Today’s technique is the use of underlining. I’ve both underlining or interlining – but they refer to the same thing.
Underlining is a fabric that you baste to your fashion fabric, after which the two layers are treated as one in construction. The basting is then removed after your seams are sewn.
Underlining can serve several purposes. It can correct problems with your fabric choice; for example, if your fabric is too drapey you can choose a crisp underlining (such as silk organza) to give your fabric more crispness. It helps guard against wrinkling, absorbs perspiration, and most of all, hides and provides an anchor for hand stitches.
The choice of underlining fabric is really limitless, and almost always changes the ‘hand’ of the fabric you’re working with. For a great article from Threads on choosing underlining fabric - see here.
Two typical (and very versatile) underlining materials are silk organza and cotton batiste – but the sky is the limit really.
Here is what you do:
1. Pin, mark and cut out pattern pieces from your backing fabric using the technique outlined here.
2. Now, spread out your fashion fabric in ONE layer – this is a single layer layout, we’re not cutting mirror images at the same time. Lay your backing fabric onto your fashion fabric WRONG side and pin, ensuring grain lines are correct again.
A little hint is to pin within the seam allowances and not within your pattern pieces to ensure you don’t get pin marks on your fabric…if it’s not a problem for your fabric, then no worries mate! I use lots of pins because you want to make sure your two layers won’t slip.
Cut out your pieces.
Now, ‘they’ say you should baste with silk thread because silk thread comes out much more nicely, so I use my nice stuff from Susan Khalje. But you could use poly and it would be fine.
Tie a knot and get going. Baste along your dotted line, taking several stitches up at the same time.
When you get to a corner, don’t pivot. Sew a little bit beyond the corner and then turn back – this ensures that you know exactly where the meeting point of your seams are.
Now just baste around all your pieces – it actually takes shorter than you think and is quite enjoyable, I think (maybe that’s just me!).
Now two have become one….awe.
That’s all there is to it! Once your sew your pieces together, simply take out the basting BEFORE you press, or else you risk making marks from your basting and they can be rather permanent. Often times, especially if your’e accurate, you can sew over your basting. This is when basting with silk thread comes in handy because it breaks easily. It takes some patience to take out the basting, but it’s worth while.
NB: DO NOT baste the two pieces together by machine!! The feed dogs move the fabrics at different rates so that you’ll end up with twisting and shifting that will make your sewing life unpleasant and throw your fabric off grain – not good. It’s really worth doing it by hand. And quite relaxing I might add!
There you go, underlining. Hope you enjoyed and that you get a chance to use it and have fun experimenting with different fabric textures, weights and colours!
Relax and Enjoy,