Linings and Interlinings: Part III
Updated: May 3
In Parts I and II of this topic, I covered sateen, dimout and blackout linings, which are the linings you see from the outside. (See Linings and Interlinings Part I and Linings and Interlinings Part II). What about the lining on the inside? Yes, lining on the inside or interlining, an added layer of material that can serve several different purposes.
The most common interlining is flannel. Flannel is a cotton, napped fabric available in white, natural and in different weights. When a layer of flannel interlining is added between the main fabric and outer lining, it creates a softer look, and improved insulation.
Adding flannel interlining does not block light, but it does help to diffuse light. If the main fabric is a light color, a white flannel interlining is recommended so that the light shining through the linings will not discolor the main fabric facing into the room.
Flannel is not just used as an interlining in window treatments. Adding a layer of flannel can add body to thin fabrics for all soft furnishings like pillows, cushions and dust ruffles.
The heaviest of interlinings, bump adds a blanket-like layer which is especially popular for silk draperies. Adding a layer of bump creates a drapery with rounded, soft edges and deep folds. It is more sculptural, elegant and makes a statement.
Another interlining similar to bump, but not as heavy is Domette, a mid-weight twill interlining. Even though Domette is a beautiful interlining and works up well for drapery making. It is less commonly used in the United States.
Interlining for Blackout
Flannel and bump are not the only materials added in-between the face and lining fabric. Blackout lining can be used as an interlining to prevent colors from showing through to the face fabric, and it also adds structure. You will see a 3-pass blackout used in soft cornices and other top treatments, and draperies with color lining.
But not everyone wants blackout and light can wash out the face fabric colors. To enhance the color of your fabric, a color sateen can be used as an interlining. For example; a red silk can look washed out when light shines through but by adding a red color sateen as an interlining, with or without flannel, you can boost the color and still have some light showing through.
One of my favorite interlining techniques is the French blackout method which layers face fabric, flannel or bump, black sateen and the outer sateen in white, ivory or khaki. This creates a blackout window treatment that is soft and luxurious. Pin holes of light are less noticeable with French blackout because the weave of the fabrics is more forgiving than the acrylic foam coating used on typical blackout linings.
The photos below show how the fabrics are layered. I am using a light box to show how effective this method is!
Top left: Black sateen is layered between white sateen lining and white flannel interlining
Top right: Impressive light blocking!
Bottom left: Flannel interlining completes French blackout by blocking more light, and preventing the black sateen from graying the face fabric.
Bottom right: Silk fabric does not show any light bleed with the layers below.
I have used French blackout for white background fabrics, like the floral chintz below and it worked perfectly. I would not recommend using French blackout on an open weave fabric. It is always a good idea to do a light test before making and lining decisions.
This bedroom was featured in the book Window Dressings by Brian Coleman (Gibbs Smith 2011). I hope this series on linings and interlinings has been helpful for you. Let me know if you try any of these lining techniques!
Susan Woodcock AKA Home Dec Gal