Mad Men dress: attaching a lining by hand

Mad Men dress - attaching lining at back neckline

How do you add a lining to a dress pattern that doesn’t include a lining?  By hand, of course!  Well, technically you could probably do it by machine via some serious head-scratching and “I’d-better-sew-everything-in-the-right-order” heart palpitations, but I opted to take the slow/easy route and do it by hand.  There are some great instructions in the Reader’s Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing, which state that adding a lining by hand is a traditional tailoring technique and the “classic” way of doing it, so there you have it.  Who am I to argue with tradition?  : )

Above you can see the inside of the Mad Men dress (Vogue 7298, a vintage pattern from the 60s).  I followed the pattern instructions for adding the purple facing to the neckline, and I hand-tacked the facing to the zipper tape.  Then, for the lining, I machine sewed the edges under about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch (I just eyeballed it), and I’m in the process of hand-sewing it to the facing.  (To cut the lining in the first place, I used the regular pattern pieces and trimmed off about an inch at the neckline and armholes — i.e., wherever there would be facing.)

Mad Men dress - attaching lining to zipper tape

Here you can see the entire bodice and part of the skirt.  I’m using two different lining fabrics simply because that’s all the leftover fabric I had lying around from other projects.  No one’s going to see it, so who cares!  I still have to hand sew the bodice lining to the zipper tape; I already did the skirt lining, can you can see in the bottom of the photo.  I’ll also hand sew the bodice lining to the top of the skirt lining, covering up the raw edges there.

Mad Men dress - attaching lining- close up of hand stitches

Can you see my purple hand stitches between the lining and the purple facing?  I used a mattress stitch, which is probably not the proper stitch to use, but whatever, it worked.  Don’t tell Tim Gunn, ok?  : )

Mad Men dress - lined bodice - view from wrong side

I love the look of the lining all set into the bodice.  Here I’ve completed the neckline and armholes.  It’s like a cute little vest inside the dress!  I especially like how professional and finished the inside of the dress looks, and how all the seams and raw edges are completely and permanently enclosed between the fashion fabric and the lining.  Bonus: if your lining will be completely sewn in on all sides, you don’t even have to finish any of the seams.  I have a ton of raw edges in there, but who cares, they’re completely enclosed!  Can you tell I’m excited about this??

Mad Men dress - lined armhole - view from right sideThe dress looks professionally finished on the outside too.  Notice how you don’t see any stitching whatsoever on the outside of the armhole – awesome!  The facing is understitched, so even that seam is rolled under to the inside of the dress — you can see it on the left side of the photo, inside the armhole.  Love it.

I am pretty much in complete awe of what an awesome technique this is and what a huge difference it makes in the finished look of the garment.  I don’t even want to know how much it would cost to buy a hand-finished dress like this… good thing I’m making it myself.  : )  Speaking of cost, the raw materials probably cost me somewhere around $60.  Considering I’ve seen crappy polyester dresses in department stores selling for more than this, I think my handmade version is a pretty good deal!

Ah, I wish I could just quit my job and sew all day long.  What’s that?  I need a paycheck to pay the rent?  La la la, I’m not listening…  : )

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.