Linings inside clothing can serve both a functional and fashionable purpose. They can make clothing more comfortable and give it a finished look. If you’re making a garment that needs a lining, such as a dress, jacket, suit, or coat, what are the best fabrics to use?
The best lining fabrics are silk, viscose and rayon, and acetate. These linings generally work for any type of clothing that needs a lining. But, there are other good lining fabrics, such as cotton and polyester, depending on the specific type of clothing you’re making.
In this article, you’ll learn what the best lining fabrics are for dresses, jackets, suits, and coats, as well as the characteristics and pros and cons of each. You’ll also learn what factors to consider when choosing lining fabric. Finally, you’ll discover what lining vs. interlining is when it comes to lining fabrics.
- What Is Lining Fabric?
- Types of Lining Fabric for Clothes?
- What Are the Best Lining Materials?
- Best Lining Fabric for Dresses, Jackets, Suits, Coats
- Jackets and Suits
- How to Choose Lining Materials
- Lining Fabric by the Yard
- Lining vs Interlining Fabric
What Is Lining Fabric?
Lining fabric is any fabric used to line clothing on the interior. It is usually smooth and soft in texture to feel comfortable against the skin, and the smooth texture makes the garment easy to take on and off. Lining fabrics often have a shiny appearance, but not always.
We’ve always noticed that specific types of clothing such as dresses, suits, and jackets often have a lining in them, so maybe you just assume that you need one. You’re probably not wrong, as linings have many purposes when it comes to clothing.
For starters, linings provide a neat finish to the clothing. They often give clothes a polished look, making them look complete and even high-end or professionally designed, especially with carefully chosen colors and fabrics types. But, linings have a functional purpose as well as a fashionable one.
Linings help conceal any interior seams, padding, etc., on the inside of the fabric that you don’t want to be noticeable. They can also make the garment more comfortable by preventing the seams and padding from rubbing against you.
Finally, linings can also be used to improve the function of the fabric. Depending on the type of fabric used for both the garment and the lining, linings can make the fabric stronger, warmer, or more modest, for example. Sheer fabrics often have a lining to make them less see-through, while coats may have a lining to make them warmer.
So as you can see, linings make certain types of clothing look better, but they can also improve how the garment performs for the wearer and increase comfort for the wearer. However, that all depends on choosing the right type of lining fabric.
Types of Lining Fabric for Clothes?
Most linings used for clothing, particularly dresses, jackets, suits, and coats, tend to have a silky appearance and texture. This isn’t always the case, as sometimes fabrics such as wool or fleece can be used to make fabrics warmer.
However, in most cases, linings used for clothes are made from silk or synthetic materials such as polyester or acetate. Viscose and rayon are common as well. These fabrics are usually a good all-around choice if you’re unsure of which lining fabric to use.
What Are the Best Lining Materials?
If you’ve never used lining fabric before, you may be wondering what options are available to you. Some fabrics are just not good for lining for various reasons, but others are just depending on the type of clothing that you want to line.
With that being said, let’s look at some of the best materials that can be used for lining, in no particular order as far as which one is the very best. I’ll also provide a brief description of each one along with characteristics in case you aren’t familiar with it and the pros and cons of each.
1. AcetateAcetate is a synthetic fabric with similar characteristics to silk without the expense or delicateness of silk. It has a glossy, shiny appearance and a smooth and soft texture. If you see clothing that looks like it is lined with silk, but the clothing is less expensive, then the lining is likely made with acetate instead.
Acetate is also a very lightweight fabric and it is resistant to shrinking since it is synthetic. That means that clothing with an acetate lining can be machine washed, whereas clothing made with a silk lining often has to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned.
The downsides to acetate are that it can tear or snag easily and wrinkles easily. However, this is not a big deal when used as a lining, especially for coats and jackets where the lining isn’t seen. But, it’s not the most breathable fabric, which is something to consider if you don’t want the clothing to potentially feel stuffy.
2. CottonCotton is not the most common lining material for dressier clothing. However, it is a good option for more casual clothing, especially dresses. Think about sundresses or any other type of clothing you would wear in the summertime.
Cotton is a good lining for summertime clothing because it is breathable and feels good against the skin. It’s also soft, and cotton can be machine-washed as well. You wouldn’t want to use a lining fabric that can’t be machine-washed with casual clothing that can otherwise be washed easily.
The downside to cotton is that it wrinkles easily and it can shrink. Again, wrinkling is not a big deal if the lining isn’t going to be seen. And shrinking isn’t an issue if the lining will be used with dresses, either. But if you’re going to use cotton as a lining for other clothing such as jackets, you may not want to use it if the main fabric for the garment isn’t prone to shrinking as your garment could lose some shape.
