Types and Uses: Difference Between Lining and Underlining

Just like sports, sewing comes with unique terms. A novice may get confused for a while as they try to grasp what term refers to what sewing action. After all, many of the words sound the same. Once you understand the terms. You know what needs to be done.

If we want to get technical, lining is the fabric that covers the interior surface of another fabric. Outside of sewing underlining is drawing a line under a text on a page. But in sewing, underlining is just adding fabric to create body.

To learn more definitions and differences just continue to read our article. It is filled with different terms and their differences. Also, you may pick up a few more definitions as well.

What is Interlining in Sewing (definition and meaning)

The term interlining simply means extra fabric in between the exterior and interior layers of an article of clothing. Usually, the fabric is added to make the jacket or coat a lot warmer.

The good news is that using interlining helps your clothing article to last longer. That is if the right fabric is used. Also, interlining is very versatile as it comes in all weights, fabric styles, and qualities.

You can pick and choose which type of interlining that will work best with your sewing project. Sometimes it can be designed to be removed so you can wear your clothing articles all year round.

Finally, there are two types of interlining, iron on and sew on, otherwise known as fusible and non-fusible.

Difference Between Lining and Interlining


One of the main differences between these two sewing terms and usage is that lining is seen while interlining is hidden behind the lining. Another difference is that lining is not as versatile as interlining.

The latter can be made from all sorts of different fabrics and weights, etc. While lining is usually limited to silky or lightweight fabrics that feel good to the touch. The job of the interlining fabric is to add body, make the clothing article warmer and last longer.

The job of lining is to make the clothing article look as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Plus, the lining helps you put your jacket, etc., on and off a lot easier.

Difference Between Interlining and Interfacing

The latter term’s purpose is to add support to the outer fabric in those areas where support is warranted. Fabric weight in these spots just won’t cut it and the clothing article may not look as good without the added interfacing.

Interface and interlining can be used in the same spots and interlining can act as interface in collars, cuffs, waistbands and other tough areas of different garments. Then interface can be used over entire sections of different clothing items and more than one layer or type may be used.

Interlining adds a little warmth as well, and it is possible to gain some warmth when using interfacing in large sections throughout the sewing project.

When to Use Interlining

One area to use interlining is when winter is coming and you need a warmer coat for the cold season. Adding an extra layer of fabric to protect yourself or your loved ones from the cold is a very good move to make.

Another time to use interlining is when you want to add a little structure and durability to your sewing project. Interlining works well with cuffs, collars, hems, making sure each garment section has the weight it needs to look good.

Finally, you can use interlining when you want that expensive fabric you are sewing into a coat, etc., to last you a very long time. Interlining helps your sewing projects be more durable and usable for many years to come.

Difference Between Facing and Interfacing

Facing serves a specific purpose. It is a feature on the clothing article and not something buy and add to it. What facing does is overlap the interior lining a little bit to hide those sewing issues that may mar the look of the garment.

In other words facing is for cosmetic purposes to help the clothing item look its best. On the other hand, interfacing is placed on the wrong side of the exterior fabric and is used to add stiffness and body to your sewing project.

There are times when facing will be made from a different fabric than the exterior one you used. The place where this is done usually is on jacket lapels.

Difference Between Lining and Underlining


Underlining is fabric that goes on the wrong side of the exterior fabric you are using. It is not lining but a layer of fabric on the interior of the garment that is not seen by anyone.

Underlining is done across the whole garment you are sewing and not used in sections. It helps make lace easier to work with and makes the lace a lot stronger. Also, underlining helps add warmth.

While lining can help keep cool temperatures away from your body, it does little to stop the cold. Lining hides the underlining and makes the garment look like a fashion house designed and made it. Finally, the underlining can help the exterior fabric drape properly whereas lining does not.

Lining Fabric Definition

To define lining fabric, it is a variety of other fabrics that are sewn inside a clothing article to make it look, feel and wear well. These fabrics can be silky soft, fur, or similar types of fabrics that make the interior of the coat, etc. Look its best.

What lining does is help hide interfacing, pads, rough sewing and so on. Its main job is to give the garment a nice clean finished look. It does not help with stiffness, draping, body or other important sewing factors that may be needed before the garment is ready to wear.

Lining can be used for curtains, clothing, hats, luggage, handbags and any other fashion item that needs lining to make it look good.

