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  • Writer's pictureSusan Woodcock

Linings and Interlinings: Part I

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

If you have ever purchased or sewn custom window treatments you are probably somewhat familiar with linings. Perhaps it was something you knew you needed but you were not sure what type of lining to select, so you relied on the suggestion of a store employee or friend. The lining you selected was probably a fine choice, but it wasn't an informed choice.

I love fabric so I know how exciting it is to choose the perfect fabric for your room; beautiful patterns and textures that coordinate with your other furnishings. Colorful florals, dynamic geometrics, luxurious silks and velvets. So beautiful! And then there are the linings....patternless, colorless and not nearly as exciting.

But linings are more than a sheet of fabric on the back of a curtain! I believe that choosing a lining is just as important as choosing the main face fabric. I get really excited about what linings can do for a window treatment. I am somewhat obsessed with linings - bordering on being a lining guru (or geek). I have been called the "lining lady" by my peers.

There is so much to share but I don't want to be an insufferable sewing bore, so I will keep it short and make this topic a series. Starting with this blog post I will discuss sateen linings, then in future posts I will talk about dim-out and black-out, interlinings and custom lining methods.

Sateen drapery lining

Premium cotton sateen linings from Hanes Fabrics: left to right, Classic Sateen (white) Ruby Plus (black), Ruby Plus (ivory) and Classic Napped Sateen (white).

Sateen: The mainstay of lining materials

The sateen weave is very durable, and has a smooth surface. Be certain to purchase a sateen fabric that is specifically for window treatments and treated for stain and moisture resistance. Sateen linings are available in 100% cotton, or a cotton and polyester blend.

Generally the more expensive the sateen lining, the better the quality. Buying a better quality lining will not break the bank. Linings are a great value and most retail for well under $10 per yard.

Sateen lining alone does not block light but it does filter light, helping to protect the face fabric from damaging sunlight, moisture and stains. Lining your draperies creates better insulation against heat and cold which can help with your heating and cooling bills.

Adding lining to window treatments creates a uniform appearance from the outside of your home. Select a color of lining that matches best to the exterior finishes.

custom drapery with lining

It is amazing how just one layer of sateen lining can make such a difference in your window treatments. The drapery shown (left) has a cotton and linen blend floral face fabric, and is lined with Classic Napped sateen. The napped surface creates a soft and plush lining that enhances the face fabric for a more beautiful drape.

Sateen linings vary in price and quality and there are many to choose from. The lesser priced sateen linings are used for ready-made window coverings and furnishings that will not be at the window like dust ruffle decking and lining.

My favorite sateen linings, from Hanes Fabrics, are available for purchase at many retailers and wholesale distributors:

Classic Sateen - an all-purpose lining for draperies and shades. Durable, long lasting and affordable. There is always a bolt of classic sateen in my workroom. Available in white, ivory, khaki and black.

Ruby Plus Sateen - a thinner lining with a very high thread count which makes it very durable but has a light look and feel when a more airy lining is needed. Available in white, ivory, black, putty and tan.

Classic Napped Sateen - Hanes took a great lining and made it better by creating a brushed or napped surface on one side of the Classic Sateen. This lining has a flannel softness on one side and feels thicker without added weight. If interlining is not being used this lining is the next best thing. Available in white and ivory.

Classic Napped Sateen has been brushed on one side to create a flannel-like surface.


Should polyester linings be used with polyester fabrics and cotton linings with cotton fabrics?

No, you do not need to match the fiber content of the lining with the face fabric. In some cases, the lining and face fabric will repel each other due to the fiber content and weave. Mixing cotton linings with polyester face fabrics will often marry better than using a poly blend lining

Which lining is considered more "high-end", cotton or poly blend?

I prefer cotton linings but that doesn't mean poly blends are not of equal quality. Many of the best workrooms I know are huge fans of poly blend linings. I think it is a personal preference and a choice based on the fabrication techniques and products used by the workroom.

Many lining distributors have different names for the same linings. Why?

It is all about marketing, and creating customer loyalty. If a lining distributor sells you a great product, with excellent customer service you will remember them - and the brand name of the lining you purchased which will make you less likely to shop around, trying to find the same lining elsewhere.

I have spent so much money on the fabric for my draperies, is it really worth it to buy premium linings?

Yes, absolutely! Premium quality lining materials can lengthen the life of your window treatments, and help to prevent fading and stains. When you look at the overall cost of the fabric, hardware, workroom and installation labor, the lining material is just a small fraction of the cost and worth every penny. (I will talk more about light blocking and interlinings in future blog posts).

Learn more about lining materials in Linings and Interlinings: Part II and Lining and Interlinings: Part III of this series.

Best Wishes,

Susan AKA HomeDecGal

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