Fabric 101: Lining Comparison Part One- Fibre Types

Lining is often an afterthought. After spending time choosing the perfect fabric some people rush through choosing the lining. The fact is that the lining that you choose will change how the garment performs. The following information will help you choose the optimal fibre type for your garment’s best performance.

100% Silk

This is probably the most luxurious lining, which often makes it the most expensive choice. It is often used to line silk garments, the philosophy being if you’re going to splurge on silk for the outer fabric, you may as well splurge for lining for the inner fabric. Silk is generally considered to be a “breathable” fabric, that is, it is comfortable to wear in warm climates. As a personal preference, some people actually don’t like the feeling of silk directly on their skin, so silk will not be everyone’s first choice. While some people prefer to wash their silk garments, this can cause them to lose their colour and become limp. We always recommend dry-cleaning silk to maintain the colour and body of the fabric.

100% Cuprammonium Rayon

Bemberg is the name used to describe lining made with high quality 100% Cuprammonium Rayon fibre. Rayon is categorized as a Man-Made Cellulosic fibre. This means that it is derived from wood pulp (cellulose) but these fibres are broken down with chemicals into a liquid form and then forced through a spinneret to create the yarn. The yarn maintains the property of many other cellulosic fibres, making it cool against the skin and breathable. While this fibre is technically washable, all rayon fibres are more fragile when wet, so it is better to wash in a delicate cycle. If you do plan on washing your finished garment, we recommend pre-washing the lining. 

Bemberg lining is more expensive than acetate or polyester linings, but generally less expensive than silk, making it a mid-range price point.

100% Acetate

Acetate was invented with the goal of creating a fabric to mimic silk. It can be made from wood pulp, like other man-made cellulosic fabrics, or from other materials. One of the main advantages of acetate is that it is inexpensive.  One of the drawbacks is that the colour can be affected by heat (ironing), perspiration, and chemicals (deodorant/antiperspirant). Acetate cannot be washed and it is not very durable – if you have ever had lining start to shred around the hem or armholes, it was probably acetate.

100% Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fibre. It has many positive traits as a lining. It is inexpensive, relatively durable, doesn’t tend to wrinkle and is easy to find in a wide range of colours. Polyester linings do not breathe, which is a negative property in a hot, humid climate, but can be an advantage in a cool, dry, climate, when you want to stay warm. Polyester lining can melt if it comes in contact with a very hot iron, but is easy to care for with regards to washing. Most polyester linings are washable and do not shrink when washed. Be careful putting them in a hot dryer, as high heat may cause the lining to melt.

100% Cotton

Cotton may not always be considered for lining, as it doesn’t help clothes slide on and off as easily as other linings. It can, however, make a great lining for specific garments. Consider using a lightweight cotton to line a sheer cotton dress or skirt for spring or summer. A lightweight cotton lining may also be the perfect thing to use under eyelet or other lacy fabric. Because cotton is a natural fibre, it is very cool to wear in warm climates. It will tend to crease, so you may have to iron it before wearing. It is washable, but it is a good idea to prewash to eliminate shrinking in the future.


We hope this overview will give you a little more confidence when choosing a lining for your next project!

Happy Sewing!

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