A lining adds a feeling of luxury and comfort to a wedding gown. It lays directly against the skin, so it can protect you from the rough tulle that is often used to plump up wedding skirts. Although a lining is rarely seen, it provides a smooth finish to a fine garment and makes a separate slip unnecessary. A lining will not typically provide structure for the gown as it will be made of a smooth, lightweight fabric.
Lining a Wedding Dress
Select a lining fabric that is soft, pliable, and lightweight. The color of the fabric should closely match the shade of the gown. Crepe, taffeta, satin and tricot are excellent lining choices. Consult the pattern for yardage information.
Lay the lining fabric on a flat, hard surface. A large table is ideal, but clean solid-surface flooring will work just as well. The wrong side of the fabric should be facing up.
Lay the pattern on top of the lining fabric. Trace the pattern onto the fabric using chalk. You will not need to trace facings, collar, cuffs or the waistband. Make sure the fabric does not slip as you are marking.
Cut the marked pieces carefully with a very sharp fabric scissors.
Assemble the lining according to the pattern, using a small stitch and the appropriate tension setting on the sewing machine. Leave edges, zipper opening, and kick pleat or slit unfinished. Using the iron at the recommended temperature for the fabric, press seams open.
Lay the lining inside the dress, wrong sides together. Attach the raw upper edges with pins, matching each seam and marking. Sew the upper edges together, by hand or machine. If the dress is sleeveless, sew the armholes together at this point. If not already complete, apply any edge finishes to the dress fabric and apply the waistband or other waist finish.
Turn the gown inside out, so that you can only see the lining. Trim lining at the bottom of sleeves and skirt even with the outside dress fabric. Turn one-half inch under and press, then stitch to finish. A lining in the skirt will only attach at the top of the fabric (waistband) and should hang about one inch shorter than the outer layer. Loosely attach the wrong sides of the lining fabric and dress fabric with a basting stitch at shoulder seams and side seams from the underarm to the waist. (A sleeveless gown will not require these stitches.)
If you want the lining to help preserve the shape of the gown, take three-quarter inch seam allowances on the lengthwise seams. This will make the lining slightly smaller than the dress.
To keep the lining out of a zipper, baste the lining to the seam allowance.