How to Replace a Coat Liningcomments (11) December 30th, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
excerpted from SewStylish Fall Fashion 2009