I knew it was time to replace the lining of my coat when I stood in the pouring rain outside my door and, fishing for the keys, realized that they’d slipped through a hole in the pocket to end up swimming in the hem somewhere
1 Unpicking the old lining:
Using the seam ripper to remove the old lining isn’t the careful, slow process it would have to be if you were unpicking a mistake that you had to re-sew. A slapdash slash will suffice and you’ll be done in 30-60 minutes.
Tip: once the lining is off, you may discover that the inside of the coat has deposits of fluff, dust, grains of sand from historic visits to the seaside: all kinds of rubbish that dry cleaning didn’t expel. Give it a vigorous beating, followed by a going-over with a lint roller. Then, press seams open if they’ve flipped, fix shoulder pads in place and carry out little satisfying bits of maintenance that will help keep the coat in shape.
2 Creating the Pattern
Unpick the pieces that make up the lining, press them and you have a template for the new lining, seam allowances included. You only really need to do one half, i.e. one sleeve. Pick the pieces that are in better condition, usually the left side if you’re right handed. Unless your lining is complete coleslaw, you’ll be surprised how even the more destroyed-looking pieces look fine once pressed. But (tip) do leave your iron on a low heat or else the lining will melt onto it
No need to finish off the seams when sewing the lining together: just press flat (to get rid of any puckers) then press open.
Further Tips from an Observant Newbie:
The pockets will be the first bits that you’ll sew. If you’re new to tailoring (like me , unpick only one pocket to begin with. Make new pocket pieces and use the original to copy from.
Bagging a Lining
Until I asked for your help at the start of the month (thanks for your comments!), I had no idea that this is the name of the easy method of attaching the lining to a garment. Jen of Grainline has a clear and well illustrated bagging tutorial here but there are others. My favourite bagging tip is to sew the garment and lining together inside out then slash open the underarm sleeve and turn garment right side out through the hole. This way, you have two perfectly pressed edges to slipstitch closed. This is a trick I’m going to apply on everything lined!
I’ve heard a few complaints that there isn’t enough choice in lining fabrics. We dream of silks in interesting patterns then find that they wouldn’t go with the clothes we wear under the lined garment. Silk is in any case expensive and not durable enough for an everyday coat worn under a heavy bag. Acetate is cheaper but snags and can be sweaty. I took this complaint to Jeff and he immediately offered me Cupro: again, a new discovery. It cost £8 a metre and I needed 1.5m though would recommend 2m. Cupro is tougher than acetate, it’s apparently breathable and I found it easy to sew. More on Cupro and an interesting discussion on lining fabrics in men’s suiting can be found here.
And in case you’re wondering, yes I probably will be wearing my coat this summer