The lining is not for the fainthearted in sewing. But once you line a garment you are sold for life. The change in the look and drape of the clothing makes you a convert. Jackets, trousers, skirts, coats, dresses – you may want to line all that you sew.
Related post – Learn more about lining and its importance in the post “What is lining in sewing?“.
- So How to choose the best lining fabric for your clothes and what to choose?
- Colour of the outer fabric
- Purpose of the clothing
- Compatibility with the outer fabric
- Fabric choices for lining
- Polyester or polyester blends
- Stretch Lining
- Thick Insulating lining fabrics
- Interlining fabric choices
So How to choose the best lining fabric for your clothes and what to choose?
The 3 factors that determine the fabric you choose for lining are as follows
Colour of the outer fabric
Usually, you need a fabric that matches the color exactly to that of the outer fabric; otherwise, the color of the whole garment may be distorted. If that is impossible, choose a dark color (lighter color will stand out). Sometimes a contrasting color is selected for a special effect.
When going shopping for the lining fabric, take the outer fabric with you and compare both the fabrics in good sunlight or under white lighting.
Purpose of the clothing
This is important as one person may want a warm fabric for insulation and warmth during winter but another may need a thin breathable fabric during summer. Some look out for colourful or printed fabric that will add an interest to the inside of the garment, some want to add structure to the garment and may be looking for a thicker fabric.
You will need a durable easy maintenance fabric for lining clothes that you will wear often, but for occasion only clothes (which you mean to dry clean and then store) you can choose a similar high maintenance lining material.
Do not choose a slippery fabric for lining clothes fitted with boning, or if strapless. You do not want the fabric to slip down.
Compatibility with the outer fabric
This is the most important. The lining fabric should be of the same weight or slightly of lesser weight than the outer fabric. Choose a firmly woven fabric. The care of the outer fabric and lining should be the same.
The lining is expected to be lightweight thin and slippery so that you have no difficulty putting on and take off the garment
Fabric choices for lining
Rayon has thin fibers and because of this the fabric is very much suited to make a lining. It is breathable and soft, pliable and lightweight. It would not stick to your body even in hot sweaty weather.
100% viscose and 100% Cupro lining materials are also much in demand for lining as they are soft anti-static and lightweight.
Bemberg rayon is a popular branded rayon fabric (Cupro) used to line dresses suits and coats. It is breathable, soft, antistatic anti-clinging super comfortable and overall a superstar lining material. Viscose Ermazine Taffeta is a popular lining material used by bespoke tailors for suit jackets. Ermazine is somewhat sheer.
Anti-static Rayon twill fabric is very good as lining if you need a more weighty fabric. These are to be hand washed. Machine wash may damage the fibers. Rayon crepe back satin is a good choice
This is the most popular fabric for making linings – and the most comfortable against your skin. Cotton is made from natural fibers so it is breathable and very comfortable against the skin as it wicks moisture well.
Thin lining cotton material does not add extra bulk to the whole garment. This is important for fitting dresses and trousers.
Cotton lining is the best choice when sewing for kids or when lining summer clothes.
One problem some might see against using cotton as a lining material is that it does not glide smoothly like some other fabric, which is a criteria many look for when selecting lining fabric, especially for highend jackets and coats.
If you want that soft and silky feeling for the inside of the garment cotton is not for you – it may be rougher than the other lining materials mentioned here, especially the cheaper ones. Cotton may not look luxurious or expensive.
Another problem with a cotton lining is that it wrinkles a lot. Also if you do not preshrunk cotton fabric it will shrink after the first wash and thus may distort the garment as it will shrink differently from lining.
Cotton Poplin is frequently used as a thin soft lining material. Voile and Lawn are used to line fine dresses. Cotton batiste, muslin, percale are other favorites. If you want a lining that should wear well, choose a plain or twill weave cotton fabric. Cotton plaid is usually preferred inside suits.
Silk is synonymous with luxury and when you want that extra bit for a once-in-a-life-time dress you may want to use silk against your skin. It is breathable and very soft. Be prepared to part with a lot of money, as silk is very expensive so when added to the cost of fashion fabric used for the outside, the outfit turns out to be very expensive.
China silk is a comparatively inexpensive lightweight silk used as lining. In an shop the sales girl would first offer this as a lining material. It has a nice drape and great under lightweight fabrics.
