Re-lining jackets and coats

20 Nov
Ratty linings will not boost your confidence.

Ratty linings will not boost your confidence.

This is my jacket. It’s an old and well-worn thick wool Club Monaco piece that is still in good condition (on the outside), but the lining is worn and torn and looks terrible. Lining is a simplified version of the outside of the coat; it is the fabric that helps the jacket slide over us and keep us comfortable when we wear it. Lining often wears most at the cuffs, at the hem, and under the arms, which is what happened to mine. 

Sometimes I wear it lined with a zip-front sweater (for added warmth and to hide the ratty lining), but I had a good look at it the other day and decided that I am doing myself – and the coat – a disservice. So I went out and bought some new lining fabric to re-line the jacket. 

Lining can add so much to jackets and coats, but we don’t often pay attention to it, unless they are works of art like beautiful Etro or Ted Baker linings that demand attention. In my case, my Club Monaco lining is a plain black and generally unnoticeable. Sometimes, this is okay, but since I now have the opportunity to change it, I’m going for it with plum and navy lining to make it brighter and more fun.

I started taking the Club Monaco jacket apart to make a pattern from the existing lining. While inside, I started to notice the wonderful construction details in the garment. When I was in fashion school, one of my instructors worked for Alfred Sung, founder of Club Monaco. One of the things I remember her saying was that “Alfred is an artist”. Though Polo Ralph Lauren took over Club Monaco in 1999, the tradition of Alfred’s artistic pattern-making remains true.

Having taken apart a Club Monaco dress a few years ago to fit it to me properly (I’m petite and most garments don’t fit me well), I recognized the complex pattern and surprised myself having got the thing back together again. Though my jacket lining is much simpler, there are excellent construction points that make the well-designed jacket sturdy, stable, and well-fit:

  • The sleeve lining is tacked (sewn to a specific point as an anchor) to the side seam of the jacket so it doesn’t slide around;
  • A short length of twill tape (strong woven “string”) is sewn to the shoulder seam and stitched to the lining shoulder seam, giving space for movement and lining stability – I have a jacket without any lining reinforcement, and the silky lining slides around inside of the jacket, making it a bit difficult to wear;
  • Stitching is reinforced at the elbow in the jacket lining, giving extra strength to the well-used sleeve joint;
  • Shoulder and armhole seams are supported with interfacing (inside stiffening material), making for sturdy seams and jacket in general.

We see the macro when we look at clothing, but the micro can be amazing. My jacket was an excellent investment because it is made of good material and it is very well-designed, taking body movement and the movement of the lining into consideration. This makes for an excellent wearing experience.

TIP – Look at the inside of your coats and jackets to see what state they’re in. If the lining is looking ratty/shredded/holey, look into having your garment re-lined and breathe some new life into the garment you invested in.

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2 Responses to “Re-lining jackets and coats”

  1. Nancy Hills November 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    I find relining an old coat or jacket quite satisfying. Nothing better than on old friend rejuvenated. My sleeve linings always seem to take the most beating. I have a couple of coats that I have relined more than once. When I moved to a much colder climate I found relining with insulated lining could do a world of good and besides if the coat is in good condition, good lining will help keep it that way. .

    • Leah Morrigan November 25, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Nancy. I am doing French seams on the sleeve for extra reinforcement (as I continued to take apart the lining, I noticed that the seams were spit at the elbows, so two lines of stitching is good insurance).

      Glad to hear that you thought of using a warmer lining for a cold weather coat – I’ve also done this with a vintage coat that was shredded on the inside. I used a heavy satin with a brushed cotton back. What a difference!

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