3. Cupro/BembergCupro is a man-made fabric derived from cotton, but the fiber itself is considered artificial. It has similar textures to cotton and silk while being more affordable than silk. Bemberg is a specific brand of Cupro fabric and one of the most popular fabrics used for lining, especially for men’s wool suits. Cupro lining can be used for clothing designed to be worn in both summer and winter because it is breathable when needed and warm when needed. It’s also static-resistant, has a silky smooth texture, and a very subtle shine.
The downsides to cupro are that it is not the strongest lining fabric and shows stains easily. It’s best to hand-wash cupro if you want to keep it in its best shape, so you may want to only pair it with fabrics that have to be hand-washed as well.
4. PolyesterThe great thing about polyester is that it is a synthetic fiber, which can take on many different forms. It’s very durable and is another great choice for clothing that is more casual or that can be machine-washed.
Polyester can also be used to make synthetic versions of wool, such as fleece. It can be a great option if you need a warm lining. Or, you can buy regular polyester fabric that has a somewhat shiny texture if you want the appearance of silk without the expense.
One downside to polyester is that it can be too warm for summertime, as it is not very breathable. It also holds odors and has a plastic feel since it is essentially made from plastic. Plus, polyester linings can be staticky and may stick to your skin or other clothing.
5. Rayon/ViscoseRayon is a semi-synthetic fabric which means that it is derived from natural fabrics that are chemically processed. Viscose is just a specific type of rayon fabric, but both are very popular and versatile options to use for lining clothing.
Rayon and viscose are not as shiny as silk, but they have that same silky, soft texture. They’re also breathable and drape well, which makes them a good choice for dresses, particularly those worn in warmer weather.
However, rayon and viscose have similar characteristics to cotton, so they have their downsides. One downside is that they wrinkle easily, which isn’t such a big deal if used for an interior lining. But, they can also shrink in the wash, so it’s important that you wash them correctly as well as choose the fabrics that you pair them with care as well.
6. SilkSilk is one of the most popular lining choices, especially for clothing considered dressier or fancier than normal. Silk is often used as a lining in a lot of high-end clothing, whether that be dresses, coats, suits, etc.
Silk can also come in different sheens and it can be soft, smooth, or both in texture. It’s breathable and feels great against the skin, which is why many people choose it. Silk can also be warm, so it’s a great choice for lining coats and winter dresses.
The main downside to silk is that it can be expensive, especially when there are cheaper alternatives that have a similar texture and appearance. But, silk also needs to be hand-washed to keep it in its best shape. And, it can be too warm for clothing that is typically worn in warmer weather.
Wool is not the most commonly used lining fabric, but it does have its purposes. You may only wish to have a wool lining if it gets really cold where you live, as wool is often used to line coats, jackets, or accessories such as hats. In many cases with coats, the wool lining is removable so that you can take it out if it’s too warm or to make caring for the coat easier.
The benefits of wool are that in addition to being warm, wool is also incredibly soft. It is also breathable despite being insulating. Wool is also odor-resistant and moisture-wicking, so it is generally very comfortable to wear.
However, some people can be allergic to wool, making a wool lining less comfortable and even itchy. Wool is also more expensive than other lining fabrics and is harder to take care of since it usually has to be hand-washed or carefully washed in the washing machine. That’s why many people make a wool lining removable.
Best Lining Fabric for Dresses, Jackets, Suits, Coats
The most common garments that have linings in them are dresses, jackets, suits, and coats. This is usually because they have interior seams or padding that need to be covered. These garments also need to maintain a certain structure, which linings can help provide. If you’re going to be making one of these garments, here are the best lining options for each of them.
Many different fabrics can be used to line a dress, but the best type of fabric depends on the type of dress. For example, with casual dresses or dresses that you would wear in the summer, you would want to go for a less fancy and more breathable option, such as cotton, rayon, or viscose.
Dressy dresses usually have a silk lining or a lining similar to silk, such as acetate. Rayon or viscose can also be used in some types of dressy dresses. But, wedding dresses are usually lined with some type of silk lining because of the way the fabric can fit your body. Silk is often used to line wedding dresses that are sheer since silk can make the fabric less see-through.
Jackets and Suits
Silk or a silk alternative is usually a good choice for lining for jackets, whether they be suit jackets or regular jackets. If the jacket is more casual, then acetate is usually used. But if the jacket is more formal, then silk is usually used.
Other good choices for suit jackets are cupro and viscose, especially for jackets typically worn to the office or for business purposes and not necessarily formal events. Cupro is most often used for menswear and viscose for womenswear. Acetate is also commonly used for lining leather jackets that are meant to be fashionable, and sometimes wool or fleece can be used as well.
The best lining for coats depends on if you want a warm or decorative lining. If you want the warmest lining possible, go with wool or a synthetic alternative such as fleece or sherpa. Wool is usually used for dressier coats, while fleece and sherpa are used for casual coats.
If you want a decorative or elegant lining for dressier coats, go with silk or acetate. If you want the warmest option while still being elegant, then silk will be the best choice, although it won’t be as warm as wool. Acetate can be a good choice if you don’t care about warmth but want a fashionable lining, as it comes in many different colors and patterns.
