30 October 2010

Sewaholic tutorial: Drafting a jacket lining

You guys really are the best. When I asked for any pointers in how to go about lining The Betty Draper Suit with no lining pattern and no experience in sewing a lining, Tasia of Sewaholic left a very helpful comment, which led to an email exchange, and before you know it, she'd agreed to write a guest post tutorial on drafting a lining pattern to share her instructions with my readers!  And what an inspired tutorial it is, using little pixie versions of the pattern pieces, simplified diagrams which make it easy to see understand. Over to Tasia...

Tilly's pretty little Betty Draper-inspired pattern is going to be gorgeous! The only thing stopping her from whipping it up is the lining - there aren't any pattern pieces!

Yes, she could just cut the exact body pieces out of the lining and it would work, sort of. She could skip the facings and sew the lining right to the jacket front edge. But if she did, it won't fit properly around the armhole, and it won't be properly reinforced along centre front for the buttons and buttonholes.

Never fear! It's easy to make lining pieces out of her jacket pattern pieces. I'll show you how!

First, carefully cut out the jacket pattern pieces. Since Tilly's jacket has darts not princess seams, that's what I will show in this tutorial. Don't worry if your jacket pattern has princess seams or other design lines! I'll explain what to do.

Here are Tilly's jacket pattern pieces. She sent me a photo and I traced off mini-versions of her pattern for this demo:
D - Jacket Front
E - Jacket Back
G - Front Facing
H - Back Neck Facing
K - Sleeve
She also has "F - Collar" but we don't need it for the lining pattern. We'll need the rest, though!

Let's start with the Jacket Front. Trace off the pattern piece. In my demo, I've traced around the pattern piece because it's tiny, but in real life you could either trace around your pattern piece, or use tracing paper or lightweight white paper to trace over your pattern piece.

Take the facing pattern piece, and line it up along centre front, matching the neckline edges. Mark the facing seamline on your traced jacket front.

The line you've just traced from the facing is going to be the seamline that joins your facing to the lining. To add seam allowance, you'll need to actually add TWO seam allowances to the lining pattern piece - for a total of 1 1/4" added to the lining front piece. I've also marked the jacket hemline on the lining piece. I eyeballed where the hemline should be, but Tilly will mark the real hemline amount when she makes her own lining pieces. Much more accurate than mine!

Now, add 1/2" to the hemline. This allows for a pleat at the hem of the lining. Or if Tilly prefers to leave the lining hanging free, it will make sure it's shorter than the finished jacket so it doesn't hang below the hem!

We'll also add extra to the armhole. Why? Well, have you ever added lining to a jacket and NOT added extra around the armhole? You'll find that the sleeve hem will pull up and pucker all the way up the sleeve seam, and it won't sit comfortably. Adding the extra allows the lining room to go up and over the armhole seam without pulling and straining. It's hard to explain what not to do - so let's add the extra room for Tilly's comfort!

Add 1/4" out from the sideseam, and 5/8" up from the armhole point.

Here's the finished lining pattern below - I've traced it in RED so it's easier to see. Tilly can cut hers out and toss the extra edges.

Next, let's make the lining for the Jacket Back. It's basically the same method as the front, the only difference is adding a pleat to the centre back. We add this pleat for wearing ease and comfort - and also so the lining doesn't rip when Tilly lifts her arms or hugs someone!

Trace off the back in the same manner as the front. Lay the back neck facing on the back and trace off facing line. Add two seam allowances to the facing line for a total of 1 1/4" again. Add the 1/2" to the hemline, and the same allowances around the armhole.

Lastly, add the centre back pleat. We added 1" to the centre back, which will actually work out to 2" on the fold. (Make sense? Just don't forget to cut this piece on the fold!)

Here's Tilly's finished back lining pattern piece, outlined in RED:

Lastly, it's time for the sleeve. Easy! Just add the 1/2" below the hemline, and add the armhole allowances the same way we did on the front and back lining pieces.

Here's the finished sleeve lining piece in RED:

So here they are! Below is a photo showing all three lining pattern pieces, outlined in RED below. Tilly can now follow this easy tutorial to make her own lining pieces, she'll be rocking that cute little suit in no time!

So what happens if you have princess seams to deal with? No problem! Before starting on the steps above, tape the jacket pieces together along the seamlines, overlapping the seam allowances. This way you have one jacket front piece and one jacket back piece to work with. 

Thanks, Tasia! If you don't already read Tasia's blog, this is definitely one to add to your blog role. She's a super talented, gorgeous lady with a colourful style and an impressive blog. And she's currently setting up her own sewing pattern company to boot!


  1. You're a pair of sweethearts x

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I have stalled on making a Vogue jacket because the pattern did not include a lining, but I really wanted one. I had planned on making it the exact same as the jacket, but now I know better. Thank you for such a clear, easy to follow instruction!!!

  3. This is fantastic! So bookmarking this. And how cute the diagrams are!!

  4. I'm bookmarking this too... Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial with pics!! I'm a visual learner, so pics make all the difference....