Silk taffeta is a crisp thin fabric and holds its shape inside the garment. This is a favourite lining material for lightweight /medium weight fabrics especially for dresses and skirts which need some shape/volume without bulk.
Habutai lining fabric/Silk Satin is used to line wedding dresses. Dupioni silk is a thicker silk that can add some body to your garment. Silk Charmeuse & Silk Crepe De Chine are lightweight soft silk used for lining. They are also great for lining. Silk crepe back satin is more weighty (twice the weight of crepe de chine or charmeuse) and just as good for your purpose for suits, jackets, coats.
Silk organza is another favourite thin lining fabric.
Polyester or polyester blends
In all ready to wear clothes polyester lining is the most often used lining material- because it is inexpensive. Fast fashion needs inexpensive. Period.
But there is another big reason why I would use synthetic materials like polyester – the wrinkling of natural fabrics. I dislike the wrinkly lining look inside and it is a pain to iron the whole lining.
It is a shiny synthetic fabric that is very easy to care for. It is cheap and may look cheap. Another disadvantage is that it is not breathable and does not absorb sweat so may make you uncomfortable if you wear it long.
Polyester sheath lining is a smooth, lightweight woven polyester that is good for lining pants, skirts etc. It is very soft and no wrinkles. Poly china silk is a cheap alternative to the expensive silk lining. It is soft, silky drapey and lightweight.
Satin made of polyester fibers is often used because of the soft feel. Satin usually has a smooth surface on the face and a matt surface on the back. Satin is available in many weights and many price range so it is a favourite as a lining fabric for inexpensive evening wear and costumes.
Polycotton is another favourite with more weight – it is a blend of 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester fibers and is great as a curtain liner. Polyester taffeta is your lining fabric if you want a crisp tightly woven lining. Polyester organza is good as a sheer lining for lace fabrics.
Acetate is the best lining material for occasion wear clothes (those which do not see much wear – or use and throw clothes). This is a shiny synthetic fabric which is quite inexpensive. Most of the ready to wear jackets and coats use acetate lining. The advantages of acetate lining fabric over polyester fabric are many – for one, it is more breathable and more comfortable to wear. It is static free and also thicker than polyester.
It is dry clean only and not as durable as polyester. It also frays a lot so you may not want this for your tight fitting clothes.
When you are sewing a knit garment or one made with another stretchy fabric you need a stretchy lining too. The stretch lining fabric may be woven or knit.
Stretch woven lining material will have lycra added to it. Knit lining has more stretch than woven lining. Lighter the fabric more the stretch, so choose accordingly. Choose a lining that has similar properties as that of your outer fabric.
Tricot knit lining is used as lining under activewear clothes. Mesh knits are also used as it can wick perspiration from the body. You can also use lightweight rayon knits as lining fabric.
Thick Insulating lining fabrics
For coats and jackets you may need a thicker fabric for added warmth. Fleece, fake fur, wool blend fabrics are used for this purpose. Fleece is the most preferred as it is easy to maintain. Cotton canvas is also used.
Interlining fabric choices
Wool, polyester wadding, wool-acrylic blend fabrics, fluffy cotton fabrics are all used as interlining as a fluffy layer inserted between the outer fabric and lining.
So finally among these lining fabric choices what would I prefer to line my dresses with – If it is a couture garment may be a china silk or silk habotai. Simple dresses can have cotton linings. Bemberg rayon lining is best for suits; Even Armani uses them. For outerwear you need a waterproof layer – you can get acetate lining which is weatherproof. Inside winter coats fleece, fake fur, Flannel-backed lining or quilted lining are good choices.
Related post : Underlining ; How to sew sleeveless bodice with lining
Updated on March 3, 2023 by Sarina Tariq
I am afraid I do not know. There are so many types of cotton. You need a stable lining to prevent sagging.
Can cotton be used to line linen pants to prevent sagging?
thanks for this. It is very helpful. I am making a dress with a dark fabric that has very bright coloured flowers on top.
I need to line the fabric as it is quite light, but I am afraid that if I line it in black then the colour of the flowers will result less bright.
I tried lining it in white but I am afraid it will be visible…what do you suggest?
