Make a Lining for an A-Line Skirt. Easier Than Making Fudge

It’s almost spring weather here in the mountains. I know because I received the new spring Boden catalog. I’m a Boden fan. They have great quality fabrics, well made garments, fun details and colorful prints. I especially like their a-line cotton skirts. It was the first item I ever bought from them and when I got it I was surprised that it was lined. A simple cotton skirt, lined? Cool.

This season I wasn’t thrilled with the print choices of their a-line skirts so I knew I had to make my own skirts for this summer. Skirts are one of the easiest garments to sew and fit. However finding a pattern for a lined skirt is impossible (except maybe a style designed for wool and as part of a tailored suit).

Why would I want a lined summer skirt? Duh, they look so much better. They drape nice, they wear longer, and you never have to think about bright sun shining through your skirt making shadow puppets out of your legs. (Now, not all summer skirts would look better lined. A casual, drawstring linen skirt would not, for instance, a flowy, full, skirt is another time to go with a single layer).

Here is how I made a lining pattern for my skirt. It really is easy. I used a light weight muslin. I’ve also used batiste before.

This skirt pattern is from the book “Sew Serendipity”. This skirt was my original “muslin” to test for fit. You may notice creases and stay stitching in the photos. This is because it was sewn together first to try on then I took it apart to make the lining.

This skirt is made of six panels. The center back panel of the skirt is actually two pieces to accommodate a zipper closure on the center back seam. Therefore this skirt is actually seven panels. I am making the lining with three pieces; one front piece and two back pieces. The lining will have two side seams and a center back seam.

Lay the skirt back or front (both will have to be done) onto paper. Note the center back and the side back are sewn together already.

The lining will be sewn to the lower edge of the facing not into the waist seam. The pattern for the lining will be the length of the skirt minus the facing.

Using transfer paper and a tracing wheel, trace over the facing’s lower edge seam line. This is also the seam line for the upper edge of the lining.

Moving around all the edges of the skirt, trace off onto the paper.

I don’t like the lining showing out under the skirt so I cut it one inch above the skirt’s lower edge. Just place a see through ruler one inch into the skirt and use it to guide the tracing wheel.

Add a half inch seam allowance (or whatever amount your skirt pattern is using) to the top edge of the lining pattern you just traced.

Label you new pattern piece. You want to include the grain line, name of pattern if applicable (like Butterick #5555), what it is (skirt side panel or front facing), how many to cut (cut 1 or cut 4 or cut 1 on fold), what to cut it out of if other than the garment fabric (cut 2 – interfacing), and what your seam allowance is (SA 5/8″ or SA 1/2″). If sewing for someone else include their name and size or date.

Pattern making done. Sewing starts. Sew the lower edge of the skirt front facing to the top edge of the skirt front lining.

Iron your stitches in the opposite direction that you sewed them with the two pieces still laid face to face. Then open up the facing and the lining, clip the seam allowance at the curves and press seam allowance toward facing. Where it pulls, clip in the seam allowance to release the tension.

Sew the back skirt facing pieces to the back skirt lining pieces. Iron and clip seam allowances just as you did to the front piece.

Edge stitch the lower edge of the facing, catching both layers of the seam allowance underneath.

Sew the center back seam from the marking where the bottom of the zipper lies to the hem. Above the marking press the seam allowance back as if you had sewn it together. This will be hand stitch down around the zipper.

You now have a skirt front and a skirt back which you now sew together at the side seams. Don’t forget to iron your seams and press the seam allowances open.

Pin the facing/lining to the skirt at the waist seam. Lining up the side seams and center front. Stitch together, iron and clip the seam allowance where needed. (Wherever the fabric shows a little pull or won’t lay flat on the outside is a sign that the fabric in the seam allowance is under tension. Clipping to the stitch line – but not through the stitch line – will relieve that tension and let the garment lay flat and look beautiful.)

