Developing a custom pattern. Part two: the lining.

I’m sure you’ve been hanging out to see how I develop a lining pattern for the modified Simplicity dress, right? :) Well, here it is.

Last time I showed you a personal block modifications to develop a pattern design similar to Simplicity 2550.

Today I’ll show you how I developed a lining pattern for this garment.

The dress I need to line is sleeveless, has a centre back zip, back skirt vent and no facings.
The plan is to make the lining as seam free as possible.

And so, I take the base pattern of the dress, before I cut it horizontally. Since the shell’s skirt has pleats and therefore a lot of hip ease, I’d like to make sure that the lining is also comfortable, so I add total of 4 cm of ease at the hips.

Then, I transfer the bust dart into the side seam and turn it into a pleat – the less sewing the better.

extra ease

After which I shave off 3 mm from each side of the shoulder to avoid the lining bunching up inside the dress (also known as a turn of the cloth).

turn of cloth

Next thing I do is add some slack at CB seam.

I cut the pattern horizontally and open it by 0.5 cm at the CB seam between the zip notch and the vent, then smooth it over.

I started doing this after I noticed that the lining (being lighter than the shell) tends to ease in a bit at the zip and reduce in length. This creates a serious problem if you need to line the vent using the method I’m using, because the lining is sewn to the shell at the vent, which requires a great deal of precision. If the lining is even a tiny bit too short, it pulls the shell up, creating a very nasty looking fold on the outside. I’d rather have a tiny bit of slack than not enough.


Now this is finished, I can work on the zip area.

I mark two points – one 4 cm above the zip notch and another 1 cm below it. The seam allowance will be added gradually, starting from the upper point and up to the full width by the zip notch.

If you are familiar with this method of zip insertion, then you know why I don’t add seam allowances for the zip. The lower notch (the one below the zip notch) shows you when to stop sewing the CB on your lining, so the zip’s pull doesn’t disappear between the shell and the lining.


The vent is going to be lined using method described here.

This method is much harder than any others, because:

  • right and left backs are different, and you have to be absolutely sure which one goes where at all times
  • …which means you can’t cut the fabric on fold
  • it requires some serious precision sewing

vent lining


However, all of the issues above will be outweighed by the impressive end result.

Lined vent

And finally, I add seam allowances and hem, planning to use a simple double fold to finish it.

The lining should be about 2 cm shorter than the finished length of the shell, but this is something you can adjust to your liking.

And here it is! the finished dress, ready to go.

Finished dress

Lena Merrin
Lena Merrin

A dressmaker of many years, I enjoy drafting patterns and create custom garments.