Some of the best sewing lessons are learnt by experience. Even better sewing lessons are learnt when someone shares the benefit of their experience. So here’s a tip for cutting out lining fabric. I didn’t learn it from a book, video or tutorial. I learnt it the hard way and by then applying those hard won lessons.
Lining fabric tends to be tightly woven, which means it has very little give. This can spell disaster for sewing fully lined items. More than once, I’ve brought the raw edges of a bodice lining to hand stitch to the zip – only to discover that my lining is too narrow or too short or …. wahhhh! It doesn’t fit the main shell of the dress.
How can that be? Because your fashion fabric might have a loose weave or fluid drape that affects cutting out or relaxes with handling. Whereas your lining fabric doesn’t. Two pieces of fabric, cut out to the exact same dimensions. And now they don’t match.
My answer? Now, I always cut my lining fabric incrementally larger than my fashion fabric pieces. See the bodice lining in the first photo? A depth of 17 inches. Now let’s look at the depth of the fashion fabric bodice piece. 16 and 3/4 inches… Not a lot of difference, but enough to mark a line in the sand between success and failure.
If these tweaks mean that ultimately your lining shell does end up being a little too big for the main shell of your make, fear not. Add tiny tucks. You can see one below at the front neckline of my Sew Over It Joan Dress. Believe me, your body will always be grateful for the extra give and it really doesn’t spoil the line of your make, as long as there isn’t a significant disparity in size.
I hope this helps somewhat. I hope it helps rescue potentially ruined makes. I hope you never have to go through what I’ve gone through in the past!
Sewing. Sometimes it’s there to test your backbone. And sometimes there’ll be a blog post that arrives at just the right time…