Sewing Skills: How to Line a Dress Properly, Just Like a Seamstress

Sew Over It
by Sew Over It
6 Materials
3 Hours

Want to learn a fantastic sewing skill? Learn how to line a dress with this amazing tutorial. This is great for beginners to learn the ins and outs of how to sew a dress lining.

Also, for those who have an idea on how to do this, it’s always great to brush up on your skills- who knows, you may learn some extra tips. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Dress
  • Lining
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
How to line a dress step by step

1. Prep your dress

I will be working with one of my dress patterns, called the Betty. I left the top neckline and shoulder line unstitched. 

How to line a dress bodice

2. Make the lining

For the lining, make another bodice using the exact pattern as the dress. Be sure to do the seams and darts the same as you would on your main fabric. Also, keep the neckline and shoulder seams open. 

Tip: I’m using lightweight cotton fabric as my lining. Be sure not to use anything too heavy. 

How to sew lining into a dress

3. Line the lining

Start by joining the neckline of the lining and outer fabric. Make sure both fabrics are right sides facing. 

Lining a dress

Next, line the rest of the upper edge, and pin to secure. It’s best to line up the seams first and then go ahead and pin everything in between. 

Tip: Ensure to line up your notches, too. 

Pinning the lining to the dress bodice

As you can see, the lining is all “viciously” pinned, so be careful when sewing!. 

How best to line a dress

Before sewing, make sure the seam allowance is accurately aligned with the shoulder seam. The way you’ll be sewing the shoulder seam calls for accurate alignment between the lining and outer fabric. 

Tips for lining a dress

Fold back the lining of the center-back section when stitching, as we need to prepare this area for the zip. The lining needs to sit just inside of the folded edge where the zip starts. So, go ahead and pin accordingly and repeat on the other side. 

How to sew a dress lining

4. Sew the layers

Now, sew the layers together. Go all around the armholes, center neckline, and center-back neckline. While sewing, be as accurate as possible with the seam allowance measurement, and mine calls for 1.5 cm (0.59 inches). 

Tip: Remove the pins as you go along. 

Trimming the seam allowance

5. Trim the seam allowance

Now, carefully trim down the seam allowance to 5mm (0.19 inches) and clip the curves, as well. When you clip the curves from the inside, both layers will be able to retain a curvy, non-rigid shape along the curves. 

Pressing the seam allowance

6. Press the seam allowance

Next, press the seam allowance toward the side of the lining. 

Understitching the seam allowance

7. Understitch the seam allowance

With your sewing machine, understitch a couple of millimeters (0.1 inches) away from the main seam and onto the lining’s side. You may not be able to understitch all the sections but do as much as you can. 

How to line a dress tutorial

Next, press the seams again, with the main seam rolled in slightly on the inside. 

How to line a dress without sleeves

8. Stitch the shoulder seams

Take one front shoulder seam, and tuck the raw edges neatly inside. Then, take the back shoulder seam and slide it into the folded shoulder seam. 

Pinching the shoulder seam

From underneath the fabric, pinch the open shoulder seam, and pull it through. 

Lining up the shoulder straps

Now, line both shoulder straps up so that they sit flush with one another. 

Using a pin to straighten the layers

Make sure the seam for the front strap is sitting right up against the seam of the back strap. Use a pin to straighten the layers. 

Sewing across the seam allowance

Sew across with your seam allowance; for me, it’s 1.5 cm (0.59 inches). 

Trimming the bulk from the sewn shoulder seam

Trim away some of the bulk from the sewn shoulder seams, and this will ensure a smoother finish. Then, give the shoulder seams a good press. 

How to line a dress demonstration

9. Attach the rest of the lining

Now, press the seam allowance of the lining over, on the center-back sides, and the bottom of the lining. 

How to line a dress with a zipper

If you want to learn how to line a dress with a zipper, this step is crucial! Turn the dress inside out and start pinning the center-back sides.

The lining should be a couple of millimeters away from the teeth of the zipper (0.1 inches). If it’s right on the zipper’s seam, it could easily get caught between the teeth. 

Lining a dress with a zipper

The bottom lining is going to sit right on the edge of the outer fabric seam. So, the folded edge of the lining will sit just on that. Next, slip-stitch the lining to the back of the zip and the seam allowance at the bottom of the lining. 

Tutorial on how to line a dress properly

How to line a dress

How to line a dress tutorial

Now you know how to line a dress with a zipper, and it’s so easy, don’t you think? I hope you found this tutorial useful and you have the know-how on how to line a dress seamlessly.

These are really fantastic tips for your next DIY project, so be sure to keep them in mind the next time you line a dress. Thanks for tuning in! 

Suggested materials:
  • Dress
  • Lining
  • Scissors
See all materials

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