Lining & Interfacing
Interfacing is usually needed in the sensitive parts of a garment for support and in edges to prevent them from stretching. Interfacing can also give form or volume to a garment. The interfacing materials can be self-adhesive or sewn-on.
Such sewn-on interfacing fabrics could for example be different kinds of interlinings that are sewn in between the lining and bodice material. Wool is used in coats and suits for warmth, whilst organza and tulle are used in frocks and gowns to create volume.
Self-adhesive fabrics could be either woven, knit or non-woven fabrics that have a glue finish on one side. The self-adhesive materials can be fused onto the wrong side of a bodice fabric with an iron. This kind of interfacing is used for support and stiffness.
Choosing the interfacing material:
Choose the interfacing material according to the fabric that you are interfacing. The thinner the bodice fabric, the thinner the interfacing should be. The thicker fabric, the thicker interfacing material.
The color of the interfacing fabric should match the color of the bodice fabric, so that the interfaced parts will not look different compared to the non-interfaced parts. If the garment will need washing, the interfacing should also be able to endure it. For elastic materials you should choose elastic interfacing as well. The glue for self-adhesive interfacing fabrics should melt at a lower temperature than the ironing temperature of the outer fabric.
Most commonly interfaced parts are;
- button stands
- collar parts
- center back vent
- curved seams
- patch pocket openings
- in-seam pockets
- edges of zipper slits in elastic materials
- parts that will be cut open
In addition to these the neckline, armholes, sleeve caps, hemline and sleeve bottoms in jackets and coats are interfaced.
Fastening the interface material:
Check whether the interfacing material is suitable for your bodice fabric by making a test piece.
- Cut the interfacing material. Depending on the style you can either interface the seam allowances as well or leave them without interfacing. The interfacing should always be wide enough so that it will go under the seam. This way it will be properly attached and stay in place.
- Place the glue side of the interfacing fabric against the wrong side of the outer material.
- Press the interfacing on with an iron. Do not steam. Keep the iron in one position for 8-12 seconds so that the glue will melt. Too long a time or too hot an iron could make the glue too runny, making it bleed on the front side of the bodice fabric.
- Let the interfaced piece rest for an hour or even a day before sewing. The glue needs a couple of hours to dry permanently.
If the bodice fabric is sensitive or its ironing temperature is much lower than the interfacing’s, you can try to press the interfacing through a pattern paper or an ironing cloth with a higher temperature. Remember to always try on a separate patch before ironing the actual pieces!
Lining is the garment’s inner part under the bodice. Lining allows the garment to drape and fold nicely, prevents it from sticking to the skin, facilitates dressing by making the inside smoother, protects the garment from inside, prevents stretching, insulates and reduces translucency of thin fabrics.
Lining should not turn static easily but should be very durable; lining is usually the first part to be worn out in a piece of clothing. Lining material should have the same washability as the shell fabric. The lining should be breathable and it should be smooth enough so that the garment is easy to put on and wear.
Choosing lining material:
Lining material should be chosen according to the shell material’s thickness and intended use. The thicker fabric, the thicker the lining.
The quality and price of the lining should be matched with that of the shell materials. A garment that needs to be washed should also endure washes, lining included. The lining material as well as all materials should be washed before use to prevent the finished garment from shrinking.
For elastic materials, choose elastic lining or cut the lining material on the bias. The lining should not be seen through the outer material.
Lining fabric frays and unravels easily from the edges and therefore it is important to finish the edges of the pieces. Avoid undoing seams as this might easily leave stitch marks on the lining fabric. Lining should have a lot more fullness compared to the shell.
The way the lining is attached to the shell depends a lot on the garment that is being lined. Usually lining is fairly simple, but for example the lining process of jackets and coats includes several phases.
Lining a jacket or a coat:
Lining a simple coat or jacket:
- Sew the shell and lining separately.
- Place the lining inside the shell. The sleeves of the lining should be inside the bodice’s sleeves, wrong sides together. Pin and sew the lining on the bodice’s front and neckline facings and press seam allowances towards the lining.
