Okay onto today's question:
“Could you talk about underlining? How, when, why? I've never done it.”
Claire Shaeffer in her book "Couture Sewing Techniques" defines underlining as backing...and backing is described as: "Layer of support fabric applied to the wrong side of a garment section before the seam is sewn; called the underlining in home sewing."
The Dressmaker's Technique Bible says that underlining, may be placed to the underside of material to give support, either to a small part, such as a collar, or to whole garment pieces, for example, skirt panels.
So first the how....
The Vogue/Butterick Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques gives you these steps on how to underline...
1. Cut underlining from the same pattern pieces used to cut the fashion fabric.
2. Transfer all markings from fashion fabric to underlining.
3. With wrong sides together, center the marked underlining over the unmarked fashion fabric. Pin together loosely along traced lines.
4. From the underlining side, run a line of THREAD TRACING along the lengthwise center of each piece of both layers following the lengthwise grain.
5. Check whether the two fabric layers are working together by holding each pinned section over the body to see how the two layers react to the body's contours. If bubbles or ridges form in either the fashion fabric or the underlining, the two fabrics are not molding as one.
6. Remove all pins and, with the fashion fabric uppermost, fold both layers along the thread traced center line. Insert a large magazine or cardboard between the folded fabric. Smooth the fashion fabric over the underlining; pin along the raw edges and construction lines.
7. The underlining and fashion fabric are now relating to each other the way they will be when they are worn.
Hopefully I haven't voided any copyright laws...because I summarized the high points! However, I highly recommend this sewing book and have provided a link to Amazon.com so that you can own your own copy!
I personally use underlining to strengthen the fashion fabric, to prevent show-through or to assist with its natural properties. For example, if I have a fashion fabric that is a little flimsy and/or drapey but I want to use it for a more tailored garment I add an underlining to the fabric to make it a little more stable and sturdier. Or I use underlining in white garments to prevent seam show through. I also use underlining in linen garments to help minimize wrinkling.
Fabrics for underlining can be a variety of fibers...I've used silk organza in linen. I've used cotton batiste in linen and cotton & cotton blends and I've used cotton flannel in wool crepe garments (this was recommended by Sandra Betzina).
Okay the floor is now open. Do others have any additional information to add to the explanation above? Personal observations, tips or fabric suggestions? Maybe a book to recommend for personal sewing libraries?
Finally, make sure that you check in next Thursday because I have a guest blogger answering one of the questions submitted. I thought this person had a better knowledge regarding the question asked and they graciously accepted. So stay tuned for more New Sewists Questions and Answers!