Learning to Sew—Lining skirts or pants (part I)

Linings can make pants and skirts fit better and feel more comfortable against your skin. Most patterns for pants and skirts do not have a pattern for a lining, but linings are easy to cut using the same pattern pieces as the garment. Here are some tips to make well-fitting linings:

1. Use the front and back pattern pieces to cut out your lining. You won’t need facings, waistbands, or pockets. Remember to leave off any seam extensions for inseam pockets and straighten out the cutting lines.

If your skirt is heavily gathered you don’t want a heavily gathered lining since it would add too much bulk; the easiest solution is to make your lining from a simple a-line skirt pattern in the same size.

2. The lining should be an inch shorter than the pants or skirt after the hem of the garment and the lining is put in. If you will put a 1 inch hem in the lining, cut the lining’s lower edge at the hemline of the pants or skirt.

3. Transfer the pattern markings for the waist and zipper opening on to your lining. This will let you align the lining more easily with your garment pieces. Also transfer dart markings; you won’t be making darts in the lining, but you will be making tucks (more on this in another post). If the garment is pleated, transfer the pleat markings to the lining.

4. Before you attach the lining, sew the garment together except for the waistband. Press the garment seams open. With a lining you can spare yourself the work of finishing the garment seams, unless the fabric ravels very easily. In my next posts, I’ll have more tips on how to smoothly insert a lining.