Most people tend to think that the visible fabric on a garment will what appeals to people – and in many cases it is; but often enough what is under and inside the garment’s layers will determine how that garment drapes, fits and lasts. There is no point in buying a blouse with beautiful material if it just does not drape well at all. What is inside the garment will really determine just how professional it is. Underneath It All, taught by Linda Lee, claims that “you’ll learn essential skills for making and sewing fine garment interiors: choose interfacings, underlinings, interlinings, facings and linings, and install them perfectly in your garments.” So let’s see if it’s claims hold up to my review *insert evil laugh here*? Interfacing, lining, interlining, underlining, facing… There are honestly so many options! How do you keep track of them all? Do you know what each one is, how and when to use it?
Lesson 1 – Meet Linda Lee and Get Started
Lesson one gives a nice overview of what you will learn though out the entire course; covering the topics of interfacing, lining, interlining and facings. The aim is to give you a great understanding of what each of these are and why and when you would use it. Linda does give you several examples whilst teaching you basic terminology. Unfortunately her examples aren’t always clear regarding what is being shown. A facing will generally be part of a pattern. Sometimes finished edges can actually become features in a garment, visible through something such as top stitching. It will finish and hide the raw edges. Underlining is a second layer of fabric. It helps to support a fabric and perhaps change the character so that it can be used for something other than its intended purpose. Interlining is primarily used to add warmth of loft to a garment. Lining will help a garment hang better, and will add weight and drape. Lining gives a garment a more finished appearance and hides the raw edges and other “unfinished” aspects of a garment, such as underlining and raw seams.
Lesson 2 – Sew-in Interfacings
Sew-in interfacing is great for garments that are sheer, or for garments that you don’t want to risk changing the texture of the garment – such as garments with fur, designed wrinkles. Sew-in interfacing has the advantage of having a very natural feeling to it; it really doesn’t alter the character of the original fabric together much at all. How to Use Interfacing A very short segment of video, basically showing that you can use multiple types of interfacing in a singular garment; either sew-in or fusible.
Types of Sew-In Interfacing
Silk-organza is encouraged, as polyester based organza doesn’t conform as well to other fabric structures. It changes character to become more like the outer fashion fabric that it’s placed against. Batiste is a very light cotton, and is somewhat sheer. Claimed to be readily available almost anywhere, I have yet to source a seller locally (most of the sales people wouldn’t have a clue what this is)… From what I hear, it is actually pretty difficult to find. Woven crisp is a medium-weight, crisp opaque interfacing. As the name suggests, it’s for use where you want a fairly crisp appearance, such as collars. This may need to be custom ordered. Hair canvas is very structure, heavyweight material used in tailoring. It’s used in areas such as collar stands and shoulders, in often very limited pieces.
When I buy interfacing, I don’t get access to the manufacturer’s instructions or guidelines for fabric handling. In most cases I can’t even tell the brand. For some interfacing it is advisable to pre-shrink, particularly in the case of fusible interfacing don’t stick it in the washing machine! Instead, fold it and stick into a bucket or sink of hot water. Leave for 20 minutes, before then hanging without folds and let it drip dry.
Testing And Choosing
You really ought to have more than one interfacing on hand at all times. Baste samples onto some spare fashion fabric, and without seeing the interfacing play with that fabric. That’s right, twist and fiddle with it. Get a good idea of how the interfacing will change the texture and character of the fabric.
Lesson 3 – Fusible Interfacings
Fusible interfacings are bonded to the fabric, essentially making the fabric and interfacing act as one. Fusible interfacing is in fact more common in modern garments, due to the fact that it’s easier to use for many sewers. Found everywhere from very casual garments right through to very tailored and professionally crafted garments. It is great for collars, cuffs and providing stability to button holes. Fusible interfacing can be applied to large areas of garments; so don’t be afraid to add to whole areas such as yokes. It will come in a variety of weights and colors, so you can pair to the fabric you are using. Note the smooth side, and then the fusible side which will be rougher.
Woven Fusible Interfacing:
- Fusible, hair-canvas;
Woven interfacing will tend to be found in more couture types of garments. It retains a warp and weft, allowing it to move with your fashion fabric more naturally.