I’m making light white palazzo trousers but during the making I realised it will be quite see through. Trousers are of very light stretchy cotton fabric which is great for summer but I need now some kind of lining in there what doesn’t make the trousers looking too white where the lining sits as I won’t make full lining but either just the upper part or half way. Any ideas would be appreciated
Any of the lining mentioned in the post- just needs to be as drapey as satin-cotton voile is always an inexpensive and nice option. Decide on whether you want natural fabrics or synthetic fabrics against your skin
What type lining good for satin ?
Have you considered a cotton voile fabric ?- it is lightweight thin fabric just right for lining. Please check in person before ordering.
I forgot to mention, that I am transition my wardrobe to include only naturally grown fibers so synthetic materials are a no no.
I am making my wedding dress using a ready made dress pattern. The choice of fabric I will be using is 100% white linen for religious purposes. What cotton fabric would you recommend to line my dress fabric with?
I am trying to figure out what type of lining that I can use for a Cotton Poplin.
The pattern that I am using requires a lining.
The item is a jumpsuit.
Please help thank you
What type of lining is good for net material
I’m looking for very distinct, printed lining fabric for a jacket. Bright colors, geometric prints, florals, etc. I am finding this impossible to find. Any thoughts?
Have you considered using soft tulle ?
I am lining a flower girls dress which has a seethrough section at the top . The flowergirl finds the fabric irritating as she has downy hair on her back.
Can someone suggest a seethrough lining fabric that is soft to the touch.
Hello! I’m making a pair of cotton twill trousers, would viscose be good?
Tricot (nylone) lining material has stretch, is inexpensive and gives adequate opaqueness but is thin enough for lining. Or use stretch mesh.
I need a lining fabric to sew on to the back of a multi textured open (ish) material that frays something shocking. Then that’s used to sew different shape items on to T-shirt’s and multiple items.
What’s the best to use please if you can suggest something it will bd a big help. Thanks
I’m making a summer dress from bubble gauze cotton. Any recommendations for a lightweight, comfortable lining? TIA
Tricot lining is a knit fabric with stretch and muslin is a cotton with not much stretch- that is the difference. The lining pattern may take into account the stretch of the fabric and may be more fitting
My daughter chose a pattern for a jumpsuit for after her wedding, the fabric is a crepe textured soft jerseylike knit. The pattern calls for tricot lining, however the store had none, so the salesperson sold us muslin. Will this work? Should I preshrink it?
Hello, hoping someone can offer me some advise. I have to make a garment for my Uni course, the only things I’ve ever made are outfits for fancy dress.
I’ve designed a child’s summer coat, pastel colours. My issue is what to make it from?
I have to also get some fabric printed with my own designs on, this will be used as accents on the garment, so does it have to be the same weight and blend?
Wanted to get some of it printed to use as a lining fabric also so how do you work out which fabric to line with?
Have you thought about using china silk (100% silk) which is a cheaper silk or a synthetic version of it – polyester china silk lining material.
Hi, I am using pure crepe lining for my silk blouses (womenswear). I find it an expensive material for lining.
I want cheaper alternatives but good quality options. What would you recommend?
Thank you for this article… i m beginner for sewing… so it’s very helpful for me… thankyou again…
I’m making a fleece jacket/snuggly , what toe of interfacing you’d recommend? Looking for something that will make the fleece strong to put snaps on it but does not change the soft/shape.
Ponte can be a thick enough fabric that could get away without lining (there are thin ponte too) but Pencil skirts look good when lined. Ponte fabric though heavy would still do with some lining. You can, may be underline the fabric to prevent the bunching up.
would you line a ponte pencil skirt? or do you think the lining may bunch up?
Have you considered polycotton fabric (broadcloth) or thin microfiber fabric
I plan to make some dress pants out of a beautiful Pendelton black wool. My problem is I want them to be warm (I live in Michigan) but most linings are always cold on the leg. Any suggestion on lining choices?
I’m making a pull on skirt in a Cotton/tencel blend with elastane. It is a stable knit that I want to line. The skirt has no negative ease. What would be the best lining to use please.
Some of the best deals I have seen are at etsy. Look for a reliable seller who knows a lot about fabric and takes returns.
