Lined vent sew-along: Sewing the lining to the shell

Today’s sewing is the most complicated part so let’s take it slow and steady with plenty of photographs. I’ll also do my best to answer any questions you have. By now you should have your shell sewn up, lining back pieces drafted and sewn up and gone as far as possible your order of construction for your dress or skirt.

1. First lay out your shell with the wrong side of the back pieces facing up. To the right of your shell fabric lay out your lining with the wrong side of the back pieces facing up. (If you’ve had to sew your neckline/waistband already, place your garment with the right side of the shell facing you and for the next steps the part of the lining and shell that will be sewn together will be already adjacent to eachother so you just need to roll the edges back on themselves in order to pin right sides together.)

Lined Vent 28

2. With your left hand pick up the side of the shell vent that is hidden and with your right hand pick up the right lining vent (the smaller piece).

Lined Vent 29

Bring your hands closer to each other to place right sides of the fabric together. Pin along the straight part of the vent extension matching the notch that we marked two inches below the diagonal.

Lined Vent 30

3. Sew from as close to end of the diagonal seam as possible towards the hem.

Lined Vent 31

It should look something like this…

Lined Vent 32

and on the other side…

Lined Vent 33

4. Press this seam open and press the seam allowances toward the lining.

5. Bring the left lining piece (the larger one) up and around allowing the lining to fold at the centre seam. This positions the right lining piece (the larger one) close to the upper most shell vent extension.

Lined Vent 34

Pin these right sides together aligning the notches.

Lined Vent 35

6. Sew from as close to the vent diagonal as possible towards the hem.

Lined Vent 36

7. First press the lining away from the shell on the right side. Then bring the lining around to the wrong side of the shell and press along this fold.

Lined Vent 38

If everything went to plan, your shell and lining fabrics should be wrong sides together and it should be looking almost there.

8. Lay your lined vent with the right side of the lining facing you (as in the above image). Pull the centre seam towards you to reveal the curved part of the lining.

N.B. If you’ve already attached your lining at the waist/neckline then instead of pulling the lining down, reach up inside between the shell and the lining (I find from the left easier) and pull the lining out between the two hems.

Lined Vent 39

Pin and sew together. On a full garment, ease as much out as you can, smooth as you go and try to avoid the main bulk of the garment pulling as you pin.

Lined Vent 40

Sew the lining between the end of the centre back seam and where the two back lining pieces separate to attach to the shell vent. After sewing, check for puckers, unpick these areas and try again smoothing the excess fabric away. I find it easier to have the excess fabric on the bottom – as I sew, the feed dogs pull this through for me and this eases an outside curve into an inside one.

9. Clip into the tightest curves to help everything to lay flat and press both sides.

Lined Vent 41

10. After a good press, remove the basting stitches in the shell fabric and admire your lined vent.

Lined Vent 42 Lined Vent 43

Great… put feet up, rest that brain we’ve completed the hardest part. If you’re making a full garment, you can finish any other construction points except the hem. Because… in the final post I’ll explain how to make a mitred corner for the shell hem and vent.

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8 responses to “Lined vent sew-along: Sewing the lining to the shell

  1. dear o dear, I’ve been away so I have lots to catch up with on this sew-along. Thanks so much for publishing all those great pictures and advice- I will try and get to it asap!

  2. Hey, your vent sewalong has been really helpful, especially for inserting the lining! I have not had a chance to sew along right now, but am definitely bookmarking the posts so when I make a vent, I will use your tutorials.

  3. Sian Griffin

    Hi Emma. I am so impressed with your lined vent sew-along tutorials and am going to follow it from beginning to end. I am about to sew a lined pencil skirt of which I will have no choice but to sew the shell and lining together at the waistband and think I will also need to sew in the invisible zip prior to sewing the vent. I am having huge difficulty visualizing the following point you made in your “sewing the lining to the shell” tutorial. Is there any way you could clarify for me:
    …If you’ve had to sew your neckline/waistband already, place your garment with the right side of the shell facing you ….”and for the next steps the part of the lining and shell that will be sewn together will be already adjacent to eachother” so you just need to roll the edges back on themselves in order to pin right sides together.)…
    I am hesitant to begin my project until I understand this point.
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Sian, that’s great you are trying this out! What I mean is: turn your skirt the right way out (outer on the outside, lining on the inside). The vent lining and vent outer will match up so that the left side of the lining vent is next to the left side of the outer vent. Because they will be wrong sides together you’ll need to go up between the lining and the outer in order to pin right sides together.

      • Sian Griffin

        Many thanks Emma. I am about to cut my fabrics so can proceed with a clear idea on the series of events 🙂

  4. Dawn Stansfield

    Hi there Emma, your tutorial is amazing!! I have been trying for ages to find something like this and not been able to. I am a very visual person and normally use YouTube because I don’t follow written instructions very well. I have however managed to add a vent to my skirt, draft my own lining and have inserted the lining, stitching up both sides before I have got slightly stuck. I am not sure even that I am stuck, I just need to clarify, the two small bits that you pull through at the top, are they supposed to be opposite angles….I hope this makes sense, only my two bits don’t seem to be the same shape, is this right? I tried sewing them together, but the vent is pulling open a little.

    Dawn

    • The two small bits are opposite ‘s’ curves. They should only line up at the straight part. Clipping into the curves will help it to lay flat but even then it’s impossible to get it perfect. If your vent is pulling open (visibly from the right side but looks ok on the lined side) it suggests that your lining is too small or seam allowances are bigger on the lining than the outer. Can you email me some photos? clippedcurves@gmail.com

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