How can I mend these torn garment linings?
August 23, 2011 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Small tears in the linings of wool coats and dress-pants. How can I go about mending these in a functional (but not necessarily pretty) fashion?

The rips in question are small-- about ~1/2"-3" in length-- and mostly occur at stress/friction points in the middle of larger sections of what appears to be standard poly-acetate lining. I understand that most tailors and seamstresses will reline garments, but the prices for those kinds of jobs seem to run in the hundreds of dollars-- in most cases, nearly as much as the original cost of the article itself!

Since we're not talking about entirely shredded linings, just ones that are still largely functional with a few flaws, what I'd really like is to achieve a DIY patch job that'll restore functionality and prevent any further damage. Nobody closely inspects the insides of my clothing, so cosmetic perfection isn't really necessary, although obviously the repairs shouldn't be glaringly ugly and obvious. If it matters, I'm a moderately competent, but by no means expert, seamstress with access to a pretty good consumer-level digital sewing machine.

I've done a ton of research on this, but all I've turned up are recommendations to rip out and reconstruct the entire lining. There must be an easier way. Any ideas? Should I be trying to learn darning? Any other techniques for inserting durable patches in slippery, thin fabric?
posted by Bardolph to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: depending on the tear, you can certainly patch them yourself —here's an actually pretty good overview of what to do in different situations: repairing linings.

The major difficulty will be in getting to the wrong side of the lining without opening a bunch of seams. If you don't want to deal with that, just apply the patch from the right side with hand stitches.

Also consider that if the lining is already torn at friction points, the fabric may be weakened overall in those areas. Patching a weak fabric is only a stopgap measure; eventually you will want to re-line.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:09 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can use iron-on mending tape, from the wrong side if you're skillful. Here's a good tutorial. I've also blind-stitched rips in saggy coat linings, but that's tough because the fabric in vintage items can be dry-rotting and will shred or shatter, and acetates can be kind of brittle.

Once, and only once, did I transplant a lining from a comparable modern item found at a thrift store to a vintage suit jacket. I was able to pull the new jacket apart leaving the lining intact, then blind-stitched it into the old jacket, stuffing the sleeves in. It was "good enough" for a few more wearings, but a lot of finicky work (in front of the tv) and it only worked because it was a suit that buttoned up to the neck and wasn't meant to be worn open. I don't think I'd ever put the effort into another item unless it was true love.
posted by peagood at 11:39 AM on August 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much, all! Just for the benefit of future readers: I ended up going the hand-sewing route, using standard thread, a ladder stitch, and pieces of sturdy poly-satin. Surprisingly easy to do, and the patches have held up well thus far.
posted by Bardolph at 10:03 AM on December 21, 2011

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