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Lining and underlining

Today, I was planning to post about darts and pockets for the Clovers. However, two things prevented this.

One, I realized that it might be a good idea to talk briefly about lining for your Clovers. If, like me, you’re using a fabric that might be itchy (like wool), you might like a little discussion on this matter.

Two, I am a little behind and couldn’t manage to get far enough along to whip up the post for you. Wow, things have been crazy busy around here. And I thought, well, it’s probably preferable to be a day behind schedule than to develop an ulcer. I hope you agree.

Now, let’s talk pants lining. I have some thoughts and some really cool techniques to link you to.

The fabric I’m using for my Clovers is above. The salt-and-pepper wool will be the main fabric, and I’m using the BRIGHT red stretch silk for the underlining. So even my lining fits with my Fall palette!

If you’ve decided that your fabric needs a little something softer on the inside, the first question is whether to line the pants or underline them. Underlining just means that you cut the same pieces from both fabric, baste them together, and then sew them as one piece. In contrast, when lining a garment, you basically make another version of the garment and insert it inside.

I would advise underlining for these pants rather than lining. I’ve had fitted pants that were lined and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. But there may be a tendency for the lining to bunch up and twist on fitted pants, and who needs it? Especially when underlining is so easy. Plus, with a little foresight, you can save time by finishing the seams at the same time.

You have a few options for underlining:

  • Baste the underlining pieces to the main fabric pieces before sewing. Worry about finishing seams later, as you sew, like normal. Easy peasy.
  • Serge the underlining pieces to the main fabric pieces. If you don’t have a serger, you could also use a zigzag or overlock stitch on you sewing machine.
  • Use this technique described on Pattern Review to do a finish similar to a Hong Kong finish while attaching your underlining. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds great for the vertical seams!
  • Sew the underlining and main fabric pieces with right sides together to finish the seams. Shannon of Hungry Zombie Couture explains this technique well. I’ve done this, and it’s awesome.

Personally, I think I am going to go with serging them together, then pressing the seam allowance to the side and doing a mock flat fell seam. That way, no itchy wool will be touching me, even on the seam allowance.

I’m also using a stretch cotton for the inner waistband rather than the wool, again to avoid the itchies.

So that’s what you need to know about underlining. Now on to the sewing!

The Clover Sewalong

  1. Welcome to the Clover Sewalong! (34 Comments)
  2. Making your muslin (14 Comments)
  3. Large or Small Waist Adjustment (10 Comments)
  4. Full or Flat Belly Adjustment (19 Comments)
  5. Lengthen or Shorten the torso (13 Comments)
  6. Wide or Narrow Hip Adjustments (6 Comments)
  7. Full or Flat Butt Adjustments (23 Comments)
  8. Swayback adjustment (11 Comments)
  9. Large calf adjustments (2 Comments)
  10. Large or Thin Leg Adjustments (16 Comments)
  11. Seam Finishes (1 Comment)
  12. Lining and underlining (14 Comments)
  13. Getting started with pockets and darts (1 Comment)
  14. Assembling the legs (2 Comments)
  15. Waistband and pocket (14 Comments)
  16. Your Completed Clover Projects (11 Comments)



This is a timely post because I was considering if my future Clovers were going to be lined and had not yet thought of underlining them. I think this is a rhetorical question, but would you use lining/underlining fabric that has the same amount of stretch in it as the outer fabric?

Yes, you want at least as much stretch in your lining fabric.

The technique from Pattern Review on attaching your underlining is one of my favorite ways. I learned it from Lynda Maynard and it’s so quick and clean. I will say that on curved seams the bound edge will twist so it’s not ideal for severe curves.

Good to know. I’m going to try it on my next pair, maybe.

Where does one find stretch lining fabric?

Denver fabrics has it for as cheap as a few bucks a yard! For fancier options, they have some stretch silk charmeuse on sale right now too (do a search for stretch silk). I just bought some in blue to line another pair of Clovers I’m planning, in bright blue Pendleton wool.

In fact a few shades of that lining are on sale for $1.99 until Monday! The regular price of $3.95 isn’t bad either.

Seraphinalina |

Thank heavens for blogs. I really didn’t know about underlining until seeing Gertie and Tasia post about it and it’s just fabulous for some fabrics and looks. I did an overcast stitch on both layers (I don’t have a serger) for my underlined dress. I knew both would be prone to shredding while I was sewing. It’s great to pass along information like this, particularly all the different ways to go about it.


I’m still very much a beginner so tips and info posts like these are so useful to me! The information about underlying especially has given me an idea on how to deal with some rather unruly woven fabric I was given to make into doll clothes. I’m hoping to keep improving and trying out new things. You offer such pretty patterns, some that I think would really work for my body type, but I think I want to become a little more skillful before I take the plunge and order one and then work on upgrading it for my plus size figure. Until then, your blog is giving me a lot of ideas!

Out of curiosity, do you ever have classes or special events for people in the local (Portland metro) area?

Keep an eye on the blog next week, I’m announcing a couple fun events related to the book!

A totally perfect post for this sew-along. I prefer the wool or wool-blend fabrics for cooler weather, but I am allergic to wool. I struggle through with linings, underlinings, scarfs and anything else that puts a barrier between me and the garment fabric. Do you or any of the other readers have any waistband favorite techniques? I usually make the waistband as usual then apply a facing sort of thing that encompasses the seam. It gets a little bulky. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I usually bind the edge of the inner waistband with bias binding. There’s a picture in Caitlin’s seam finishes post. It’s a bit less bulky than turning the waistband under and edgestitching.

My stretch poplin turned out to be a bit thin for pants, it’s more of a blouse weight.While I could order that stretch lining from Denver Fabrics, I’d rather not wait.

Can anyone suggest a type of fabric available at Jo-Ann or Hancock Fabrics stores that might work for lining stretch poplin?

Thank you! I love getting info like this, and I’m glad you explained the difference between lining and underlining – I see both terms but wasn’t quite sure if they were interchangeable or what. Now I know!