Thursday, September 9, 2010


First, a small rant. Why do stores sell clothing with really uncomfortable lining? I am trying to be more discerning in the clothes I buy and avoid the ones with super-cheap polyester lining that won't breathe, but sometimes I trip up because it's cute. Usually these are dresses or shirts, so I rationalize by saying that since I won't be wearing them when I'm running laps or hiking, it won't be a big deal. But I live in a hot, humid swamp. I ride my bike to church (the place I usually wear nice clothing). I ride my bike or walk or take light rail to concerts and restaurants and parties, so I can get sweaty in nice clothes. And those super-slick 100% polyester linings do not breathe at all, so they're just nightmarish in hot weather. It irks the heck out of me when clothing I would otherwise really like is marred by a wretched lining.

In the past, I have cut the lining out of a couple dresses. If the dress still hangs right and isn't too sheer, it's not really a big deal. (The inside looks a little hacked up, but I don't really care about that. The awful polyester lining isn't prone to too much fraying.) Until this weekend I had two skirts with the polyester stuff in them. One of them was a white linen-rayon blend that will be much too see-through without the lining, and the other one was a heavy, somewhat stiff gray polyester skirt. (Both are from Dress Barn, by the way. I think they have some attractive, reasonably priced clothing, but I am disappointed with how much non-breathable material they use.) The material is too coarse to be comfortable without some lining.

This weekend, I decided to reline! I bought some pretty pink polka dotted cotton for the gray skirt and white with faint white vines for the white one. I only did to the gray skirt, but I think a similar method will work for the white.

I began by cutting out the original lining. It would be better to take out the seams and remove the lining altogether, but I didn't want to have to re-sew the garment completely. Around the zipper, I could use my seam ripper to remove the stitching, but at the top, the lining had been sewn into the waistband, so I just cut it as close as possible. I left the lining intact since I wanted to use it as a pattern for the new lining.

The reason I chose to do the gray skirt first is that there was a little flap right below the waistband that I could machine sew the new material to. To reline the white skirt, I will have to rip out at least one seam at the waistband or hand-stitch the entire new lining in. I wanted to do the easy one first.

After I had removed the old lining, I laid it out on my new lining fabric. The skirt and original lining are bias cut, meaning when you wear them, the line that goes straight down from the waist to the hem is at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. For the skirt to hang the same way, I would need to cut the new lining on the bias as well. Unfortunately, I was given bad advice at the fabric store, and I did not have enough fabric to cut the lining on the bias. If I had done it, I would have had to make the lining much shorter than the original lining. A little shorter would have been OK, but much shorter would mean the coarse outer material would be bugging my knees and thighs when I sat down.
It took me a while to decide whether I should cut one piece on the bias and get more fabric the next day or try cutting on the straight grain and risk having it not work at all. I figured that since in either case I might have to get more fabric, I might as well risk messing up. So what I did was lay the old lining on the grain of the new fabric. I traced with tailor's chalk and then folded the fabric in half. I cut out as much as I could of the triangle of the skirt and then just cut on the fold so I would have two identical pieces. The shape of each piece was basically trapezoidal. If I made a skirt out of these two pieces, it would look very distinctive (and maybe a little weird) because the distance from waist to hem at the front is much shorter than at the sides.

First, I sewed the two pieces together along one side. The other side was the zipper side, so I left it open until I had attached the lining to the waistband. Working very carefully to make sure I didn't catch any of the outer fabric, I sewed the new lining under the little flap around the waist.
This was difficult since I had only about 1/4 inch of room under the flap, but I eventually succeeded. In a couple places, I decided to use a zigzag stitch to make sure I had caught both the lining and the flap. I think the combination of straight and zigzag is cute, although I am the only one who will ever know how cute it is. After I sewed the lining in at the waist, I whip-stitched the lining to the zipper facing and then machine sewed the rest of the zipper side seam in the lining.

The moment of truth: trying on the skirt. I knew the skirt would hang differently because I had cut the lining on the grain rather than on the bias, but I really liked the new hang. The lining holds the skirt out from the body more, but not in such a way that it looks like I have a petticoat on. It's just slightly poofy and full. I am very happy with the new lining. Overall, I am much happier with my relined skirt. It's fun for me to know that I have the polka dotted pink fabric under the skirt, plus I won't sweat nearly as much.
In the second of those photos, you can see the effect the flat cutting line had on the shape of the skirt. I think it's kind of cute, and I might try making a skirt like that sometime. Sorry for the poor photo quality. If I get Jon to take some good photos of me, I'll update the blog with some decent ones.

1 comment:

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