Last week a natty male dresser I know showed me his lining (shock). His jacket was lined with a football shirt! Not my cup of tea, but why not? Chanel used to line her jackets with silk and then make up a range of blouses in the same fabric to wear with the suit.
Posh furs were often lined with luxurious silks embroidered or woven with the recipients name, or patterns like sprigs of flowers. There was a vogue in the 1950s for men to have saucy pictures inside their jackets – that they could flash at their mates when out in the evening, and still look respectable for work. And even Marks & Spencer uses brighter linings these days – to allow men to express a little individuality.
I came to dress making most recently via painting on silk – making bespoke silk textiles using fabric paint. Once I had made scarves for me and all the women in the family I turned to making silk linings. What about matching blouses and dresses to the coat or jacket lining? I restarted dressmaking in order to be able to do this. Here are a few I made earlier.
If you too want a unique lining (and as my jacket is often draped over the back of a chair in an overheated meeting room) that will get seen, you might want to try doing this at home. My daughter Esme loves the most colourful linings, saying it is like wearing a Hawaiian shirt under the jacket. But they can be subtle and restrained too.
- Buy suitable silk. I use Habotai, shiny satin or crepe depending on the weight and quality of the garment. The price on this site is reasonable and they deliver for a fixed cost. If you use calico for toiles you can order large amounts and it is delivered for the same price at the same time. By buying white/ivory you will have very little waste as you use the same colour for all garments. I like the feel and quality of a silk lining and I am prepared to pay for it. After all a hundreds of small animals had to work really hard to produce it. Often my lining fabric is more expensive than the jacket fabric.
- Buy silk paint – red, blue and yellow is sufficient to get started as you can mix your colours from these three elements. The brand names I have are Setasilk, Javana and Colourcraft. The smallest ones cost around £2 or £3 each, the larger around £10.
- Find or buy a nice brush or two. I have one thick and one thin, in fairly good quality, made specifically for silk painting from animal hair. I assume any good quality brush will do.
- You can use gutta, wax and a frame if you want to, but this post assumes you are keeping it as simple as possible
- Cut out or draw the lining pieces with a fabric marker as it is easier, and more economical to just paint the pieces you want to keep
- set them out in pairs on a flat surface and paint them together to get a roughly symmetrical look
- I usually chose one colour similar to the fabric colour if it is plain, and then match three or four to go with it.
- Practice on an off cut to get a pleasing design. To check the colour allow to dry or press. Once dry you see a truer colour.
- Start with the lightest colour first, then allow it to dry.
- Build up the colours on top. You don’t have to let them dry but they will then bleed into each other which maybe an effect you want. You can dilute them for a lighter colour and a “wetter” effect. The red and pink were used undiluted, the green is very diluted and the light grey is diluted. I often use a “dirty” colour to pull it all together, but it can be nice to have the pure, vibrant shades too. I suppose with winter outfit in heavier cloth I usually produce a denser and darker lining.
- Even if they dry they still bleed but not as much. Choose a design that is quite painterly and not too precise, or move to using wax, gutta and frames.
- Go right to the edge. Although most will be sewn away you don’t want white bits to show (unless it is part of your design)
- Keep building up the colour until you are satisfied. I liked the way that the grey, green, red and pink had combined to create a sort of purply red, similar to my jacket.
- Finally allow the pieces to dry, then press using a hot iron. Then make up your lining as usual.