Non-woven Fusible Interfacing:
Linda suggests this type for more craft-like projects such as bags as it tends to keep a crispness throughout its life that might be undesirable for a garment. It just doesn’t drape well at all.
Knit Fusible Interfacing:
Also known as Tri-cot, it works across many projects. This interfacing will stretch, allowing it to contort and drape with the fashion fabric. This is the perfect interfacing to use with any knit fashion fabric; it keeps the original properties of fashion fabric whilst just providing some stability and support. Eight-way stretch interfacing is great depending upon your needs; it will stretch on the grain, on the selvage and on both bias’.
Weft Fusible Interfacing:
These are based upon knit interfacing, but has another woven thread on the weft, will give it much more stability.
Examples and Explanations
It’s all good and fine showing us the different types of interfacing, and Linda take you that last step that you need and gives you examples of pre-made garments to explain what interfacing she used and why. Perfect.
Lesson 4 – Underlinings
Determine whether this will be seen – basically as a facing – or whether it will be hidden in a lined garment. It can be used to help prevent wrinkles. Silk organza will add a crisp feeling to a fashion fabric; it won’t have a soft drape. Batiste. Sheer like organza, but will have a softer drape. China silk is a lining material and will add a fluid drape. It is sleek, making it perfect for lining (as its most common purpose). Benefit is it can come in a variety of colors, making it ideal for many projects. Linen can used for a number of projects. It comes in a variety of weights, and colours. Cotton flannel adds warmth, softness and loft. Linda suggests finding flannel that’s soft on both sides, and preshrink and treat it as it will become even softer. Muslin can be used as a great underlining. This is actually used in a number of couture products as the underlining. A great example of muslin being used as an underlining is in the Craftsy course The Couture Dress (read my review here). Also, don’t forget that any interfacing (fusible or sew-in) can both be used as underlinings.
Examples and Explanations
Just like the previous videos, Linda shows examples of garments that she has made and what she has chosen to underline her garments.
Linda shows you some finishing techniques for garments, such as serging, and how to finish your seams with a hong kong finish.
Lesson 5 – Interlinings
Whilst the installation process is similar to underlining, interlining is quite different. You can use a coarse linen – despite being somewhat thin – it can add a bit of warmth to a lightweight jacket. Cotton flannel can be both an underlining and an interlining. Great for another lightweight jacket. Cotton batting adds loft and warmth; readily available and not too expensive for the beginners out there. Wool batting is warmer than cotton batting. It has a nicer drape and is soft, so will work well for those silk and soft garments. Thinsulate is often used in ready-to-wear garments and is available in many weights. It comes with a layer of non-woven interfacing layer so that you can sew with it since its fibers are so loose. PrimaLoft is covered with two woven interfacing layers to aid stitching. It makes me think of quilt filling; with its pre-stitched sections.
Linda does a great example of how to sew interlinings to your garments; she shows you how specific styling features such as a dart will impact upon the design (for example the added bulk) and how to adjust it to be perfect.
Lesson 6 – The Functions of Facings
Why use facings? Well they are used to hide the raw edges of garments. They can not only be functional, but if used right they can also be decorative by providing top stitching lines to the outside of a garment. Linda will provide several examples of how facings can appear on garments, explaining why each style was used.
First technique Linda shows is stitching fusible interfacing to fashion fabric, right side to right side. Yes, that’s right; right side to right side. Traditionally fusible interfacing is sewn wrong side (the glue covered side) to right side. When you turn your interfacing over, you can press whilst favouring your fashion fabric. It hides the interfacing wonderfully. Second technique: stay stitch the edge prior to turning and pressing. You should then finalize this technique by edge stitching. Third technique: serge. Remember you don’t need a serger machine to finish your seams this way; a zigzag stitch will work just as well on your normal sewing machine. Fourth technique: Serge, turn and then edge stitch.
Linda will take you step by step through attaching a neck facing to a shirt. In this section you will learn how to pin, sew, grade, clip for curves and under-stitch – all to provide a professional finish. She gives a really handy tip for grading your material, if you own duckbill scissors. She also teaches a great way to make a very pointy corner that’s well supported by the seam allowance hidden underneath.
