Oliver + S

what fabrics do you use for a lining?

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    ditherdither @ditherdither

    So I know this a a newbie question, but I’ve never done a lining before, other than a lining for a bodice where I’ve just used the same type of fabric (like quilting cotton). For a dress like the School Photo dress, what do you use for the lining? Does it depend on the main fabric? In general, what fabrics are typically used for linings?

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    I’m just going to post a quick reply in case the more experienced ladies are busy, but hopefully they’ll chime in when they get a moment. For what I’ve made, a lining does a few different things:

    provides a clean finish inside

    provides opacity for a sheer outer fabric

    provides ‘slipperiness’ to make something easier to get on, or to make sure overlapping layers don’t ‘stick’ (like with a wrap skirt)

    I have had pretty good luck using a thin cotton like lawn, or a kind of slippery one like voile. I have also used lightweight silk in one of the more papery variations. I have received some gorgeous gifts that were lined with a more fluid fabric but I personally am still inexperienced with those and have a bit of trouble getting them to stay put.

    Tamara @justsewit

    When I made the School Photo dress in corduroy I used a quilting cotton to line it and for the denim one again I used cotton.

    I wouldn’t use a heavy wool fabric to line a heavy wool dress as it would be so chunky and would probably alter the size somewhat!

    I like to use natural fibres with natural fibres as much as I can and mixing them is ok. Silk, cotton, voile, lawn are the main fabrics I use to line a dress. I have used something called “Bemsilk” which has polyester in it but provides a slipperiness to slide the garment on – that is particularly good for jackets.

    You can use the same cotton to line your garment – done that heaps of times. I have even lined things with corduroy (romper and dress bodices when smocking baby and toddler outfits) but I wouldn’t use it for lining the School Photo dress. This is particularly nice with a lining that is lighter in weight than the outer fabric.

    I hope I’ve answered your quetion. It is a lovely dress pattern so have fun putting it together.


    Jennifer1568 @Jennifer1568

    I tried lining the School Photo Dress with slippery inexpensive polyester fabric. It was a nightmare. It frayed and slid and I couldn’t get straight seams. I lined the AMH voile Bubble Dress with cotton batiste and it was a dream. I lined a wool School Days jacket with quilting cotton with very nice results. I have polished cotton to line my next wool School Photo dress. I think you need heavy main fabric to use quilting cotton and that you should use another lighter weight woven cotton if you are using a lighter weight main fabric. If you use a lining fabric with a little polyester in it the finished dress won’t wrinkle as badly. I used a light weight cotton polyester blend that I bought at Joann’s to line linen Swing Set Skirts and have really enjoyed the drape and the fact that there is less wrinkle. I think lining fabric should feel good to touch.

    isewstuff @isewstuff

    I used a “slippery” polyester lining for the school days dress, and although it was a nightmare to sew, I was glad I used it. The “slipperiness” kept the dress from sticking to my daughter’s tights and riding up while moving.

    Tamara @justsewit

    Yep I agree that polyester lining is temperamental to sew with but lots and lots of pinning is required to keep it all together – I use a rotary cutter to cut it out so the fraying isn’t as bad. I still prefer natural fibres when lining this dress because of the stubborness of the poly fabrics.

    meleliza @meleliza

    I most often use cotton voile, eapecially for childs things and summer dresses. I buy it in large quantities in ivory and black and occasionally use other colors. I might use batiste too, depending on the fabric. The other thing I use most often is Bemberg rayon. It’s breathable, washable and slippery so it just glides over my trouble spots or over little girl tights. It’s less expensive than silk but is tricky to work with. I use Sullivan’s spray to stabalize the fabric while I’m working with it then wash it out when I’m done.

    Of course, it all depends on what you’re making and what your fashion fabric is. I used one of those designer cotton voiles to line a velvet coat recently but the sleeves were lined with Bemberg so they slide on and off. You might line a wool or denim garment with flannel if you want it to be really warm and cozy, but it will stick to tights and undershirts rather than glide over them. I would use silk for a special occasion dress, but if it’s something I want to launder a lot I might choose somethig else.

    If you want a pop of Some special fun fabric, you can do that with facings too.

    In general, I suppose you want you lining fabric to be lighter weight than your fashion fabric and not to show through. although you could line lace with a contrasting fabric for fun, so there are no hard and fast rules, just what works for your needs at the time.

    Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking about the school photo dress too. I haven’t made it yet, but am considering it for thanksgiving, though time is running out! I have this hot pink boucle rayn suiting that I think might just be too much for me. Wouldn’t that be adorable for a little thing? , I think in any kind of cold weather situation, probably you want Bemberg rayon or silk so that all the undershirts and tights don’t stick to the dress and make her uncomfortable. I hate that sticky feeling, when a dress clings instead of hangs, you know?

    Nicole @motherof5

    Cotton voile is lovely for a special outfit.

    For everyday lining I use a cotton rich poplin.

    Lots of pretty colours and it needs little pressing.

    Karen J @KJhita

    Hello Ladies,

    I was wondering if you would be able to help me.

    I want to get a linen dress stitched with lining, please would you advise what kind of lining would be the best for Linen?

    Thank you.

    Kind Regards,


    needlewoman @needlewoman

    I use polycotton poplin for lining most of the Oliver + S patterns I make. Lightweight, sews up well, washes easily, and doesn’t wrinkle to much.

    Ava @fitdoc

    Where do you purchase the poly/cotton poplin is it something that can be found in Joanns at least for initial use?


    Florence Taylor @FlorenceTaylor

    @fitdoc I get some at Joanns , but I also use bed sheets from yard sales/goodwill or rummage sales. I also use muslin to line.

    Dori @DoriLloyd

    To those of you who use cotton/muslin for lining–when it is washed, doesn’t it need extreme ironing? I can’t imagine that this would be a good option for that reason. Thoughts?

    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    @dorilloyd if I’m lining something then odds are it’s a special occasion dress that will need some ironing anyway. So ironing the lining is not a deal breaker. I have made many Fairy Tale dresses with cotton voile/Batiste lining and the bodice can all be ironed as one and just the lining and main skirts ironed separately. It’s not that much extra work.
    To be honest, I hate ironing, and my kids live wearing stretch fabrics, so most of my sewing these days is knits 😉

    Dori @DoriLloyd

    Thanks! I’m wanting to line a skirt and a sundress. My daughter is a seamstress in Nashville and said no to cotton muslin but yes to cotton batiste. I have a lot to learn about methods of weaving/creating fabrics. To me, cotton is cotton is cotton… 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

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