Types of Interlinings and Their Uses


There are two types of interlining, fusible and non-fusible. The former can be called iron-on while the latter can be labeled as sewn on. The latter is used mainly for fire retardant fabrics.

These fabrics are created for firemen and workers in different mills where fire is a high risk. It does have its disadvantages as it is a low-quality material and high labor intensity is needed to sew it in.

Fusible interlining is where heat and pressure fuse two different fabrics together. This style is used in most fashion garments including ready to wear. Fusible interlining is cheap and easy to use.

Its main disadvantage is that you need lots of pressure to use it.

Airstay Fabric

Some sewing experts define airstay fabric as interlining. It is a softer fabric that helps necklines relax more and have their shape defined more beautifully. This type of interlining fabric works best with satin, silks, chiffon and similar fabrics.

Also, it can be used to help denim avoid looking bulky. Its versatile use makes this brand of cloth a vital part of your sewing project. Airstay fabric should not be that difficult to use and it is one option you have that helps you create those pretty party dresses and other unique outfits you like to wear.

Why use Interlining in Curtains


One basic reason to use interlining in curtains is that the interlining fabric brings a very luxurious look to your curtains. Also, the fabric helps the curtains to drape properly and look good.

In fact it is the key element when you are going for a historical look or an elegant one. Another reason to use interlining is that the curtains will absorb more sound giving you less echo and bounce.

A third reason is that interlining acts as insulation keeping the cold and heat outside of your home. Drapes or curtains with interlining will be heavier than those without so you would need a stable and secure hanging system to hold the extra weight.

Difference Between Lining and Interlining Curtains

If you want the most important and most practical difference between the two styles of curtains, it is cleaning. Curtains with interlining cannot be washed in a regular washing machine. They have to be dry cleaned only. Curtains with lining can be washed at home in your washing machine.

Other differences is that curtains with lining only, are a lot lighter than their interlining counterparts. While lining in curtains make them look good, the interlining adds a certain elegance to your drapes and help them hang well.

The two other important differences are that lining only curtains do not absorb sound as well nor do they act as good insulation from the outside elements. Using interlining in your drapes will not add much to your overall costs.

Can you Add Interlining to Ready-Made Curtains


Yes you can do that and the good news is you do not have to have professionals do the job for you. The process is not that difficult so anyone can add interlining to their ready-made curtains.

One way to do it is to take the header tape off and undo the hems. Then you should cut your interlining fabric to the right size. It is possible to slide the interlining in but you may have a little difficulty getting it into position and have it lie flat.

Removing the side seam may help get the interlining into place a lot easier. Resew the hems and reapply the header tape making sure to cut the drapes to the size you want first.

How Much Interlining do I Need

Calculating the amount of interlining fabric needed is not always an easy task to accomplish. A lot depends on the size of fabric you are sewing into curtains or garment.

One experienced sewer went with a 10 cm difference with the interlining being the shorter of the two fabrics. Then she added header tape to help make up the difference. 10 cm equals about 4 inches.

If that is too much of a gap for you you can use this handy fabric calculator to figure out how much interlining your current project needs. Just click on this link to get to it. Calculations are always hard to do as fabric sizes change with each sewing project.

Once you get the right amount of interlining to use, your curtains should look great.

What is The Best Interlining for Silk Curtains


There are three basic styles of interlining you can choose from- bump, domett and saril. The last one is probably the cheaper quality and doe snot drape that well.

The first is the one recommended for silk. It drapes very well and produces the best look for your curtains. Its main drawback is that it is also the hardest to work with. The loose weave provides lots of challenges for those who opt to use this style of interlining.

Finally, the second one is good for a variety of fabrics. Silk is not excluded here but it is also not mentioned. The versatility of domett interlining should allow you to use it with silk. The interlining is lightweight and works well with pleats.

Plus, you can get domett interlining in different weights.

Some Final Words

As you can see, interlining serves a good purpose for most sewing projects. It comes in handy when you want your drapes to look their best, hang well and be a good insulator between your room and the outside temperatures.

Sometimes, interlining is an essential factor when it comes to certain looks. Understanding the definitions of the different sewing terms helps make sewing a lot easier.

Once you understand them you know what to do and where to do it. Also, you may know which stitch to use. Never avoid learning definitions of different terms as that knowledge makes your sewing time better and your results top-notch.

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