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4 Tips on When to Add Pillow Lining

Add lining to embroidered pillow cover

Embroidered Pillow Cover lined with Napped Sateen

After learning some basic sewing how-to’s, finishing a decorative pillow cover should be easy. However, it is all the  design questions that need to be answered (before you start) that can make it tough, so tough that you never did finish it. Time to get it out again and let’s work on it together.

Feel free to ask your questions here and let me share some workroom techniques that will make the job quicker, simpler and more professional looking.  Before I start though, I want to remind you to visit this week’s pillow giveaway.

Q   Katharine at  http://katspurrfectboutique.blogspot.com asked … I want to make a pillow, for my daughter, out of satiny material. What are your suggestions for sewing with that kind of fabric? I usually work with cotton or something like that. The material is black and I’m going to sew or pin fabric roses on top.

A  There’s 4 instances when I almost always line my pillow covers

  1. Light weight and /or silky fabrics.  There are lots of fabulous faux silks on the market at really reasonable prices but without lining the pillow panels it will look and feel like you covered your pillow in Saran Wrap. Lining, particularly a napped sateen is perfect for  silkies as it gives the fabric a luxurious “hand” (feel and weight). Further it will smooth the pillow surface so you don’t see any lumps and bumps from seam finishes underneath.
  2. Light or medium weight fabrics that are going to be embellished with trims, beads, flowers or whatever, should be lined so that the embellishments can be properly anchored without the worry of tearing the delicate face fabric.
  3. No matter what the weight of the fabric is, if I have added machine embroidery or decorative quilting stitches I line the pillow panel(s) to protect the inside threads from premature wearing or tearing when the pillow insert is stuffed in or pulled out.
  4. I upcycle a lot of leather and fur into my decorative pillows and although I sanitize the surfaces by best methods, I still like to line the insides so that the upcycled leather’s previous “history” is locked behind a fresh new layer of fabric. I get a bit creaped out by some of the ‘repurposing’ that I have seen. One other benefit of using lining here is that it helps stabilize and reinforce “old” or deteriorated fabrics.

4 reasons to line pillow covers

Silky red pillow fabric lined with napped sateen

For silky type fabrics I use a heavy napped sateen lining that retails for probably around $10 to $13 a yard (54″ wide”).  Its an “all-in-one” lining and interlining idea but without adding another layer of  interlining (flannel feel). In the other instances, a medium or light weight lining is adequate and is not so bulky which can be important in heavily layered areas such as around the zipper.

Trying to sew a lining on a silky or a satin can get frustrating because one or the other surfaces will slide or pucker under the presser foot so I often “glue baste” the lining to the face fabric first using very small daubs of Rowley’s trim adhesive or other general duty bottle glue or tack stick (not a glue gun!).

Katherine, in your instance I would definitely line the front and back pillow panels with a napped flannel for reasons 1 and 2. If you send my the pillow measurements to my email at pillowthrowdecor(at)gmail(dot) com, I would be pleased to send you the lining for your pillow cover as a thank you for taking the time to comment and asking such a helpful question. Good luck, and remember all of you, I’m here to help with questions so just go ahead and ask in the comments.  Cheers, Christine    More Sewing Pillow Tips

3 comments… add one
  • Katharine June 25, 2010, 9:07 am

    Wow!! I'm so excited about the pillow lining. I'll measure my fabric and email you. Thanks, Katharine from http://katspurrfectboutique.blogspot.com

  • PillowThrowDecor June 25, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I am so please! I really appreciate you sending in your question the other day! Keep them coming.portunity

  • Diana Manister December 16, 2013, 5:13 am

    I use medium weight cotton toile for many of my throw pillows. I would like to line them with a washable fabric. Is napped sateen washable? Should it be washed before being sewed into the pillow?

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