How to Choose Lining Materials
You now know the best and most common materials that are used for linings, as well as their pros and cons. But, besides the pros and cons of each one, there are a couple of things you need to consider when choosing which lining is best for your clothing.
Type of Garment
The first thing you need to consider is what type of garment you have, as it can help narrow down the list of lining choices. Casual garments can have casual linings such as cotton, rayon, or viscose. But dressy garments may need a dressier lining such as silk, especially if it’s going to be something you only wear on certain occasions.
Again, if you’re making a dress, jacket, suit, or coat, some linings are more commonly used or better suited for those garments than others. The guidelines above can help you narrow down lining fabrics that way.
Another factor you’ll want to consider is breathability. Remember that the lining will be the part of the garment that is closest to your skin. If the main fabric for the garment is not breathable, then you may want a lining that is to keep the fabric from feeling stuffy. The most breathable fabrics are cotton, rayon/viscose, and silk.
If the main fabric of the garment is breathable and it’s cold outside, you may want to choose a lining that is not as breathable so that it will keep you insulated. Wool is breathable and insulating, so it’s a good all-around choice. But if you want a fabric that is not as breathable, then look for synthetic options such as polyester or acetate.
One of the purposes of linings is to make garments more comfortable, so you’ll want to choose a lining that serves that purpose. This is important if the main fabric used to make the garment is not the most comfortable, or the garment has a lot of interior seams that could potentially rub up against you.
All of the linings mentioned above can be comfortable, but some are more comfortable than others. For example, wool isn’t the most comfortable for some people and neither is polyester. Cotton, rayon, viscose, and silk tend to be the most comfortable, but they have disadvantages in other areas.
Something is to consider is the weight of the garment plus the weight of the lining materials. If the garment and lining are too heavy, the garment will be less comfortable to wear. Likewise, if the lining is too heavy, it can cause the garment to stretch or lose shape.
In other words, you may not want to make a heavy garment even heavier, so choose a lightweight lining. Or, if the outer fabric is lightweight, then you’ll want a lightweight fabric as well. Of the lining materials mentioned above, silk, acetate, rayon, and viscose are the most lightweight. Cotton and polyester can have light or medium weights, so choose them carefully. Fabrics such as fleece and wool tend to be the heaviest as far as weight is concerned.
Lining materials come in many different colors and patterns, but the exact color or pattern you choose is up to you. The color or pattern of a lining is more of a fashion statement than functional for the clothing.
With that being said, you can choose a lining that matches your jacket in either a similar color or a neutral color. Or, you can have some fun with it and choose a lining in a different color or a pattern. It just depends on your own style preferences. But, it’s worth noting that different types of fabric will come in different colors and patterns, so your choices may be limited with some fabrics.
Finally, consider the cost of the fabric, as some lining fabrics are significantly cheaper than others. You’ll want to make sure to choose a fabric that fits your budget as well as suits the clothing. Cotton, polyester, and acetate tend to be the cheapest. Rayon, viscose, and cupro tend to fall in the middle as far as price. Finally, silk and wool are the most expensive lining fabrics.
Remember that the lining won’t be seen in most cases, so it’s okay to go with a cheaper material with similar characteristics to a more expensive one, especially if you want more durability. Most people won’t know the difference.
Lining Fabric by the Yard
You can purchase lining fabric at any store that sells fabric, whether in-person or online retailers. However, each store will vary according to what types of fabric they offer and what colors and patterns those fabrics come in. Fabric widths may vary as well and range anywhere from 40 to 60 inches depending on where the fabric is purchased from and the type of fabric that it is.
Another factor that will vary by store and by fabric type is cost. You can buy a yard of cotton, polyester, or acetate fabric for as little as $3 per yard to as much as $20 or more. Rayon, viscose, and cupro fabric usually cost anywhere from $5 to $25 or more per yard. Silk and wool fabric usually cost between $10 and $50 or more for a yard, but some places sell them cheaper if they have other fibers blended in.
Lining vs Interlining Fabric
Although the above-mentioned fabrics can all be used to line fabrics in certain ways, there are specific terms that are used depending on what the purpose of the lining is for. For example, linings in clothing are mainly meant to help the garment keep its shape and hide interior seams and other aspects of putting the garment together.
Linings can also be used to make the garment easier to take off or put on since many of them have that smooth, silky texture that just slides right off your clothing or skin. However, when a lining fabric is used to make a garment warmer, it is known as interlining. Examples of this would be using wool or fleece as a lining material. Interlining materials may or may not be removable, but linings usually aren’t removable and are sewn into the garment.
Lining a dress, jacket, suit, coat, or other garment serves mainly the functional purpose of making the garment more comfortable and giving it a finished look. However, linings can be fashionable as well, and some linings can be both fashionable and functional. I hope this article made choosing a lining for your clothing easier. If you did find it helpful, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!