- Press the shell’s seam allowances on the bottom of the sleeve to the wrong side, creating a turnup.
- Pin the lining’s bottom of sleeve on the edge of the shell’s turnup from the inside. Make sure that the lining’s sleeve is not twisted. Pull the sleeve inside the coat, so that neither of the sleeves is on top of the other. The bottoms of the sleeves should be against each other, right sides together. Sew the bottoms.
- Sew the turnup on the bodice’s seam allowances. Pull the sleeve right side out.
- Sew the other sleeve similarly.
- Press the bodice’s bottom turnup to wrong side according to the notches.
- Turn the garment wrong side out and pin the turnup to the lining’s seam allowances, right sides together. Leave an open part where you can turn the piece right side out again.
- Sew the turnup’s seam allowances on the seam allowances of the bodice.
- Close the hole on hemline by hand.
Sleeve heads are used for example in women’s jackets, men’s suits and all sorts of coats, usually with shoulder pads. In lighter women’s jackets the sleeve heads can be used alone, without shoulder pads. The purpose of a sleeve head is to support, lift and round the sleeve cap, which allows it to drape and flow nicely. It also prevents the seam allowances from sticking through the bodice fabric. It is possible to buy ready-made sleeve heads from fabric shops but you can make them by cutting them of a separate material such as batting, cotton flannel or polyester padding.
Cutting sleeve heads:
- Cut a 5-7 cm wide sleeve head using the sleeve pattern. The piece should follow the shape of the sleeve cap on top.
- Mark the position of shoulder seam with a notch.
Fastening a sleeve head:
The sleeve head is fastened before the shoulder pads.
- Place the sleeve head on the seam allowance of the bodice so that the notch and shoulder seam are aligned.
- Pin carefully and check how it fits by trying the garment on.
- Sew the shoulder head by hand or by sewing machine onto the armhole’s seam allowances. If you want, you can slightly ease the sleeve head to create more lift.
- Check the result from the right side and, if necessary, clip the shoulder head’s seam allowances or steam to give it a better shape.
Shoulder pads shape, support and give body to the shoulder line. They also give ease to the armhole. Shoulder pads are most commonly used in coats, jackets and suits.
Attaching shoulder pads:
If you are using sleeve heads, attach the shoulder pads after the sleeve heads.
- Place the straight edge of the should pad on the armhole, slightly over the seam to the sleeve’s side so that the center line of the shoulder pad is aligned with the shoulder line (usually the shoulder seam).
- Pin the pad on from the right side and check how it fits by trying the garment on.
- Sew the shoulder pad on the seam allowances of the shoulder seam and armhole by hand. Be careful not to make the stitches too tight.
- Check the result from the right side and steam into correct shape if needed.
The purpose of a facing is for example to finish the neckline or armholes and to give them more structure. Different kinds of facings are used in unlined garments, if visible seams at the neckline or armholes are not wanted.
Solid facing/lining on a top:
- Finish the bottom edges of the facing.
- If needed, interface the facing’s parts.
- If there are darts on the facing or shell, sew them first.
- Finish the side seams of both shell and facing and sew.
- Finish the shoulder seams of both shell and facing. Sew the shoulder seams of both shell and facing separately and press open.
- Sew the shell and lining right sides together at the neckline. Clip the seam allowances at curves and finish them together, press towards the lining and understitch.
- Place the lining inside the shell, wrong sides together. Grab the seam allowances of the front armholes between the shell and the lining right sides together. Hold carefully and pull the garment inside out. Pin right sides together and sew the front armhole from side seam to shoulder (see image). Clip the seam allowances, finish them together and press towards the lining. Sew the other front armhole similarly.
- Turn the garment right side out and sew the back armholes similarly.
- Understitch the armholes in two parts; first the front armholes from side seam to shoulder, and then the back armholes, side to shoulder. Press carefully.
- Fold and press the facing inside the garment.
- Sew the bottom edge of the facing on the seam allowances of the shell.
- Press the garment.