How to Replace a Coat Lining

comments (13) December 30th, 2009     

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Choose a new lining in a contrasting solid or print in a strong fabric such as silk.
Creating a new lining for a weathered old coat is easier than you think.
A brand-new lining makes an old coat an instant favorite
Choose a new lining in a contrasting solid or print in a strong fabric such as silk.

Choose a new lining in a contrasting solid or print in a strong fabric such as silk.

Photo: Jack Deutsch
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How many times have you picked up a beautiful vintage coat at a flea market, only to find that the lining is falling apart? Vintage coats are available in the most amazing fabrics; however, their insides don't hold up so well over the years. Creating a new lining for a weathered old coat is easier than you think, and you can get the job done using your old lining as a pattern.

I discovered this technique when I scored a gorgeous coat for $7 at my local thrift store when I was in college. The lining was in shambles, so I took it to a tailor, and she explained to me how she would use the old lining as the new lining's pattern. I then took the coat home and did the job myself in no time. This relining technique is easy, and before you know it, you'll be seeking out bargain vintage coats with disintegrating linings so you can give them a new lease on life, too.

coaster Learn how to make a jacket:

• Making a Jacket: Part I
Making a Jacket: Part II
Making a Jacket: Part III

Choosing Your Lining Fabric
To make a new lining for a coat, you first need to choose a lining fabric. The basic requirements are that it be slippery and strong. Fabrics typically sold as linings -- polyester, nylon, or acetate taffeta -- don't hold up well over time (your old, shredded lining is most likely made of one of these).

My favorite lining fabric is silk. If you love the coat, it's well worth the investment, and silk is probably not as expensive as you think. There are many different silk weaves that work well, including crepe, twill, and China silk.

Flannel-backed linings not only provide the slippery feel needed to slide in and out of your coat but also add an extra layer for warmth. These fabrics are strong enough to withstand regular wear and are a great option for colder weather.

Once you learn to reline your coats, you'll never again have to carefully fold your coat over restaurant chairs so no will see the tattered lining inside.

Out With the Old
Use a seam ripper to take out the old coat lining. Leave half of the lining intact-or take pictures-before you rip it apart to help you remember how to put the pieces together later.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Old Lining.

1. Find the center back. If there isn't a center-back seam, use your measuring tape to find the center back from neckline to hem. Measure between corresponding points to establish center points. Mark and connect them to make a center-back line. Cut on this line to divide the lining in half. If your coat has a center-back seam, open it with a seam ripper.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Cut the center-back line.

2. Remove the lining.
Carefully remove the most intact half of the lining from the coat by cutting the stitches with a seam ripper. Leave half of the lining in the coat so you can study how the intact side was sewn. Remove the pocket linings if they need replacing.

3. Take the lining apart.
Remove the stitching in the side, armhole, and underarm seams. These pieces are now your pattern. If there are pleats or darts, cut notches at the edges to mark them, and mark dart legs with chalk. Mark a grainline on each piece. They typically run parallel to center front, center back, and the center of the sleeve. You can also analyze the fabric to check the grainline required.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Use a seam ripper to take the lining apart.

Hot Tip:
It's sometimes possible to slightly lengthen hems and sleeves by adding length to the lining and letting out the hem of the coat, so if you want to do it, now's the time. Also, while you have the lining removed, you have easy access to the coat seams if you want to make slight alterations to the coat. just be sure that these adjustments are reflected in the lining as well.

In With the New
Use your old lining as a pattern to create the new lining. Refer to the intact half or your photos to see how the lining and its details were originally sewn. Always follow the example of your coat's original construction if it differs from what's shown here.

1. Smooth the old lining pieces o use as your pattern. Press them flat, unfolding the seam allowances if they are tucked under. Label all of the pieces so you don't get confused later. Tape any tears shut. If the edges are relatively neat, you can use them as your pattern. If major areas (often armpits or around pockets) are missing or vague, lay the pieces on paper and create patterns from them, re-creating what's been lost. Just remember that any corners (such as the armhole base) should be right angles, and be sure to include seam allowances. Copy the grainline to each piece.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Cut the center-back line.

2. Cut out the new lining.
Smooth and square the new fabric lining with the selvages aligned. Pin along both the selvage and the fold to hold the layers together. This will help tame most slippery lining fabrics. When laying out the pattern, remember that if you cut your lining in half at center back, you will place the center-back line along the fold. Cut out all of your pieces, and transfer any markings to the new lining. Cut out pocket linings if you need them.

3. Sew the lining details first.
Use the intact lining as you model First, stitch darts. Then fold, press, and baste pleats in place in the seam allowance.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Details such as this shoulder pleat should be sewn first.

4. Assemble the new lining.
Refer to the original lining's hem. If it was free, sew the lining fronts to the back along the side and shoulder seams. If the hem was attached to the coat, leave an 8-inch opening (more if the coat is very bulky) in one of the side seams. You don't need to worry about finishing the seam allowances, since they'll be hidden between the coat and the lining. Press the seams open as you work. Next, sew the sleeve seams, and set the sleeves into the armholes. Stitch your pocket linings together if you have them, and sew them into the coat.

How to Replace a Coat Lining    

5. Install the new lining. Double-check the original lining, and determine whether the hem was free or attached. If it was free, hem the lining. Pin the lining to the coat facing with right sides together, matching center back. Sew around the neck and back down the other side with the hem hanging free. Then turn the lining right-side out, press under the seam allowance at the cuffs, and slipstitch them into the cuffs of the coat. You may want to add some swing tacks (see "Master the hand Stitches" below) at the underarms and on the hem at the side seams and center back.

