A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

Here is a step-by-step guide to lining a wrap dress:

  1. Cut out the lining fabric using the same pattern pieces as the outer fabric.
  2. Sew the darts on the lining fabric, if applicable.
  3. Sew the shoulder seams of the lining fabric together.
  4. Place the lining fabric and outer fabric right sides together and pin along the neckline and armholes.
  5. Sew the neckline and armholes together, leaving the side seams open.
  6. Turn the dress right side out and press the seams.
  7. Pin the side seams of the lining fabric together and sew them together, leaving a gap of a few inches at the waistline.
  8. Pin the side seams of the outer fabric together and sew them together.
  9. Turn the dress right side out through the gap in the lining.
  10. Sew the gap in the lining closed by hand or machine.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

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Choosing the Suitable Lining Fabric

When it comes to lining a wrap dress, choosing the right fabric is crucial for achieving the desired look and functionality. The lining fabric should be lightweight and have a good drape to complement the outer fabric of the dress. It should also have the ability to breathe, ensuring comfort while wearing the dress. Additionally, considering the color of the lining is important to ensure it complements or enhances the overall look of the dress.

Consider the Desired Look and Drape

The lining fabric you choose should be able to mimic the drape of the outer fabric. This means that if your wrap dress has a flowy and lightweight fabric, the lining fabric should be chosen accordingly. Opt for materials such as silk, rayon, or polyester blends, which have a soft and smooth texture that allows the dress to drape elegantly. The goal is to create a seamless flow between the outer fabric and the lining.

Select the Right Fiber Content

Another essential factor to consider when choosing lining fabric is the fiber content. Different fibers have different properties and can affect the breathability, durability, and overall performance of the lining. Natural fibers like silk and cotton are breathable and comfortable to wear, but they may be more prone to wrinkles. Synthetic fibers like polyester and rayon are more durable and resistant to wrinkling, making them great choices for lining fabrics. Consider the characteristics of each fiber and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Ensure the Lining is Breathable

Breathability is an important factor to keep in mind when selecting a lining fabric for your wrap dress. Since the lining will be in direct contact with your skin, it’s essential to choose a fabric that allows air to circulate and prevents discomfort from excessive sweating. Fabrics like silk, cotton, and rayon are known for their breathability, making them excellent choices for lining materials. Avoid fabrics that are too heavy or restrictive, as they can trap heat and cause discomfort.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

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Take Color into Account

While the lining may not be visible when the dress is worn, choosing the right color is still important. The color of the lining should complement the outer fabric and enhance the overall look of the dress. Opt for a lining color that matches or coordinates with the main fabric. Alternatively, choose a nude or skin-toned lining fabric that will blend seamlessly with your skin, preventing any color from showing through the outer fabric.

Gathering the Materials

To start lining your wrap dress, gather all the necessary materials you’ll need for the project. Having everything on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient.

The materials you’ll need include:

  • Lining Fabric: Choose a suitable fabric based on the considerations mentioned earlier.
  • Scissors: High-quality scissors are essential for precision cutting of the lining fabric.
  • Pins: Use pins to hold the fabric in place during the sewing process.
  • Sewing Machine: A sewing machine will make sewing the lining much faster and easier.
  • Thread: Make sure to have a thread that matches or blends with the lining fabric.
  • Measuring Tape: Measure accurately to ensure the lining pieces fit perfectly.
  • Iron: An iron is necessary for pressing the seams and hems, giving your dress a professional finish.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

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Preparing the Pattern and Cutting the Fabric

Before you start sewing the lining, it’s important to prepare the pattern and cut the fabric accordingly.

Follow these steps to ensure you have the right pieces ready:

Trace the Dress Pattern onto the Lining Fabric

Lay out the lining fabric on a flat surface and place the dress pattern on top. Secure the pattern in place with pins or weights. Using tailor’s chalk or a washable fabric marker, carefully trace the outline of each pattern piece onto the lining fabric. Take your time to ensure accuracy, as any mistakes here will affect the fit of the lining.

Add Seam Allowance to the Lining

Once you have traced all the pattern pieces, add seam allowance to each piece. The usual seam allowance is ⅝ inch, but double-check your dress pattern to confirm the recommended seam allowance. Use a ruler and fabric marker to mark the seam allowance around each piece. This will ensure that your lining pieces are slightly larger than the outer fabric, allowing for easy assembly later on.

Cut Out the Lining Pieces

Using sharp scissors, carefully cut along the marked lines to cut out the lining pieces. Take your time and make clean, accurate cuts to ensure the pieces match the pattern exactly. It’s important to cut the lining fabric accurately, as any discrepancies can affect the fit and overall appearance of the dress.

Sewing the Lining Pieces

Now that you have prepared the lining fabric, it’s time to sew the lining pieces together. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and professional finish:

Prepare the Front Bodice Lining

Start by sewing the front bodice lining pieces together. Place the pieces right sides together, aligning the edges with the marked seam allowance. Pin the pieces in place, ensuring they stay aligned during sewing. Use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to sew along the pinned edges. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams to secure the stitches. Once sewn, press the seams open with an iron for a neat finish.

