Friday, 4 July 2014

How to Sew a Skirt Lining

Want to add a lining to your homemade skirt? This is the super simple method I used for attaching a lining to my Echino Stag Delphine Skirt. There are lots of different ways of going about making and stitching a skirt lining, and this is the one I prefer – firstly because it makes sense in my brain, secondly because it doesn’t involve any hand stitching, hooray!

So why would you want to line a skirt? I decided to add a silky smooth lining to the inside of my skirt because I didn’t want the rough canvas fabric rubbing against my skin. Also, short skirts can cling to your legs and ride up a bit, so adding a lining can help make the outer layer of fabric behave properly – and thus avoid flashing your bum to the world. And while it does take a bit of extra effort, lining a skirt means you don’t need to finish the seam allowances – it’ll hide them for you, woop!

I’m sewing the Delphine skirt which is a pattern included with my book, Love at First Stitch. You can also use this tutorial for sewing similar skirt designs that have a waistband, side seams and invisible zip at the back. Oh and no darts – if your skirt has darts, you just need to pleat the top of the darts in the lining rather than sewing along the dart legs (there are tutorials online which will show you how).

What fabric can you use to line a skirt? All sorts. I’m using a… well actually I don’t know what it is exactly, but it was called “lining fabric” in the shop! Go for something lightweight, smooth to the touch, with drape – such as silks, silky polyesters or even a very lightweight cotton. Remember to change your sewing machine needle to a size appropriate for the lining fabric you’re using (ie. probably something quite fine).

Let’s do this!

Sew the skirt side seams, waistband, zip and back seam – up to step 8 if you’re making the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch. There’s no need to finish the seam allowances unless your fabric is seriously fraying, as the lining will hide them, but do trim and press the seam allowances open.

Cut the lining fabric using the same pattern pieces you used to cut the front and back skirt. Trim the hem of each piece down by about 2.5cm (1in) – this will stop the lining from peeping out when you wear the skirt. Stitch the side seams of the lining pieces, right sides together, the same way as you sewed the skirt. Again, you can finish the seam allowances if you like but I find this adds unnecessary bulk so don’t bother any more. Press the seam allowances open.

Now we need to stitch the bottom of the centre back seam, leaving an opening for the zip. Measure the zip from the seam where it joins the waistband down to the bottom of the zip stopper, and add 1.5cm (5/8in) to account for the seam allowance at the top of the lining. Measure the same distance from the top down the centre back edges of the lining, and snip a short notch in both back edges to mark the end of the measurement. Now you can stitch the centre back of the lining (right sides together as normal) from this notch down to the hem.

Press the centre back seam allowances open, including the seam allowances of the opening you left above the stitching line.

Pin the bottom edge of the skirt waistband facing to the top edge of the lining, right sides together. Make sure the side seams of the waistband facing are lying directly on top of the side seams of the lining. Pin these first, then match the notches before pinning the rest.

Sew the skirt waistband facing to the lining. Press the seam allowances up towards the waistband facing.

Now to hem the lining. The Delphine skirt includes a 3cm (1 1/4in) hem allowance, so I’m going to use the same measurements for the lining (you can always trim the lining hem down further if you prefer a narrower hem). Fold the lining under by 1.5cm (5/8in) and press. Fold under by another 1.5cm (5/8in), press and pin. Topstitch the hem in place, close to the first fold.

Open the zip. Slip the lining over the skirt, with the right sides facing each other. Pin the waistband facing to the waistband along the top edges, matching side seams and notches. At the centre back, fold the zip tapes flat and fold open the centre back seam allowances of the lining on top of them, as far as you can – pin in place.

Attach a zip foot to your machine. Starting from the top, sew the waistband and lining to the zip tapes, close to the zip teeth, as far as you can before the zip stopper gets in the way, backtacking securely at the end. Reattach a regular presser foot to your machine. Sew the waistband to the facing along the top edge.

Trim the waistband seam allowances and press them open on the wrong and right sides of the fabric. Turn the lining to the inside of the skirt, with the wrong sides facing each other, turning out the top corners of the waistband neatly. Press the waistband facing seam slightly to the inside so the seam line is hidden.

Ever got your skirt lining caught in the zip? Soooo annoying! To make this less likely to happen, on the right side of the lining, press the lining fabric away from the zip teeth using just the tip of a cool iron (don’t get it too hot or it might melt the zip!).

Now you can secure the facing to the waistband along the waistline seam - you can top stitch, “stitch in the ditch” (outlined here) or slip stitch by hand. Then all you need to do is hem the skirt as normal, give everything a final press…

And you’re done!

Your skirt looks as lovely on the inside as it does on the outside.

At least one of you wants to ask where the fabric is from, don't you? Read this!


  1. Thank you for posting this tutorial. Just in time for me as I'm on my first Delphine skirt (a taffeta experiment, so a lining is really needed).

  2. My friend, besides the amazing tutorial, I'm admiring the colour scheme... every detail is perfect! sewing superstar!

  3. Thanks for making this! Great tutorial, and I love the colors. -Hanna Lei

  4. I love your tutorials. They make everything lovely and clear. Going to use this technique with the Miette too.

  5. Thank you for this, it is so clear and understandable. I love the fabrics you've used too!

  6. Wow, I already knew this way to add lining but I'd never seen a tutorial as clear as yours :)

  7. That is an excellent tutorial. You have explained the steps so clearly. By the way, I like to pink the edges of my seam allowance. No extra bulk, and less chance of fraying.

    1. Great tip, Katie! Believe it or not, I still don't own a pair of pinking shears (I know!).

  8. Can't wait to add a lining to one of my future Delphine skirts! It looks great :)

  9. I tried replying Tilly, but my computer is uncooperative. You can get a really good pair from Ikea. There are certainly better ones to be had, but my Ikea pair do a great job.

  10. Ah, so helpful! I'm trying to line a skirt in the hope it can be reversible...fingers crossed.

  11. This is super helpful, I always make a mess of lining my own skirts! I went to go purchase some of this fabric, although I was distracted by all of the other fabrics on the site. Fabric heaven!

  12. Always wondered how to do linings properly. Thank you. Bought rabbit dot fabric in john lewis sale! Finally ordered your book for my holiday reading. Yippee! Lined Delphine here we come.

  13. Any tips on how to line the Clemence skirt? I'm a bit perplexed because of the gathers! Thanks, Ruth

  14. A great tutorial. I love the skirt fabric.

  15. so I just went and sewed up the lining for my skirt using some lining fabric from Trixie Lixie (looks the same type of fabric as yours actually) and it was just awful!!! :( all the side seams kind of puckered and don't sit well at all. This lining fabric is so slippery and I found it quite difficult. What needle size, machine tension, stitch length etc do you use for sewing lining together? Is there a way of handling lining so it doesn't slip all over the place? I don't know about anyone else but when a project goes a bit pear shaped I get really disheartened :(


Feel free to chip in! Please don't comment anonymously though - you can leave your email if you don't have an OpenID. Comments on older posts are moderated for spam so won't show up immediately.