How to Replace a Coat Lining   Pin the lining to the coat with right sides together along the coat facing edge.

If the hem was attached, pin the lining to the coat facing and hem with right sides together. Then sew around all of the edges and turn it right-side out through the opening in the side seam. Slipstitch the opening closed. Press under the seam allowance at the cuffs, and slipstitch them into the cuffs of the coat.

Master the Hand Stitches
A couple of hand stitches make lining a coat a cinch

Swing Tacks - Tie two knots in pearl cotton embroidery thread 1-inch apart, and trim. Thread a hand needle, and take a few small stitches into the seam allowance of the coat. hand-sew one embroidery thread knot into the seam allowance. Repeat to sew the other embroider thread knot to the lining in the corresponding seam allowance, as shown at left. Repeat for side seams, back seams, and underarms.

How to Replace a Coat Lining    

Slipstitch -
Use this stitch to attach the sleeve-lining hems. Fold the lining's sleeve hem allowance to the wrong side, and press. With the coat sleeve inside the lining sleeve and the seams aligned, bring the needle up through the lining-hem fold. Sew a tiny pick in the coat fabric. Bring the needle back to the lining fold and back out about 1/4-inch away. Repeat to hem the other sleeve.

How to Replace a Coat Lining    


How to Replace a Coat Lining   A brand-new lining makes an old coat an instant favorite.

excerpted from SewStylish Fall Fashion 2009

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posted in: sewstylish feature, coat, SewStylish, sewstylish technique, winter, lining

Comments (13)

jep143 writes: just wanted to comment to the person who didn't know how much fabric to get. I am in the process of relining a coat for someone, I researched coat lining, found on Vogue fabrics a flannel backed satin lining, $14.99/yd, but it is about 57-59" wide ( cant remember) so I got 2 yds. just cut is out had plenty with leftover to redo pockets. I have never relined a coat before but have been making garments for many years, I always like a challenge. the fabric cut out nicely, it ravels so I will stay stitch around the edges.
Posted: 7:45 pm on December 13th
SouthernGirl1956 writes: I am so glad I ran across this site.

I have a coat that I need to change the lining and the tailor was going to charge me several hundred dollars.

I have looked at the lining and will do it myself.

Thank for the posting.

Posted: 10:25 am on July 10th
debolah writes: well, I am a so-so sewer and while not cheap, kind of broke. I have a beautiful tweed swing coat with a ravaged lining and a boxy, wool coat with shoulder pads (!) with a beautiful perfect lining (life isn't fair, is it?). Using your instructions I will now attempt to adapt them to make an acceptable replacement lining for the beautiful coat by cannibalizing the ugly coat. Wish me luck!
Posted: 4:58 pm on January 5th
Tapestry2u writes: New to this site and found your tutorial. Wonderfully written and easy to understand even to a novice sewer like myself. I have a denim coat I absolutely love and noticed that the cuffs are frayed so this is a timely article for me. How do you know how much fabric you'll need for your lining? Guesstimate?
Posted: 12:55 am on October 10th
MamaLala writes: I am in the process of replacing my liner, I am working with a seamstress/tailor to help me along but want to do some on my own. I have the old lining out and need to cut out my fabric using the old lining as a pattern. does it matter which side of the pattern to lay down, as for most of the pieces I am cutting 2 of each (except for the right and left center panel)? i'm a hopeless novice...
Posted: 4:21 pm on February 8th
rwlangford writes: I needed this. This will save my old coat. Thank you.
Posted: 12:59 am on January 8th
sewingtears writes:
I have long used this method for relining coats and jackets for my own personal use(saved a lot of money)and as a professial seamstress made some money.However not everyone is receptive to the cost of the fabric and the labor fees.Most none sewers(customers)are clueless so I generally do not do many relines because people are cheap and try to make you patch the lining up just to get by.Which I feel is senceless and a wast of my time but you cant argue with a nonsewer who thinks they know everything and are cheap.
Posted: 11:55 pm on January 2nd
ustabahippie writes: Now if you could just tell me how to create a pattern for the lining after I carefully removed the old one and lost it before I could make the pattern! ARRGGHH!
Posted: 3:08 pm on January 1st
FULLMOONCHASER writes: I take exception to the description of which lining fabrics will wear out. I have done many linings of nylon and polyester and find they seldom wear out. It is the acetate (rayon) fabrics that won't hold up to the wear.

Posted: 9:41 pm on December 31st
MerrySunshine writes: Replacing linings in coats or jackets is easy to do. Here is an added tip that might help in getting an accurate grainline for pieces not cut on a fold(like the sleeve or side pieces). With a needle or pin, pull up some threads in the lengthwise grain of the old lining to create a run in the fabric. Hi-lite this run in the fabric with a magic marker or chalk so it can be easily traced to your new pattern pieces as the grainline.
Posted: 2:16 pm on December 31st
tzipi writes: Excellent article with very explicit instructions. Thank you. My husband has an old pierre cardin trench coat in which the lining has worn out. Should i attempt to reline it? Wish me luck!!
Posted: 8:14 am on December 31st
Carolebarrel writes: Great time to alter a long coat into a jacket or carcoat length too. So many vintage coats are too long, especially in the south where the weather never stays cold for long. Your tutorial made a daunting alteration seem ez. A too hot fur coat could make a great vest that might need relining too. Thanks.
Posted: 12:19 am on December 31st
Annielou writes: These are wonderful instructions....My favorite winter coat could use a new lining ... Thank You ... Annie Lou
Posted: 4:29 pm on December 30th
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