Attach the Front Bodice Lining to the Dress

Now that the front bodice lining is ready, it’s time to attach it to the dress. Place the front bodice lining inside the front bodice of the dress, aligning the raw edges. Pin the lining in place, ensuring that it lays flat and doesn’t pucker. Sew the lining to the dress using a straight stitch, sewing close to the edge of the lining fabric. Once attached, press the seam towards the lining and away from the dress.

Prepare the Back Bodice Lining

Follow the same process as the front bodice to sew and attach the back bodice lining pieces. Sew the lining pieces together, press the seams open, and then attach the lining to the back bodice of the dress. The procedure will be similar to the front bodice, ensuring the raw edges are aligned and sewing close to the edge of the lining fabric.

Attach the Back Bodice Lining to the Dress

After the back bodice lining is attached, it’s time to assemble the front and back bodice of the dress. Place the front bodice and back bodice together, with right sides facing each other. Pin the side seams and shoulder seams together, making sure the lining pieces align properly. Sew the seams using a straight stitch and press the seams open for a clean finish.

Prepare the Skirt Lining

Moving on to the skirt portion of the dress, sew the lining pieces together, just as you did with the bodice lining pieces. Press the seams open and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a proper fit. The skirt lining should mirror the shape and construction of the outer skirt.

Attach the Skirt Lining to the Dress

With the skirt lining ready, attach it to the main skirt of the dress. Place the skirt lining inside the skirt, aligning the raw edges. Pin the lining in place, making sure it lays flat and doesn’t pull. Sew along the pinned edges, attaching the lining to the skirt. Press the seam towards the lining.

Finishing Touches: Hemming and Pressing

To complete the lining process, it’s important to finish the hem of the dress. Turn up the hem of the dress and lining to the desired length, and pin the hem in place. Use a straight stitch to sew the hem, ensuring that the stitches are even and secure. After hemming, give the dress a final press using an iron, making sure to press all the seams and hems. This will give your lined wrap dress a polished and professional look.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

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Tips and Tricks

To achieve the best result when lining a wrap dress, consider these helpful tips and tricks:

Use French Seams for a Neat Finish

French seams are a great option for creating a clean and professional finish when lining a dress. Unlike regular seams, French seams encase the raw edges within the seam allowance, resulting in a neat and durable seam. This technique is especially useful for lightweight and sheer fabrics, preventing any fraying or visible raw edges.

Staystitch the Curves

Staystitching is a simple but effective technique that helps stabilize curved areas of the dress. Before attaching the lining to the dress, sew a line of straight stitches just inside the seam allowance along any curved edges. This will help prevent the fabric from stretching or distorting during the sewing process, ensuring a better fit.

Don’t Skip the Basting Step

Basting, or temporary stitching, is an important step in ensuring the lining and dress fit perfectly together. Before sewing the lining to the dress, baste the pieces together using long, wide stitches. This allows you to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments before committing to a permanent seam. Basting provides a chance to spot any issues and correct them before sewing the final seam.

Check the Fit of the Lining Regularly During Sewing

As you sew the lining pieces together and attach them to the dress, it’s important to check the fit regularly. Put the dress on inside out and check that the lining lies smoothly against your body without any wrinkles or tight spots. Adjust as needed to ensure a comfortable and flattering fit. Taking the time to check the fit throughout the process will save you from potential disappointment or alteration once the dress is complete.

Press Seams and Hems Properly

Pressing is a crucial step in creating a professional-looking lined dress. After sewing each seam, use an iron to press the seams open, ensuring they lay flat and look neat. When hemming the dress, press the hem up along the desired length before sewing. Pressing not only gives your dress a polished appearance but also helps the fabric and lining maintain their shape over time.

Consider Using a Facing Instead of a Lining

While lining a wrap dress provides a variety of advantages, another option to consider is using a facing instead. A facing is a separate piece of fabric that is attached to the edges of the dress to finish them off neatly. This technique is commonly used on necklines and armholes. Using a facing can be a good alternative for those who prefer a lighter weight garment or want to save time and effort compared to a full lining.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure the best results when lining a wrap dress, be mindful of these common mistakes and pitfalls:

Choosing the Wrong Lining Fabric

One of the most significant mistakes you can make is selecting the wrong type of lining fabric. It’s essential to consider the weight, drape, and breathability of the fabric, as well as its compatibility with the main fabric. Choosing a lining fabric that is too heavy or does not match the characteristics of the main fabric can lead to an ill-fitting or uncomfortable garment.

Neglecting to Adjust the Pattern for Lining

When lining a dress, it’s important to adjust the original pattern to accommodate the additional layers of fabric. Failure to do so can result in the lining being too tight or bunching up within the dress. Take the time to add seam allowances and make any necessary alterations to ensure a proper fit for both the outer fabric and lining.

Skipping Important Sewing Steps

Following the proper sequence of sewing steps is crucial when lining a dress. Skipping or rushing through important steps, such as basting or pressing, can result in a subpar finish and compromise the overall fit and appearance of the dress. Take the time to follow the instructions carefully and complete each step thoroughly for the best results.