Personally, I’d go with a heavier solid colored cotton canvas fabric in a similar color, or maybe a lighter weight denim. Thicker cotton will improve the structure and keep hot splatter from soaking through. You could even make the apron reversible. Wash and dry both fabrics in a mesh bag first to get any shrinkage out of the way. Good luck!
Have you thought about using Taffeta or acetate, interfaced with a firm crisp fusible interfacing
Float was supposed to be flowy
Hi all! What would be a good lining choice for a skirt you want to be a stiffer a-line shape instead of float and drapey? I want the outside to have a raw silk look and am considering interfacing to help but am wondering if lining choice would help too?
I’m new to sewing and found a beautiful printed cotton fabric that I want to use to make a kitchen apron. It’s thin, so I plan to line it with some inexpensive black polyester fabric that I have.
Will that work?
Thanks Jennifer for the detailed answer
Why don’t you take it outside in sunlight and keep them together and see if it looks alright. That is the usual way of checking a lining. But usually dark color pairs with black or same color. So long as the lining fabric drapes well and is thin ( so it would not create bulk), double layers wouldn’t be a problem – my opinion.
What type of fabric is your main? What kind of garment are you making? You could, of course, sandwich 2 linings to act as one, but do you really want to? Is your heart set on cream lining?
If it’s a coat, I’d say use cream kasha from Vogue Fabrics. If it’s a dressweight garment, try rayon batiste in mocha from StyleMaker or one of the organic cotton voiles from Mood. You could also use a darker nude bemberg and, if money isn’t an issue, a nude silk crepe de chine.
Hope this helps?
Hopefully someone can respond to this specific question:
Can I use two layers of lining if it is light-colored and see-through?
My main fabric is dark blue, but I want a cream colored lining. But you can see through it to the garment.
Is it possible to double up on the lining to make it more opaque? Will it look obvious? Thanks for any advice.
Definitely, polyester satin is a popularly used lining material and fleece is also synthetic, as is polyester satin.
I want to make a fleece robe with a shawl collar. The pattern calls for a lining. Another fleece would be too much. Can I use a polyester satin? Thanks
Lawn cotton is lightweight enough for slips and good enough for summer. Voile is also good but it is almost see through . Here is a post on summer fabrics
hi. I’m planning on sewing a full length long sleeve slip that can be worn under a semi-transparent dress. It’s a summer dress. Which fabric would you recommend that is breathable and light weight for such a project?
Thank you so much for posting this I’m new to sewing in lining so this helped alot.
you can use a knit fabric like polyester Tricot lining.
Thank you for the information. I’m making a ponte double knit skirt. Any idea on a lining material that I can use?
Thank you Sarina, Am not an expert in this area yet so I get terminologies confused. I am very open to learning.
Please what is the difference between interfacing and interlining? I thought the interlining is the fusible fabric used in collar, cuff and placket to make them stiff.
I have seen polyester interlining fabric that seem to be think enough to be stiff. We need this to make low end ready to wear shirts. My biggest concern is what could go wrong after a customer purchases the shirt and washes it?
Hi Emeka, Do you mean Interfacing? I do not think Polyester lining fabric is thick enough. A woven fusible interlining fabric in a medium weight is needed to make the collars stiff enough. As interlining you can use Buckram / Canvas
I plan to make low end ready to wear shirts. The shirts will be made of:
2) 100% Cotton
Please what is the best interlining fabric to you for the collar, cuffs and placket?
If we use 100% polyester lining, will it be OK?
Where can I purchase Viscose?
I plan on making myself and daughters summer dresses soon. Im so nervous about it! I’ve made aprons and Pj pants etc. Any advice? What kind of fabric and lining to buy?
Great article! I’m debating on lining a bulky sweater that I’m knitting. I’m afraid that the sweater is going to pill. I have a 1×1 rib on the bottom of the sweater. how far down should I go with the lining?
I would use a 100% cotton jersey lining or jersey -polyester blend fabric or rayon lining for pants; for winter pants flannel is regularly used as lining
I need to line a pair of dress pants, but want something that is breathable and isn’t going to make me hot or sweaty. I prefer cotton, but not sure if that is the best choice. Any suggestions?
What is best for lining an outdoor jacket that has insulation.? Preferably breathable
same with me since I’m still training.
Thanks for the information on linings. Always wonder how to choose lining for garments to be made.