Lesson 7 – Linings
Linings make garments beautiful; they allow the garment to drape nicely on your body and they hide all those nasty raw edges. If you find amazing fashion fabric, and unfortunately it has some sheer parts – or it’s just sheer in general – a lining can make it much more modest. Cotton batiste, voile or lawn – lightweight cotton – make great linings for garments made from cotton or linen. Rayon Bemberg is very slick and smooth. It drapes wonderfully, is very durable, and it won’t make any noise when you are walking. It’s also not that expensive. If you want something similar (although slightly crisper), you can get acetate lining; just beware that it can give off a bit of noise with movement. China silk is a bit more on the pricey side compared to rayon. It is quite delicate, so if its something that going to get a lot of wear just be careful that it doesn’t wear through over time. Silk crepe de chine is better quality than china silk, and has a better drape. The next option is silk charmeuse. The difference between silk charmeuse and crepe de chine is the sheen. Crepe de chine has more of a matte finish, whilst charmeuse has a much shinier side. Linda recommends using Kasha. One side looks like satin, whilst the other side looks like a flannel. It works best with garments that you want to have a bit of insulation in – such as jackets and coats. It drapes nicely.
If the suggestions aren’t enough for you, again Linda will show you some garment examples, explaining what fabric and why that lining was selected.
Drafting a Lining
Linda teaches you how to draft a lining for a jacket or blouse and a skirt when the pattern you are using doesn’t have one. The pattern pieces you will need to do this is sleeves, back, front and any facings. You shouldn’t need pattern pieces such as cuffs or collars. The process will mostly involve copying your current pattern, increasing seam and hem allowances in certain areas such as the bottom hem, the neck, centre front and sleeves.
Lesson 8 – Making Lined Garments
This lesson starts off with the main sections of the garment already sewn – basically the lining and the outer fashion fabric will look like partially completed versions of the garment.By stay stitching the raw edges, it will act as a guide when sewing the lining to the garment. It would be hard to describe the step by step process that Linda teaches, however it appears to be quite effective and impressive. You can’t merely flip your garments inside out and sew; your sleeve’s lining will need to be correctly inside the sleeves, and all seams will need to be effectively hidden.
Essentially, this lesson is great; it will teach you everything you will need to know on how to attach a lining without a pattern or sewing guide.
I love how Linda gives example garments and explains what type of material she used and why. At the end of each video lesson Linda Lee takes you through how to apply the lining materials. She covers hand and machine basting, and tips such as adhering fabric together (using fashion glue). Lots of little helpful things. I love how Linda Lee stuffs up the stitching in Lesson 4! It’s so common to see these “professional” sewers never make a flaw; she admitted that she was rushing and have a slightly odd pull on her sewing machine feed, and that rushing has an impact upon the quality of stitch. She admitted the bad quality stitches, and actually made her mistake an example as to what you want and what you don’t want. Thanks for that, Linda! Good on you! Linda gives some great in-depth examples of the garments. Rather than just showing us completed garments, she opens them up for us to see inside of the garment’; the layers and how the lining/underlining material is attached to the fashion fabric. I love how Linda mentions that just when you want your fabric to be perfectly flat, the cat jumps on the table. If you have ever owned a cat, you all know this feeling.
What would have made this class a perfect score, would be to show how the fashion fabric is impacted by each type of interfacing or lining material spoken about. Let her show us how a thin or thick interfacing effects the fashion fabric, comparing the same fashion fabric with lightweight to heavyweight, or fusible to sew-in interfacing. Essentially a side-by-side comparison.
I would classify this class as a must have, for any skill level.
So many commercial patterns call for linings or interfacings that you really ought to know at least the basics. By actually having a better knowledge of your options it will allow you to make changes to commercial patterns (adjust to suit your needs) or even design your own garments. Some of the lessons are tailored slightly towards intermediate to advanced sewers, such as the case of “Lesson 7 – Linings” where you are taught how to draft a lining from an existing commercial pattern that has none. This lesson requires you to be comfortable enough to adjust sewing patterns to a very basic degree.