A slim fit wool skirt such as the Charlotte really begs to be lined. Adding a layer of smooth and slippery fabric makes a wool skirt more comfortable to wear (especially with tights) and extends the life of the garment. Sewing a lining is fairly simple, however, there’s another technique that serves the same purpose: underlining.
In general, underlining is used to stabilize fabric, add weight and “heft” to a lightweight fabric, or add opacity to a transparent fabric. Using normal lining fabric, such as Bemberg, lightweight silk or even cotton batiste to underline a garment gives the same benefits of a a skirt lining, with a bit less bulk. Typically, the underlining fabric is cut to the exact size of the pattern pieces and sewn to the fashion fabric at the very edges. The pieces are then dealt with as a single layer. Since the seams edges will be visible on the inside of the garment, the raw edges are finished together, either with an overlock stitch or a Hong Kong finish.
Enter the combined Hong Kong finish + underlining method. By cutting and sewing the fabric and underlining in a slightly different way, you get a beautifully finished seam and underlining all at the same time. It takes some patience and accuracy in cutting and sewing, but the results are so worth it! Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!
In addition to everything else you need to sew a skirt, you’ll also need an accurate clear ruler, marking chalk (I LOVE this Clover roller chalker) and your rotary cutter.
For this tutorial, I’ve made a little “mini” version of the skirt Front so the big picture is easier to see. Start with cutting out the front and back pieces in fashion fabric.
Lay the pieces on your well-pressed lining fabric. Use a few pins or weights to keep the fabric from shifting around. Then, along the vertical seams only (side/ back seams), mark an additional 5/8″ seam allowance.
Very carefully, cut the lining fabric using the new guidelines at the side/ back seams, and cutting at the normal cut line for the horizontal edges. Here’s what it looks like:
Now, with right sides facing, pin the side seams of the lining and fashion fabric. Obviously, the lining fabric is wider, so they will not lie flat.
Find yourself a 1/4″ presser foot and carefully sew EXACTLY 1/4″ from the raw edges.
Turn the fabric inside out. Both right sides should now be facing out.
Wiggle the lining/ fashion fabric so that the lining fabric goes exactly around the edge of the fashion fabric without creasing the fashion fabric. Carefully press.
Once pressed on both edges, the fabric and underlining pieces should be even, with no bunching, pulling or creasing. Since you haven’t trimmed any of the fashion fabric from the sides, you can sew the pieces as normal, with a 5/8″ seam allowance.
Sewing darts for the skirt needs a little special attention for underlined fabric. First off, mark the dart legs and vanishing point. Draw a line connecting the vanishing point to the middle of the dart. This is your sewing guide.
Sew down this marked line (the middle of the dart), beginning your stitching a centimeter or so away from the vanishing point and sewing toward the raw edge.
Fold the dart along the sew line and sew as usual.
Press over a ham.
Continue sewing the skirt as usual. If you’ve added a kick pleat, there are just a few more steps. Clip the seam allowance right above the curve and finish the rest of the pleat as described in my earlier post
For the hem, I used rayon seam binding to finish the edge and then used a blind stitch (only catching the underlining) to hem.
With a beautiful finish like this, it will be hard to keep from showing it off!