Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Couture linings and more ...

Couture linings are the subject of my next guest post on Burdastyle; and, while the post provides an overview of common lining choices for couture garments, I did want to add some related thoughts on rayon versus silk lining.


Bemberg Ambiance is the best choice for rayon lining.

It is probably no news to you, but did you know that rayon is processed from cellulose (like wood chips)? This is why rayon breathes. It is also relatively lightweight (close to crepe de chine and lighter charmeuse), soft, drapey, firmly woven, washable, durable and cool to wear. Bemberg Ambiance is the best choice for rayon lining because it is drapier than many other rayons and it is definitely anti-static. It is cheaper than silk at approximately $7 per yard, and is available in plain and twill weave.

What makes rayon, generally, difficult to handle, is that it frays like crazy, it fades and deteriorates if exposed to sun for longer periods, and it shrinks considerably (about 10%).

Caring for rayon poses some challenges as well. Ironing out wrinkles on rayon is really a pain. Some people suggest to tumble-dry low to reduce wrinkles. Also, I have heard sewers complaining about progressive shrinkage after washing their garments several times!

However, many Savile Row tailors line their famous custom suits with Bemberg Ambiance! Men wear their suits frequently and for years, so I believe the main reason for this choice is the durability of rayon. However, I heard that for a little extra they would put a silk lining.

Silk for that extra touch of luxury we all deserve

Silk is available in many different weights. Linings that I listed on Burdastyle include China silk as lightest, followed by silk twill, crepe de chine, charmeuse and the heavy weight crepe back satin. Honestly, I never liked anything more than silk. It drapes, it breathes, it adjusts to body temperature and feels great in any weather! A wide choice of different silks, and the fact that they are easier to sew and care for than synthetics and rayon, makes them my preferred choice of lining.

Where I would consider silk only: For lining light- or blouse-weight fashion fabric. Bemberg Ambiance would be somewhat heavy for those. China Silk or lightweight silk twill would be a better choice.

Where Bemberg Ambiance is an option: With medium weight fabrics, especially, those that are subject to a lot of strain in very fitted garments or pants. However, good quality silk twill is relatively durable as well. Rayon feels cool, which makes it a great choice for summer garments which use a medium-weight fabric.

However, nothing can beat a beautiful coat with a heavy-weight silk crepe back satin lining!

What is your experience with silk or rayon lining, readers? Which one do you prefer?


  1. I'm a silk fan but the price makes less viable to use very often. I never used fake silk.

  2. I tend to agree; I just my my skirt lining out of bemberg and I LOVED IT!!!! Really, I LOVED IT! Easier to sew than other methods - I've never used silk but perhaps I should think about it. Before it was china silk - and boy, what a pain to handle and sew. I love Bemberg - on Medium and Heavy weight fabrics I'm not going back!

  3. I actually prefer viscose lining to silk. I find silk has a 'grippy' quality (especially satin weaves), and viscose is a lot more slippery and therefore more comfortable to wear, especially in sleeves!

  4. I've used both - I love how easily clothing slides on with bemberger, but adore the silk lining of my winter coat.

    Out of curiosity, which would you line a dress made out of crepe back satin in?

  5. I prefer silk and have used it to line a long formal gown and love it. Recently used viscose to line my Schoolhouse tunic and I'm a fan!!! Try to avoid rayon unless it's a whimsical pattern which would suit as a lining in a jacket - gotta make some exceptions!!

  6. Silk has its own charm, but i can't afford to have them for lining for they are quite expensive, but do use as fashion fabrics for making Traditional Indian outfits!

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