  5. Aaah, now I know why my sleeves pucker on my new lined fleece sweater... Awesome tutorial, the little drawings make it so easy to understand! Hope you don't mind that I added it to my sewing resources: http://farben-freude.blogspot.com/p/sewing-resources.html

  6. Fantastic! I was just considering making a vintage jacket and its lack of lining was putting me off.. maybe it will make it back to the queue now.

    I confess I am not entirely sure why to add 2 lots of seam allowance to the front lining piece...

  7. Glad it was helpful and that a few of you were excited to see this tutorial!
    Thanks Tilly, I'm honored to be a guest writer on your blog today. Feel free to ask if you run into any troubles when you make your lining pieces, for real!

  8. Ohh.. Woolcat, it's because the facing edges don't have seam allowances. And I didn't alter the facing pieces at all. The other way to make it work, is to add seam allowance to the lining edge, as well as seam allowance to the facing edge. I wanted to make it as simple as possible - so I added twice the seam allowance to the one edge.

    Does that make sense? Let me know if not! :)

    1. Thanks you for that info, I stuggled why it was double as well.

  9. Fantastic tutorial--thank you Tasia for guest-writing this! :) Shall keep it handy for future reference... ;)

    ♥ Casey | blog

  10. Wooooo! Followed the instructions and they've worked perfectly!

  11. Thank you so much for this! I've been reading as much as I can about jacket linings because I'm going to be winging one for my next project. I knew I needed to add ease to the armholes but wasn't sure how. Now I've got a much better understanding of how this whole lining business works.

  12. How excellent! I am intending on adding a lining to a jacket I am making. I can always count on Tasia and now you, Tilly, for information!

  13. Tasia & Tilly...I've just turned this into a word document & printed it out in color (I NEVER print in color because I'm cheap!). I'll use it to completely re-do a vintage wool jacket Marc's been wearing for 20 yrs. The heavy silk lining is shot & I'm even going to try to make the sleeves a bit longer. I will have the patterns because I'm ripping the lining out, but I know this will be very helpful. Thanks!

  14. this is great! thanks to the both of you for sharing. I am about to make a jacket and wanted to add a lining but I have two questions:
    first, the jacket has a shoulder yoke. Should I cut the lining pieces the same way, or can I modify them to have a shoulder seam instead? Also, I wasn't planning on lining the sleeves, so do you have recommendations on how to sew and finish the armhole seams (with fabric and lining on one side, and just fabroc on the other)
    thanks in advance!!

  15. This is fantastic! So bookmarking this. And how cute the diagrams are!!

  16. I know this is a really old post but THANK YOU - I will need this tutorial for the coat I'm making and it looks so simple. My coat will be a princess cut but it looks simple enough. yay!

  17. Thank you so much for this. I am currently making a coat from a vintage French pattern and I speak no french (fortunately the pictures are relatively clear). There was no lining pattern included but I followed this post. Thank you again. Jo.

  18. You can also add a little bit of vertical ease (max 3/8") to the lining at the facing seam. This amount will be eased in while sewing, especially if you are using something like an acetate or viscose lining that likes to pucker when sewn to a heavier fabric.

  19. This is very helpful! I've always had problems with lining. Thank you!

  20. This is very helpful! The only part I'm confused about is what to do if my jacket pattern has a two-part sleeve. Should I add the 5/8" up and 1/4" out to both pieces, or just one? I want to make sure that it fits the modified lining armhole. My inclination is to add the 5/8" up to both, but only add the 1/4" out on the 'upper sleeve' piece. Can anyone help out with this question?

    For reference, I'm using Burda Style's Steffi pattern, and the two-part sleeve is visible in the drawn image. http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/steffi

  21. I just used this tutorial on a coat and it worked WONDERFULLY! The bodice had shoulder princess seams on the front and back. I carefully lined up the seam allowances and proceeded with the instructions. Everything fit together nicely. I will use this tutorial from now on. Thank you so much for sharing!

  22. I forgot the back facing in my jacket, would it work if i make my lining bigger to compensate for the mistake?

  23. I have a dart in my main body pattern. I have never lined anything, do I dart my lining, pleat it or leave it? I've never 'blogged' either hope this works! someone please reply quickly - I am stuck!

  24. If I cut the lining with the same neckline as the main body, and stitched it to the main body at the same place as the facing, would that make it too bulky? Is it better to stitch it to the free edge of the facing? Or would either way work?

  25. I am in the process of making my first jacket which didn't include a lining, i wanted one for that professional finish but had no idea where to start or what to do, this tutorial rocks!!!! Thank you so much, i am now a happy girl with a soon to be lined autumn jacket.

  26. I have just bought a jacket I really like, but with no lining and I want to add one. So I have no pattern pieces and no old lining to use to base my pattern on. Any tips?

  27. Hi, thanks for this tutorial - t's brill.
    Can someone tell me how I sew the lining to the jacket and which method is best - I have read about the bagging method (never tried it) or do you sew the lining to your fabric first and then construct the garment as a whole - does that make sense?



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