Friday, March 5, 2010


You may be excused for supposing we're still on the travel track. Whether on an ocean-going vessel or a home-town meander, this week's topic should see you comfy for any journey you undertake.

The point is are your jackets or vests warm enough? Are you worried that if you use a warmer fabric, it will prickle you into a rash of discomfort?

Solution: LINE IT!

I LOVE lined jackets, especially those lined with taffeta. It looks and feels luxurious. In winter I love the dichotomy of cool and smooth inside something that's warm and chunky.

Annie Lantz lined this wool mix vest with polar fleece.

Annie Lantz:
Australian Freecall 1800 817 402 / NZ Freecall 0800 722 203

I've lined this corduroy jacket with brushed cotton, the fabric commonly used for winter-weight pyjamas.

I'm going to try buffering a heavy-wale corduroy with polarfleece this winter.

Put some forethought in before you use polarfleece as a lining. Is your outer fabric likely to need pressing after laundering? Cottons usually do. Then polarfleece may not be an ideal inner, the reason being if the outer fabric has a pile (textured, raised surface), such as suede, velvet, and corduroy, it should be pressed on the reverse side.

I'm hoping that the type of corduroy I use will get by with a gentle wash cycle, and perhaps a swipe or two with a steam cleaner. If you're using suede or velvet and really want the polarfleece with it, consider drycleaning rather than a washing machine.

Taffeta Lining

Be aware that close fitting garments may be tricky to get in and out of if the lining doesn't slide over the surface of other garment layers. You're likely to end up with a bunched up sleeve or an additional shoulder blade during application, and a sleeve turned inside out during shedding.

One benefit of taffeta lining is that the taffeta slides easily over everything else.

Want extra warmth and easy application? Use taffeta lining with a good quality, cold-stopping wool or quilted fabric.

Another benefit to lining your garment is that a lining helps keep the shape of the garment. A lined skirt is less likely to 'seat' -- that is, to develop a sag where the wearer sits on it. A lined jacket will help the outer fabric sit smartly and not droop.

This multi-stripe jacket (below) is a stretchy blend of an absolute fistful of textiles, a bulky fabric that ripples and kinks with complete disregard for tailoring. The matching skirt, which I love for its comfort and looks, is lined with taffeta. I wondered, when I brought them home from the shop, why the jacket didn't offer the same courtesy as the skirt, while I tried to make the not-quite-center-rigged, two-button arrangement sit squarely on my chest. I blamed the nylon/spandex and prepared to apply a lining.

Yes, if you're beady eyed, you will have noticed that the jacket has three buttons. I said two-button on purpose. It's a Ballentynes jacket, and Ballentynes garments generally come supplied with an extra button in case you lose one.

I decided to try adding the extra button below the other two, which gave the garment more support, and when I discovered a small inside button on the lapel, everything was much more ship-shape, and definitely a simpler solution to lining it.

With a little wearing, I realized that the stretchy fabric would have needed a lot of pleating in the lining in order to achieve a similar amount of give (ease of movement). The moral of this tale is that while lining is admirable, it's better to check that this is the best solution for the garment in question.

Centre back pleat at jacket yoke. Taffeta lining, faux suede outer.

If you're thinking of applying a lining to an existing garment, here's a tip:

Give your lining a pleat at each shoulder or at centre back, running down the entire length of the garment. Press the pleat, then stitch it at the top and the bottom but leave it open in between. A similar fold is often allowed in the lower sleeve hem and cuff hem.

Centre back pleat at jacket hem.

Above: Showing a lining about to be applied to an existing garment that has a significant stretch factor. The taffeta lining has a pleat (fold of extra fabric) applied at shoulder front and back.

Below: The taffeta lining hem is folded back under itself to meet the suede hem, creating give. The long sleeve seam can also have a pleat applied at the cuff -- a useful trick when you find the inner sleeve is wider than the outer sleeve.

May your wearables line up
in comfort and durability!

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