There is nothing more luxurious than a custom-tailored garment
lined with silk. Lining elevates any knitted project to the next level
ensuring that it looks as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.
Apart from the luxury factor, what are the advantages of lining a knitted jacket?
1. 1. Lined jackets are more work-appropriate. Have you ever worn one of your hand knits to work, only to become embarrassed when it falls open or you take off the sweater and inadvertently reveal a morass of sewn-in threads ends and crossed strands in different colors? This is even more of a problem with a jacket that has pockets, as the pockets often lead to strange-looking squares of stitching on the inside that would be better left hidden. The back side of the button band is often not that great-looking either. It takes work to maintain the optical illusion that everything looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside of our hand knits.
Of course, if you plan to wear your knitted jacket buttoned up to the neck all the time, why bother? But knits can be warm, and I’m more comfortable wearing my sweaters and jackets unbuttoned at the office from time to time. Some jackets are also designed to not close in front, but to be worn open, with no buttons, and they flip open quite easily as you are walking about. In the case of a jacket with no closure, if it is a winter garment, I feel that lining is really desirable.
2. 2. Stability. Chanel originally lined jackets to strengthen the loosely woven fabrics and knits she used for her designs. It is not always flattering when a knitted jacket conforms closely to your body, especially if it is a loose knit, which can become floppy over time. And if you are knitting a large piece, like a knee-length coat, lining can provide the stability to help the garment keep its shape and to avoid the bumpy look of “the loving hands of home.” I feel that if I am going to spend all the money and time to knit a huge project, it is worth investing in a lining.
3. 3. Comfort. A knitted wool jacket can be scratchy and irritating to the skin over a long period of time. Silk, on the other hand, feels divine and so the lining ensures that I can wear a jacket for an entire day without any discomfort.
4. Once you decide to add lining as an element to your knits, they can become a key design feature. Chanel perfected this by matching the blouse worn underneath a jacket to the lining of the jacket itself, so that when the jacket was open you saw the play of the two fabrics and textures together. In the 2012 Couture fashion show of Chanel, which you can view on the website, www.chanel.com, Lagerfeld has added silk bows around the neck and pleated trims to the Chanel jackets, which no doubt match the silk linings inside.
What I love about my Chanel-inspired jacket is that when I wear it, even when it flips open, the fabric enhances the look and design. I also love the soft feel of it against my skin, and the way that the glow of the green silk brings out the sheen of the green merino. My pockets are hidden, and my buttons are extra stable because I was able to sew a strip of muslin behind the button band to keep the buttons firmly in place. This became invaluable to the integrity of the jacket, as I really did not like the first two sets of buttons that I sewed on, and I had to remove 2 sets of buttons from the knitted fabric, which is no easy feat. I was able to do this because the only wear and tear from the various removals of all the threads and buttons was to the muslin strip, which I simply replaced and then covered over with lining.
In part three, I will write about specific technical information that you can use to line a hand knit garment.