Twenty years ago the biggest decisions about which lining to use were whether it would be white or ivory and whether 48-inch wide or 54-inch wide was required. Now there are many choices and many combinations. And you guessed it! There is no one perfect lining.
While I have not had a working workroom for several years, I do keep my ear tuned
to the Internet e-mail lists. I have to admit that names of linings went in one
ear and out the other until last spring. I was contemplating doing extensive
research into linings when Hanes Industries asked me if I would help them with
their seminar on high-end linings at the Baltimore show. They wanted me there
to answer technical questions, and I wanted an education in lining. It was a
great arrangement to be able to use such a variety of their linings to make samples.
I was deliberately not comparing its products to any other companyís linings
because all I was interested in was the technical side of fabrication and fiber
content. And did I get an education!
A NAME DOES NOT A LINING MAKE
The first thing you need to know is that many vendors who purchase from Hanes
or Rockland or any other mill or importer change the names of the linings. That
means if you ask on an Internet e-mail list which lining the members prefer,
you will likely get many answers depending upon which vendor is being used. All
could be speaking about the same lining and never know it.
Yes, the myriad names are confusing, but it is a method of marketing. The good
thing is that the name is not what matters the most. What matters is how well
the linings work with your fabrics and how well they please your customers. They
know nothing about linings until you educate them. There is nothing to keep you
from trying different linings and different vendors, and you can always ask your
vendors what mill a particular lining comes from.
LINING IS MORE THAN PROTECTION
There are many reasons to use linings and Iím sure you have heard them
all. However, now is the time to pay particular attention to the status of certain
In many parts of the country, putty or khaki colored linings are being used.
Some customers even ask for it because people passing by their homes will know
that they have custom window treatments by the unique color of the linings. Hanes
even has a very nice blackout lining that is this color.
BASIC LINING CHARACTERISTICS
Every job presents its own set of lining requirements, and many things need to
be considered before deciding on the correct lining for each job. Here are just
a few things to consider about linings.
1. Weight: The thinner a lining is, the less protection it will offer from sun
damage. When the main part of a liningís job is to protect the face fabric,
this is a major consideration.
2. Hand: Linings often are chosen because their draping ability is similar to
the face fabricís. You arenít likely to want to use a very stiff
lining with a very fluid face fabric. The two will work against each other and
not ďmarryĒ well.
3. Color: The color of the lining can definitely affect the color of the face
fabric when sunlight is shining through it. More than once, I replaced a job
because the sun caused the ivory lining to yellow the face fabric. White is definitely
a safer color, but I also found that a thin ivory lining might not have the yellowing
4. Fiber content: This is where you must understand fibers and all their characteristics.
Many professionals insist you must match the lining fiber with the face fabric.
Maybe and maybe not. You must consider whether the treatments will ever be cleaned,
the amount of humidity in the permanent environment, and the fabrication process.
Except for polyester, every other drapery fiber likely will shrink to some extent
from humidity and dry cleaning. Polyester will not be affected by the humidity,
but you donít ever want to put a hot iron on it or on a poly/rayon blend.
Talk about uneven shrinkage! By the way, if you use a Teflon shoe on your iron,
you likely will not have this happen.
Back when I owned a workroom, if interlining was called for, we only had one
or two choices at the most of interlining. It was a flannel much like what pajamas
were made out of. Now we have at least three weights/thicknesses of ďAmericanĒ interlinings;
bump, which is heavier and is imported from the UK; and a very heavy table felt
that doesnít have quite as much drapeablility.
Interlinings are very popular right now and not just in the high-end market.
I made up samples using all but a medium-weight interlining. Much to my surprise,
I really did like the table felt when used with a dupioni silk.
Many of you may not have heard of this term. I learned about it from my faithful
e-mail lists. It is a technique and not a fabric. It is used where blackout quality
is needed but where the stiffness of the blackout fabric is not desirable.
It consists of the face fabric backed by interlining, which is backed by black
lining (Hanes Ruby Plus is often mentioned by workrooms) and then regular lining
on the back (see photograph). This makes four layers of fabric. Can you see the
dollar signs ringing up?
Blackout linings have come a long way since I first started working with them.
Iíll never forget using one that was like a very stiff vinyl! Count your
lucky stars you have really nice stuff that has a reasonable hand to it to work
One of the issues with blackout lining is the fact that whenever you put pins
or needles through it, there will be holes through which the sun will shine!
This is most accentuated when sewing rings on Roman shades with a zigzag machine.
To try to determine the best solution for this problem, I made two sample shades.
One had three different blackout linings. The linings were the more economical
Eclipse, Outblack (the same as Angel Industriesí Belle Notte) and Sentinel.
In our seminar, a light was put behind this shade and there was still light coming
through the machine-stitched rings. When I tested it myself over the light in
my table with no other lights on, it appeared that the Sentinel showed the holes
the least, but only slightly less than Outblack.
The second sample had Outblack as the lining and was interlined with bump on
one side and heavy interlining on the other. Both blocked the light better than
just blackout lining but the heavy interlining dimmed the light better than the
You also must be aware that at least one vendor is offering blackout lining with
batting already adhered to it to equal a one-piece interlined blackout fabric.
I have not yet made up a sample of it to compare.
Please realize that as you use linings that weigh more than others and as you
use more layers, the weight of the panel can rise dramatically. Just for the
heck of it, I weighed some of the sample panels. Keep in mind I do not have a
digital scale, so these are rough measurements. All panels were one width wide
by 36 inches long.
A panel of very lightweight polyester and standard drapery lining weighed about
one pound. A panel of silk taffeta, Ruby Plus black lining, heavy interlining
and a heavier regular lining weighed about two to two and a half pounds. A panel
of silk dupioni, bump and Outblack lining weighed two and a half to three pounds!
Think about it. Besides extra layers in interlined panels requiring more construction
time, the real weight of the panel rises too. This not only takes more wear and
tear on your body and slows down the fabrication process, but the hardware used
for the draperies must be sturdy enough to support them. I also discovered that
as I added layers, my fabrication techniques sometimes needed to change. The
fabrication value (dollars) kept going up!
THE POWER OF TOUCH
As I worked with all the samples I did for the Hanes seminar, I couldnít
help but be aware of the difference it made in feeling the various linings and
interlinings as I dressed the panels into folds. I strongly suggest if you want
to start selling more interlinings that you make up some samples and let your
customer feel the difference. Eyes just canít see what the fingers can
TIP OF THE ICEBERG
This article is not an endorsement for any particular company or product. I had
an educational opportunity that I wanted to share with you. Also, this article
is by no means a comprehensive study of lining. I learned far more about the
linings and the fabrication of the layers than I could ever put into one article.
The important thing is to get you thinking about what linings you want to offer
your customers and why. It is also important that you understand that you must
raise your prices as you start adding layers of linings.
Once again, you need to ask yourself if you really want to add those layers.
The best way to answer that question is to make a few samples. Why not call your
vendor right now and order short yardage of some new linings to play with. What
better way to educate yourself and your clients?
PS. Thank you, Hanes Industries, for allowing me to learn so much!
Stein, CWP, WCAA past board member, is a 26-year veteran of the drapery
workroom industry. Having owned drapery workrooms
as one person and as a company of nine, she is now president of Workroom
Concepts a consulting firm offering educational resources to the
industry on its Web site (
www.workroomconcepts.com ). Her experience
in both the retail and wholesale window covering arenas has contributed
to her success as a business consultant. A professional speaker and
writer, she has authored several industry products including Order
in the Workroom, The Price List, Workroom Specifications and Price
Your Work with Confidence, available