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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vintage and Couture techniques: Underlinings

Pink Silk Shantung vintage style dress

I got this great book at the thrift store Called The Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book from 1970.

I've been trying to improve my sewing techniques and signed up for an online couture sewing class on and discovered underlinings. It's a couture technique of facing your main fabric with another fabric. You cut the exact same pattern from a fabric which will compliment your fashion fabrics' drape. In reading this old book I learned that most dresses in those days were underlined. It wasn't just a couture technique but something recommended for everything but basic cotton dresses. It gives them an improved drape and gives you a surface to make hems and pin down facings without showing through on your outside fabric. It's not the same as a lining . I decided to get ambitious and make a silk Shantung dress with a home made pattern that would be underlined with a silk organza on the bodice and some old sheeting on the skirt portion. It also was to have a lining from China silk and self fabric facings on top of the lining. Below are some photos and descriptions of the underlining and construction process of the dress :

I used an old sheet to underline the skirt to give it more body. I cut two panel widths and fist tried the dress using only one but then decided it wasn't pouffy enough so I ended up using two panels.

This is a photo of the inside of the bodice underlined with silk organza which is very sheer so It's hard to see. The flipped up part is the China Silk lining. 

This is the hand picked hook and eye tape closure. this is the first time I tried this and I love the way it looks.

This is the back of the dress with the skirt draped. I decided it wasn't full enough so I used two panels.

These are the shoulder straps above. You have to leave them open so you can pull the lining and dress through to be right side out.

This is the finished bodice lining with the facing on top. That makes four fabric layers 1) fashion fabric 2) underlining, 3) lining, and 4) the facings.

The back of the finished dress

Ready to knock em dead at the high school dance !


  1. really nice ! thanks for the info on underlining, i've not done it yet but might give it a whirl!

  2. Looking forward to more of your creations in 2011. Bonne et joyeuse année 2011.

  3. Hey there! I sew your post on Sew Retro and I had to stop by and leave a comment. It's a beautiful dress you made for your daughter, truly lovely!

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  5. beautiful! your attention to detail is just breathtaking


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