When to Underline your Sewing

why underline sewing

Adding an underlining is one of my favorite tools in my sewing arsenal.  It’s so simple to do  - just cut all your pieces out of two different fabrics and use them wrong sides together as one. Easy as pie (which is a phrase I’ve never quite understood because baking a good pie isn’t actually that easy. Maybe easy as eating pie? Because I can easily eat a lot of pie.).  If you don’t regularly underline projects or are new to sewing, you might be wondering “When should I underline my sewing projects?” Underlining is great for garments when your main fabric is:

pink vegas outfit

1) Loosely woven
Anything that fits you snugly has tension on its seams. If your fabric is loosely woven, it can pull at the seams, separating the weave of the fabric, and eventually pulling apart. Underlining prevents this because you have the strength of the underlining fabric added to the seam. I underlined my Pink Brocade Peplum top as it’s snugly fit but the brocade was fairly loosely woven.

Autumnal floral pencil skirt wool

2) Clingy
I love wearing tights all winter long. The drawback is that skirts often stick to my legs and bunch and cling. I don’t have many slips, which would solve this, although I would still have to worry about the slip poking out the bottom or being visible at the skirt slit. I underlined my Autumnal Wool Pencil Skirt to solve this problem. The underlining acts as a slip sewn into the skirt without the hassle of lining it.

pink lace tee with white collar

3) Sheer or lacy
If you want to sew a garment out of lace, but don’t want your goods underneath visible to the whole world, you’re going to need to underline the lace. It can be done in a contrasting color, to make the lace design really pop, or a similar color to make it more subtle. Consider underlining only part of the garment, like I did on the collar on my Pink Lace Tee, to visually emphasize a particular feature.

Underlined Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat

4) Visible on the underside
Underlining is often a great choice for coats or jackets that are unlined. Often the wrong side of your fabric won’t be that pretty. By adding an underlining, you can have a garment that is beautiful inside and out, like my Robson Trench Coat.

hand embroidered jacket back

5) Needing extra warmth, bulk or structure
An underlining that is strictly to bulk up another fabric is often called an interlining, particularly when it is in a jacket or coat and particularly when that jacket or coat is also lined. I underlined (or interlined) my Embroidered Bomber Jacket with a layer of flannel because I used a lightweight wool outer and wanted a warmer jacket.

So, what’s your favorite garment that you’ve underlined and why did you underline it?

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