How to Sew Flatlining

Do you have a dress that needs a lining, but you just know is going to be difficult to create a lining? 

I have been working on a dress that has a mock button down shirt built into the bodice, and the curvature of the way it sits, and the way the collar, placket, and shoulders are supposed to exist in the final garment makes it impossible to fully line the bodice. 

And it would look totally weird to have a lining, I mean, most button down shirts don't have linings.

Luckily, flatlining is an option. 

I learned flatlining working on period costumes. The tailor would call for it when the garment needed more structure than the exterior fabric could muster, and flatlining the fabric to another fabric that could stabilize it really helped to hold the shape of the design. 

However, I believe flatlining can also be used when you need to line something, but a floating lining within the garment causes too many concerns. In today's written and video lesson, I will show you how flatlining works so that you can have it in your arsenal of sewing techniques. 

Read the written tutorial below, and for those of you who learn better by watching videos and pausing to practice the steps, click here to get access the video lesson. It will be sent to your inbox so you can learn and practice again and again!

Let's get started!

1. Press the exterior fabric and the lining completely flat. Lay the exterior fabric wrong side up, and the lining on top of it. 

2. Match the edges and completely pin all around the exterior of the piece. Make sure to keep the pins back from 1/4 inch seam allowance.

3. Sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance, consistently, while keeping the fabric matching the edges of the fabric and lining.

Here's a peek at the stitches at the top of the garment. Keeping your seam allowance at 1/4 an inch will keep this work invisible from the outside when you create the final seams on your garment. 

Want to see the entire process in action and upclose? 


I have been teaching sewing for over 6 years now, and finally have made my most popular class, Beginner's Sewing, available as an online video course. You can now learn at home, at your own pace, with my comprehensive class for beginner sewists. Get started sewing today, and soon, you will be making your own clothes too!!

I'm always looking for fun tutorials to show you and my students. Let me know how I can help you, and you might just see it pop up as a tutorial soon :)

Thanks and happy sewing!