fabrics. She also talks about how to use the underlining (not interlining, which is a used to add warmth rather than strength or support to the fashion fabric) and what it will do for your garment.

    I guess in your current situation, I'd probably try to reinforce the seams some other way--perhaps fuse on strips of light interfacing or bias tape along the stitching line and resew them?


    1. sewphaedra | | #17

      Oh, so I should be saying "underlining." I do get confused sometimes about all those different layers. But I do "underline" almost everything (I sew in linen, cotton, silk and wool) and it gives a nice crispness to the garment and makes it wrinkle less. You can't use silk organza if the garment is supposed to have some stretch, however, like on the bias or with pants. You kind of want that crotch curve to stay flexible.

      1. carolfresia | | #18

        Underlining is a very handy technique, don't you agree? You can really alter the hand of fabric in a good way sometimes. I found a great-looking cotton print, for example, that cried out to become a neo-Lilly Pulitzer pair of pants, but it was too light. All it needed was an additional layer of lightweight cotton underneath, and now it's perfect.


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