Turn lining to inside of skirt. Press. Top stitch around upper edge (contrasting or accent thread color?). Turn under the lower edge of lining onto itself to hem by machine.

Voila! It looks almost as good inside out.

Any questions on making a lining for your skirt, please ask.

Oh, and here is the skirt right side out;

And the skirt that the above was a “muslin” for;




10 Comments on Make a Lining for an A-Line Skirt. Easier Than Making Fudge

  1. Anne
    July 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post! Thank you! We would like to see the skirt right-side out too sometime.

    • mary
      July 4, 2013 at 4:22 am (4 years ago)

      I’m happy you liked the post. I’ve uploaded a photo of the skirt right side out (worn and washed many times now so it has relaxed) and the skirt I made the brown skirt as a “test” or “muslin” for. The pattern was from the book “Sew Serendipity”. I haven’t worn the blue skirt yet. I’m not confident I’m a ruffle type of girl. It’s lined too, of course.
      Happy sewing,

  2. Yvonne
    July 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks so much! Wonderful job and great written and visual detail.

    • mary
      July 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the feedback. I hope it was helpful and that all your skirts are now lined 😉 Not really, that’s too much work.

  3. Janet
    July 26, 2014 at 1:54 am (3 years ago)

    Hi! Thx for the lesson. It’s just what I was looking for. I am making a summer cotton skirt (sew serendipity Emiline) that gathers at a yolk. How do I line it? With an A line lining? Thx again!

    • Mary Earle-Sigler
      July 26, 2014 at 5:46 am (3 years ago)

      Hello Janet,
      I would cut from a lining fabric (a cotton lawn in a color that goes with your skirt or a thin muslin) another skirt front and skirt back. You can sew the lining together at the side seams, gather the top and insert into the yoke and yoke facing with the skirt but I think it would lay flatter at the gathers if you basted the lining pieces to the skirt pieces at the top (the seam that goes into the yoke) Maybe baste them together with the gathering stitch. The side seams of the lining can be sewn in with the side seams of the skirt or sewn separately so the lining hangs loose.

      Also I would make the lining an inch or so shorter then the skirt so it never “peek-a-boos” out from under the hem.

      Do you think this approach might work? I’m just thinking off the top of my head. If it’s more complicated, or if I’m picturing it all wrong feel free to send me a picture. I love these kind of puzzles (I also like Sudoku).
      Hope it helps and thanks for reading the blog.

      • Janet
        July 26, 2014 at 7:51 am (3 years ago)

        Hi! Thx for your quick reply! I think it will work. I will stitch the sides to the skirt, and separately stitch the sides to the lining. Then I’ll pin, baste and gather the skirt and lining together (like 2 tubes) as one piece. Then I’ll attach to the yoke. Then I guess the zipper goes in after that, would you think?

        • Mary Earle-Sigler
          July 27, 2014 at 1:00 am (3 years ago)

          I think you have a good plan.
          Many times the lining/facing is flipped out where it attaches at the waist and the zipper is first sewn only to the outer skirt. Then the lining is flipped back into the skirt. The lining’s seam allowance around the zipper is folded under and the lining is hand basted to the back of the zipper tape making it all tidy around the zipper.

          If your skirt has a deep yolk where the zipper is then your zipper is sandwiched between the yolk and the yolk facing, which would make your lining method super easy and the way to go for sure.
          I don’t think you’ll have any problems figuring out the zipper. If you haven’t already, read all the way through the pattern instructions before you go further just in case there are surprises up ahead.

  4. YveeB
    February 22, 2015 at 3:22 pm (2 years ago)

    after nearly breaking my head trying to work out how to attach the facing to the lining on a skirt I am sewing (the instructions are poor), I found your tutorial. Thanks so much! Now I got it and I can carry on with my skirt.

    • Mary Earle-Sigler
      February 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Really glad you found the post helpful and congratulations on getting your skirt closer to wearable.


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