To line or not to line, that is the question

I have been thinking about the whole lining thing…most patterns I use for dresses and skirts call for lining.  I like a silky lining in winter so I can wear tights without the skirt sticking to my legs.  However, in summer I like a cotton lining as it is so hot here in Brisbane, but that sticks to my tights.  Also, it seems like I am forever lining everything which is more timely and of course adds to the cost of the garment.

Would it not be better to make a couple of versatile slips/petticoats to put under things? 

Multiple choice:
A: You think I am being completely lazy and cheap
B: You think I am being clever and thrifty
C: You think I need to just get on with it and finish my garments properly!!

What do think and what do you do?

25 thoughts on “To line or not to line, that is the question

  1. Being another Brissie sewer I sooooo understand your dilemma !!! But for me, a non-tights wearer, my summer gear is lined in cotton and my winter things are in a silky non-static lining. But while lining does take that bit longer to do (well, basically it is nearly twice as long) the end garment does wear a lot smoother, and gives a nicer line. And a lining is exactly the right size, whereas, a petticoat would always be the wrong length and this in itself would make me extremely cranky! So my vote is for C, but A & B would be sooooo much easier…and at the moment I would be doing a double lining, it is so cold…so my chilly vote is for C…J

  2. D: consider the end use! I find that I often wear a slip (petticoat? In the US that has a connotation of a poofy crinoline!) even under a lined garment because I feel it makes the garment hang better – especially if I'm going to be out in the wind here in Chicago.Conversely – I made a winter skirt out of velveteen and didn't line it even though I always wear it with tights and no slip! The shape of that skirt is such that I need it to stick to my tights to keep it in place, and there's a box pleat in front that allows me to walk and move without it bunching up.So, line some things, but don't line others, depending on how you'll use them!

  3. If I can get away without a lining I don't make it. I never make linings for my skirts because I always wear a slip underneath them and it works just fine for me. Same for dresses, if I can get away with wearing a cami and slip underneath I won't make the lining. It does cost more and does take more time. My reasoning is simply because I'm lazy and I don't want to take the time but I would like to think I'm being clever and thrifty. 😉

  4. I would say I'm with ShanniLoves ~ I have lined some things like the Hollyburn skirt (which I have yet to wear) but most of my dresses are unlined and I wear a slip as needed. I have a body slip and I have a shorter skirt slip. I prefer the longer one since it already has the cami attached.

  5. I've been debating the same thing… I keep telling myself I won't line it but I still end up doing it and then being extra sweaty!!-Amy (

  6. It's always my preference to line… but then it suits where I live. Perhaps the option is to whip up a few slips? You could even make garment specific slips if you wanted too, and it would technically make sewing quicker because then you wouldn't have to sew in a lining….?

  7. I vote B… I do line some things, but I have several slips for this purpose.. In the summer time, it seems cooler with no lining..And some fabrics can be worn with no slip or linings..[Guess I am the lazy one,ha]

  8. I'm scared of linings, because I haven't sewn a single garment yet that had to be lined. It's worked fine for me so far, sure dresses and skirts tend to ride up a bit when I wear tights in the winter, but it's not a big problem. Why not try a slip for while and see how you feel?!

  9. I've gone through dilemma and I line skirts, dreses and pants now. Life's too short to not line. But that's me. You need to find what works best for you.

  10. This is a very good question! I line tight skirts, for example a pencil skirt or that kind of style but a bit looser. But I don't line sitty-out skirts, the kind of skirt you could do a good twirl in! For those I would wear a slip underneath. I had to have a think about this before I replied, because I didn't realise I even did that!

  11. To be honest – I pretty much only line my skirts and if the fabric is sheer, I underline the bodices of my dresses. I wear slips with almost all of my me-mades. Because I use mostly vintage patterns, which don't use lining, I find them so much faster to whip up!

  12. I'm a north QLDer and I get put off by lining. I'm underlining a skirt at the moment, it's taken longer (not as long as lining?) but I'm using cotton-silk so I think that makes up for it.

  13. I have always lined my skirts and some dresses but lately I have been thinking it isn't worth it. What I find is that the lining rips or the stitching in centre back seam pulls apart. I think in future for skirts especially I am just going to go with the slip option.

  14. I guess petticoat is an English word funny. Lined definitely makes most things hang better, I know what I should do, sometimes though, I just don't feel like it 🙂

  15. Don't be scared of lining, it is essentially the same as making another of the same garment but in lining fabric and then attaching the two together, not so bad really.

  16. I live in the Philippines and never used to line anything because of the heat. But then I did have to wear a slip if the fabric was even semi transparent and most slips are synthetic and hot and sticky. I have one rayon slip which is OK, but it still clings to your body so is hot and I am still looking for some silk jersey to see if that is any better. I recently converted to underlining nearly all my dresses and skirts (except wide flowy ones) with light weight cotton and am so much happier. The fabrics look better, the garments crease much less (yeah!) and perspiration does not show through as quickly as there is more fabric to absorb it! Underlining does not take up as much time as making a whole new lining would but also does not finish a garment off quite as nicely as a separate lining but I don't really mind if the inside does not look perfect. Garments don't last very long in the tropics (they sometimes have to be washed even after just wearing half a day) and so they fade and wear out much faster. So I don't want to spend too much time making my clothes look perfect inside and out. So I vote for D – do whatever suits your climate, lifestyle and desire for a perfectly finished garment best!

  17. Not lazy at all. In fact I've been pondering the same thing myself. If I can get away with not lining I will. I'm a big fan of slips, I like the extra layer as security against a strong wind or wardrobe malfunctions. Also a lot of the older vintage clothes I've see weren't lined, even for see through fabrics. I assume it's because back then it was the norm to wear a slip as an extra layer. However I live in the UK so it is hardly ever too hot for a lined garment and it does finish the insides nicely. I do also underline quite a bit, because I like the way it gives some fabrics more body and reduces transparency.

  18. Sorry it took so long to reply. I bought mine off an ebay store – but they seem to have all sold out, which is a pity. I'm going to try some cheaper stuff from Hong Kong next. Oh, and the skirt is great to wear.

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