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How I lined the Lilou Dress skirt

I'm working on the Lilou Dress from the book Love At First Stitch, which includes details about how to line the bodice but I was keen to line the skirt too for completeness and have the softer fabric against my legs. I didn't find too many resources online for lining this particular dress and was a little impatient to read through lining other kinds of dresses in case the structure and method weren't comparable. This was my first time lining a garment and I wanted to have the solution make sense to me so I did my own thing. It did the job but you'll see further down what I would change if doing it again.

I have raised the neckline so this dress will look a little different to the original pattern. My full review of the pattern can be found here.

View of the inside of the Lilou dress showing lining of the bodice and skirt

Here is the dress so far inside out having just sewn the lining together. For the lining I used the Wonderland Enchanted Leaves Plum Voile by Art Gallery Fabrics, which I bought from Bloomsbury Square. I fell in love with this fabric but it is very lightweight and I couldn't see me making it into the outer of a garment, so I treated myself to a beautiful luxury lining. It often takes me months to make a garment, so spending money on quality fabric I love is a no brainer :)

Detailed below are the steps I used. Essentially I made the lining skirt the same as the skirt but without the pleats. I continued with the instructions as normal, stopping just before step 13 which is sewing the skirt to the bodice. Here's what I did next:

Step 1 - Measure the bodice waistline

The skirt is made of 3 pieces - a front piece cut on the fold, and two back pieces. By this point, the bodice and lining is already sewn together without the zip, so I measured the front waist of the lining at the bottom of the bodice, between the two side seams. I halved this as the pattern piece is cut on the fold and added 1.5cm for the seam allowance.

Another way would be to measure this on the pattern piece and subtract the width between the dart legs or adding the two lengths as indicated by the arrows on the photo below. Since this is the original pattern piece, the side seam allowances are already included. I used this to check my measurements and luckily they matched, but if they hadn't, I would have gone with the actual sewn garment measurements so that the side seams matched up.

Lilou Dress front bodice pattern piece, showing how to measure the waist

If you wanted to be even more accurate, measure this width at 1.5cm from the raw edge as this is where the seam will be sewn, and have this in mind as you continue with the rest of the steps as the skirt will not have a perpendicular side seam.

Repeat this step for the back pieces.

Step 2 - Trace and cut the lining pieces

I used the original skirt pattern pieces as a guide, reducing the waist to the measurements as taken above, and keeping a similar hem circumference. Here is my set up for the front skirt piece:

Lilou Dress front skirt pattern showing how to mark the fabric

Directly underneath the pattern is white Saral Transfer Paper which can be seen jutting out under the hem of the skirt pattern. I find this a great way of tracing patterns or transferring markings, as demonstrated in this post on using a double tracing wheel, and in this video at timestamps 0:25 and 2:18. Underneath this is the folded fabric.

To keep things simple, I measured the waist from Step 1 from the centre fold, keeping the hem similar to the original. The actual skirt was size 3 but the width of my fabric meant I could only get to size 1 but this would still allow plenty of swing. I then traced a straight line between the waist and hem with a ruler. (If you have a problem with rulers slipping when drawing or cutting long lines like this, see my post on applying InvisiGrip to stop this happening).

Lilou Dress front skirt lining piece

The hem of the lining has to be shorter than the dress, and so I used the double tracing wheel to mark 3cm inside the hem. Since I didn't want to make two rows of markings on the fabric, I only pressed on the wheel making the markings, hovering the other wheel above the line on the pattern to follow it.

The photo below shows the dotted white line it left.

White dotted line marking the Lilou Dress skirt lining hem, made by using white Saral transfer paper and Clover double tracing wheel

Cut along the lines.

Cutting the Lilou Dress lining

Repeat this for the back pieces.

Back pieces of the Lilou Dress skirt lining

It was after I'd cut this that I remembered I had already lengthened the dress by 3cm, so in fact the lining is now 6cm shorter than the dress, as seen in the photo at the top of this post.

Step 3 - Sew the lining side seams and attach to bodice lining

Pin the side seams with right sides together and sew. The instructions ask you just to trim the seam allowances but I overlocked all the raw edges to avoid fraying. I'm not consistently controlled enough to sew the seam with the overlocker just yet.

Overlocked seam of Lilou Dress skirt lining

Then pin and sew the skirt lining to the bodice lining in a similar way to the instructions for the outer dress, keeping the outer dress pulled out of the way and ensuring the back centre seam edges line up between the lining bodice and skirt. My skirt lining ended up slightly longer than the bodice when I was pinning it together, so I repinned it placing a small pleat in at the side seams to make sure the back ended up matching. An alternative would be to just cut off the excess in a vertical section at the back seam but this seemed like more work.

Front view of the inside of the Lilou dress showing lining of the bodice and skirt

Step 4 - Sew lining to zip tapes

This is described in the instructions, turning the lining inside out, matching up the centre back seams of the lining and dress bodice right sides together, and then sewing down each side close to the zip teeth.

The first photo below shows the back seam after sewing it together, with the wrong side of the lining showing.

The second photo is a close up of the top white square with the seam allowance of the lining folded back to show it attached to the zip tape and the dress centre back seam under that.

The third photo is a close up of the bottom white square, with the lining pulled back to show the lining attached to the zip tapes, then a small gap where the zip pull is, then the centre back seams sewn together.

Since I was also lining the skirt, I simply carried on sewing down to the end of the zip pull. Then I put the centre back seams of the lining with right sides together and stitched this down to the hem so that the lining wouldn't be attached to the centre back seam of the dress all the way down. This left a little gap at the base of the zip which I hand stitched as best I could but this still left a small hole.

The photo below shows the finished lining with the whole dress inside out.

The first photo below is a close up of the base of the zip, pulling the zip and lining slightly apart to show the hole. The second photo is with me lifting up the lining, the red lines showing where the lining is not attached which creates the hole.

I'm sure there's a proper method, but this just did the trick for now.

What would I do differently next time?

Due to the way I cut the pieces, it meant the majority of the volume of the skirt sits around the side seams as seen in the photo below, compared to the flatter front as in the photo above.

Side view of the inside of the Lilou dress showing lining of the bodice and skirt

If doing this again, I would consider other options:

  1. A longer waist measurement and then gathering it to mimic the volume of the outer skirt a little more, keeping the centre of the front and back sections ungathered to avoid additional volume here where the dress isn't pleated.

  2. Reduce the volume and have a smaller circumference on the hem.

  3. Curving the waistline more.

Thanks to sewists on for helping me think through the problem!

I did end up doing option 2 and taking some of the volume out of the side by sewing across the white line shown in the photo below.

This reduced some of the side seam volume of the lining.

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I'm Kay, and welcome to my blog where I share tales of my sewing journey, complete with mishaps, mistakes and solutions to help make your journey a smoother one.

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