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Trying to turn lined top

morningstar | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am sitting here going crazy trying to turn right side out this simple pull over your head top . I decided to line it as its a lovely fine woollen houndstooth/plaid….. might be itchy on bare skin. It has a scoop neck and no sleeves. Well I sewed shoulder seams of top and lining separately and sewed lining to neck edge. trimed neck edge and understitched it. Presses beautifully. Then I sewed armhole edges lining and top right sides together and ditto, trimmed , edgestitched. I am not working from a pattern that shows you how to line a top so of course I couldnt turn it. So I thought to unpick part of lining shoulder seams and try to pull ?lining?, ?top thru that. Well i gave up as I just couldnt figure it out. The edges are just getting more frayed with each attempt and I end up with a weird mess. Please help. Hope I dont have to unpick anything else .


PS I am going to line the top that I had problem with re seams coming apart…HA HA thought I would make this simple top today, not so sure now re lining.


  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    Do you have last November's Threads? (#115) In the article named "Key Turning Points for Lining by Machine" Shannon Gifford gives us good instructions and illustrations for sewing on and turning linings in the basic garment types. A sleeveless pullover is included.

    Don't give up! This kind of sewing in a lining just doesn't feel like it follows an intuitive path . It can be more like a feat of engineering. But once you see it you usually think, "Ah, of course!"

    1. morningstar | | #2

      Thank you so much Elizabeth but I just started to subscribe to Threads and don't have that issue. I tried to find article via this website..is this possible in their archives or something. Sounds like exactly what I need!!


      1. Jean | | #3
  2. SewTruTerry | | #4

    Don't feel bad we have all had those "Brain Burps" and will continue to have them. Since it sounds as though you have sewn all the seams the only ones that you need to pick out are the side seams. And yes I am afraid that you will have to pick them all of the way out. When you are finished picking you will have an exagerated letter H but with two cross pieces. Then you will have to reach through the layers and through one shoulder seam and grab the other part of the shirt and turn it.  Then when you are ready to sew the side seams again if you have sewn the bottom of the lining to the bottom of the fashion fabric you will have a tube that you will be sewing and will leave as small an area that you are comfortable leaving as you sew the right sides together again matching the seams at the under arm area and at the hem of the top. You will want to leave the opening on the lining side of the garment and that is easy enough to stitch by hand to close up.  Good Luck.

    1. ShannonG4d | | #5


      Pick out the shoulder seams, and the side seams.  Leave the bottom, and the armholes stitched.

      Turn the front unit right side out.  Leave the back unit wrong side out.  Stick the front unit inside the back unit and pull the shoulder seams through the strap part of the unit until the raw edges match.  Stitch through all four layers at the shoulder.

      Pull the front unit through to the outside, then turn the back unit right side out.  Press the shoulders.

      Now put the front and back together at the side seams and pin together ONLY the outer fabric.  Stitch this together.    Press.

      You can hand-stitch the lining together, or if you like, you can manipulate the lining to machine stitch as much as possible, leaving a small opening to do by hand.

      Shannon Gifford

    2. morningstar | | #6

      Thank you so much for you kind reply....yes I already unpicked "serged" to boot   lining and top side seams (ho hum not much allowance left). BUT exactly what you told me to do...reach into opening in shoulder lining and pull whole shirt thru...I get a strange conglomerate mess, no neck hole to be found and I keep working and pulling this and that and presto I am back to an inside out topaagin.

      1. I have sewn neckline top and lining together

      2. I have sewn (as above , right sides together) just the arm hole edges together

      3. I HAD sewn shoulder seams together (separately) but unpicked both lining ones (only) an inch or so till both neck edges and armhole edges. Should I unpick BOTH top and lining (Of one side) shoulder seams ?? So there is a complete gap ? Maybe that's the ticket.

      HA HA I have never seen so many intersting combinations of inside out, upside down and back to front

      What  a laugh !!

      1. mem1 | | #7

        I am glad you are still laughing! I do detect a note of hysteria though????Shannons method will work

      2. Teaf | | #8

        Does your top open down the front like a cardigan or vest, or is it like a t-shirt? Most instructions for turning lined garments, especially those you pull through the shoulder, are for two-piece fronts. I wonder if it's possible to do that with a pullover, especially one with sleeves; an interesting puzzle worth working on!For a pullover, I'd make two whole garments, attach them at the hem, then tuck the lining inside and secure it at the neckhole and sleeve hems, possibly with coordinating binding. Or, hem the sleeves and bottom of lining and garment first, then attach them at the neckline, tuck the lining inside, and let the lining hang loose, like a slip lining. In this way, you may also have less pulling/twisting between the lining and garment fabrics, especially if they are very different. Good luck, and please share any solution you come up with!

        1. morningstar | | #9

          Thank you so much for all your suggestions Teaf. I got  a reply from Shannon and this is what I did:

          As I had sewn both lining and top shoulder seams I had to unpick them..oheey, what a drag as they were serged and the fabric ravels like crazy. What I had sewn was lining to neck edge and armholes, side seams were free as well as hem. It is  a neat fine wool plaid top and I am making a pleated skirt to match. It is sasimple little simple pullover top, from a slection in Butterick 3633 Ha Ha from 1986. It fits me perfectly, boat neckline. I have made dozens of little tops from it but never lined.

          So then I turned the front right side out and pressed it. I left the back wrong side out. I put the front completely inside the back and pulled the shoulders of the front into the back shoulders. I pulled them thru just until raw edges matched. I stitched thru all 4 layers at the shoulder seam. I then serged it to finish and put whole top right side out. I then pressed the shoulders. I then serged shoulders and lining all in one seam. I then serged finished hems of both lining and top and pressed up and blind stitched hems separately.    Beautiful  !! I was amazed and never had thought of doing it that way before. I definitely will be repeating a top like this. Hope this helps others.


          1. mem1 | | #10

            You had better keep a copy of this as I guarentee you will foget how to do it !!!!!

          2. Jean | | #11

             Hope this helps others.

            I'm sure it will, if I can ever understand it!! LOL

          3. morningstar | | #12

            Hi Jean

            I am sure it will if you actually do it with a real top. Just reading instructions often doesnt make sense. Let me know if you need more specifics on how to do it.


            What is to give forth light must endure burning - Victor Frankl

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