Not Pressing Seams and Hems Adequately

Pressing seams and hems is not a step to be skipped or rushed. Neglecting to press the seams open and the hems properly can result in a sloppy-looking lined dress. Pressing helps create crisp, professional-looking seams and gives the lining and outer fabric a polished finish. Take the time to press each seam and hem with an iron before moving on to the next step.

Failing to Check the Fit of the Lining

A common mistake when lining a wrap dress is not checking the fit of the lining as you sew. Failing to check the fit regularly can result in a lining that is too tight, too loose, or does not lay smoothly against the body. Take the time to try on the dress inside out and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable and flattering fit.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Lining a Wrap Dress

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Advantages of Lining a Wrap Dress

Lining a wrap dress offers a range of benefits and advantages, including:

Enhances the Overall Look and Feel

Lining a wrap dress can enhance the overall appearance and feel of the garment. It gives the dress a more polished and high-quality look, especially when using a lining fabric that complements or enhances the main fabric. Lining can add structure and richness to the dress, making it look more expensive and well-made.

Provides Support and Structure

A lined wrap dress provides additional support and structure to the garment. The lining helps maintain the shape of the dress, preventing it from sagging or losing its silhouette. This is particularly useful for lightweight or loosely woven fabrics that may lack structure on their own.

Increases Durability

By adding a lining to a wrap dress, you can increase its durability and longevity. The lining protects the main fabric from excess wear and tear, extending the life of the dress. It also helps prevent seams from stretching or tearing, ensuring that the dress withstands regular wear and washing.

Prevents Transparency Issues

Lining is an effective solution for preventing transparency issues in a wrap dress. Some fabrics, particularly light-colored or sheer fabrics, can be prone to being see-through or revealing under certain lighting conditions. A well-chosen lining fabric can provide an extra layer of coverage, preventing transparency and giving you confidence while wearing the dress.

Offers Comfort

A lined wrap dress can offer improved comfort compared to an unlined one. The lining creates a barrier between your skin and the outer fabric, reducing any potential itchiness or irritation. Additionally, the breathability of the lining fabric ensures a more comfortable wearing experience, especially in warmer weather.

Disadvantages of Lining a Wrap Dress

While lining a wrap dress offers numerous benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:

Adds Extra Time and Effort to the Sewing Process

Lining a wrap dress requires additional time and effort compared to leaving it unlined. You need to cut and sew separate lining pieces, match them to the dress, and attach them accurately. This extra work may not be ideal if you’re looking for a quick and straightforward sewing project.

Increases the Complexity of the Project

Lining a wrap dress adds complexity to the sewing project, particularly if you’re a beginner or new to working with linings. It involves understanding and executing additional sewing techniques, such as attaching facings, sewing French seams, and adjusting patterns. Consider your sewing skills and experience level before deciding to line a wrap dress.

May Add Bulk to the Dress

Lining a dress can add bulk to the overall garment. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re working with a fabric that is already bulky or has a lot of volume. The added layers of fabric can affect the way the dress falls and moves, potentially altering the original intended design.

Requires Additional Fabric

Lining a wrap dress requires purchasing additional fabric specifically for lining purposes. This means additional cost in terms of fabric and potentially increased yardage if you need enough fabric to line the entire dress. Take this into account when budgeting for your sewing project.

Alternative Options to Lining

If you’re looking for alternative options to lining a wrap dress, consider the following alternatives:

Using a Slip Underneath

One option is to wear a slip underneath the wrap dress to provide extra coverage and prevent transparency issues. A slip can be a practical solution, particularly for lightweight or sheer fabrics. Choose a slip that matches the style and silhouette of the dress to ensure a seamless and comfortable fit.

Adding a Partial Lining

Instead of lining the entire dress, you can opt for a partial lining. This means only lining specific areas, such as the bodice or skirt. This can be a suitable choice if you want some of the advantages of lining while reducing the complexity and bulk of the dress. A partial lining can be especially helpful if you’re working with a fabric that is already heavyweight or doesn’t require full coverage.

Opting for a Double-Facing

A double-facing is an alternative option that works well for fabrics that can show the wrong side, such as scarves or lightweight cardigans. It involves using a second layer of fabric for the facings, which creates a clean and polished look when the wrong side is exposed. Consider using this technique to add a finishing touch to the edges of the wrap dress without the need for a full lining.

Using Bias Binding to Finish Seams

Another option is to use bias binding to finish the seams of the dress. Bias binding is a narrow strip of fabric that is folded and used to enclose raw edges. It provides a clean and structured finish while reducing the bulk of a full lining. This technique is commonly used in the construction of garments like skirts or tops.


Lining a wrap dress can greatly enhance its overall appearance, provide added support and durability, and prevent transparency issues. By carefully selecting the suitable lining fabric, preparing the pattern and cutting the fabric accurately, and following the step-by-step sewing process, you can achieve a professional and polished finish. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of lining a wrap dress, and if lining is not the right option for your project, explore alternative options such as using a slip, adding a partial lining, opting for a double-facing, or finishing seams with bias binding. With proper planning and attention to detail, you can create a beautifully lined wrap dress that fits and flatters you perfectly.