Monday, June 2, 2008

UK interlining and lining sources

Following Kay Y's experience with the 150gsm Thinsulate, I rang up Pennine Outdoor who stock it here in the UK and got their advice on suitable warm interlining fabrics. They stock a huge range of outdoor and sport fabrics, so I spoke to a lovely lady on the phone who helped me through my choices. She ultimately recommended microfleece as the best warm, lightweight, and draping choice for me, but conceded that it wasn't windproof (but that using a silk twill lining would probably help the wind anyway). The only windproof fabric they stock is very bulky and doesn't drape nicely, and when I enquired about Meraklon, she said that it was tubular and stretchy and also had a bad drape and that it was more suitable for linings of close-fitting garments. So if anyone else had their eye on Thinsulate, you might want to consider microfleece instead, and I'm going to place my order later today.

My other fact-finding phone call was to Broadwick Silks here in London (a sister store to the Silk Society and I was told they stock the same fabrics). After a long search online for a UK supplier of silk twill for my lining, I was only able to find undyed silk twill, and though the swatch is lovely, the silk hand dying process looks a bit too daunting for me. Broadwick Silks don't list their inventory online, but when I rang, they said they have a lightweight silk twill in ivory, or heavier silk twill in about ten colours, of which they're sending me swatches (and hopefully prices!). I believe they do phone orders, too, so if anyone outside London is looking for silk twill for their linings also, they might be a good alternative to overseas shipping.

Edit: The swatches arrived the very next day!

Starting from the top left:
1-4 (orange, yellow, teal, burgundy) £50 per metre, 150cm wide
5 (brick) £45 per metre, 140cm wide
6 (dark grey) £35 per metre, 140cm wide
7 (silver) £69 per metre, 140cm wide
8 (putty) £45 per metre, 140cm
9 (emerald) £35 per metre, 140cm

WOW. My jaw literally dropped open when I saw the prices. Then I laughed. I guess it's overseas shipping for me anyway, as there's no way I can afford £100 (~$200) JUST on the lining fabric!!

(And out of curiosity's sake, are there any other UK participants here, or am I just talking to myself?)


Marji said...

Hi Melissa, for a "fun fact to know and tell" I'll put another poll up on the sidebar to find out where everyone is from. There are several participants from all over Europe, and several from Australia/NZ.

As to the insulation: How heavy is your wool? I own a coat, RTW but was very expensive and is made well, Along the style lines of the full skirted Vogue 8346 except single breasted.
I wore it to work and sometimes walked to work in Northern Michigan - winds blowing, sub zero temps Fahrenheit. I did not have an issue with being cold or with wind. I can't wear it where I live now, it doesn't get cold enough here. (sorry Patrice).
It's melton wool, underlined with a fusible weft insertion interfacing, then lined with a coating weight taffeta bemberg lining. That's all. And it's WARM.
I understand your concerns and your goal of making this an incredibly warm coat. But when you are concerned that interfacing the entire front of a coat with hair canvas may be too much support - I'm concerned that interlining the whole body and sleeve with a micro fleece is going to be really really stiff and bulky and heavy.
Hopefully this microfleece will be as thin and light as air.
Did you ever consider wool/lambswool/haircanvas/lining? There is considerable wind block in the combination, especially if your wool is felted as is a melton wool.

Just some thoughts.

Melissa Fehr Trade said...

thanks, Marji. I guess I'm having so many questions because this is my first time making a winter coat and I don't want to end up with a pretty but unwearable coat at the end of all of this! Unlike in the US where most people hop from a warm home to a warm car to a warm office with only brief time spent outside in the cold, I do a LOT of walking and outdoor work and I really feel the cold more than most people around me even as I've got quite poor circulation after losing a lot of weight a few years ago.

I'm trying to take advice from as many more experienced sewers as I can so I can hopefully make a coat that suits my lifestyle and looks good. And without completely dismantling my RTW coat (which is my only backup should my creation fail!) to figure out why it's not warm enough, I can only take recommendations. I'm still learning about all these names of specialist fabrics I've never encountered before, and again trying to adapt to what's actually available in stores here, which is really really difficult.

Thanks for your patience and continued help with all these fabric recommendations! Your posts on the different lining, interlining, interfacing, etc fabrics are just wonderful.

Claire said...

HI Melissa, I'm not from the UK, (I'm in the USA) but I am enjoying reading about your process.

One of the warmest coats I've had (other than down and fur) is a long jacket I owned in the 80's made in Canada. This jacket was underlined in addition to being lined. This is just about unheard of here in the US. Back when I owned this jacket I weighted 110-120 lbs and I was freezing all the time.

This is why I plan to underline my coat in cotton flannel and I'll use a Kasha (flannel backed) lining. Which might be overkill, but I expect the coat to be very warm. This could be a consideration for you also.
Claire ;o)

Els said...

Hi Melissa,
I agree with Marji about her concern about the weight of the micro fleece. The best way to find out what kind of insulation you need is to go to a good fabric store with your fabric and ask for advice.

Using quilted lining is another way to add warmth to your coat. The lining is quilted with a soft but warm insulation. See for examples:


KayY said...

I'll weigh in again. A few years ago I made a car coat out of what I thought was a medium weight coating - it's like a light-weight melton, not thick fabric but firm and tightly woven (can't see light through it). I wanted it warm, for attending my son's ice hockey games. I found some quilted lining and for good measure underlined with micro-fleece. The coat is VERY warm. I didn't need the fleece everywhere and cut it out of the under-sleeves as I felt a bit like the Michelin man when I got it put together. With your coat remember: the double-breasted front means double layers - no need for much insulation there. You can do a windblock of chamois in the upper back for windblock. Your arms don't need as much insulation as your core.

That said, I would not be reluctant to add it in as it is relatively easy to cut it out later.

Melissa Fehr Trade said...

thanks for all the help and advice! I've ordered the microfleece because it's cheap, readily available, and if when I drape it with the coating fabric and it doesn't look right, then I won't have any issue in using it for something else! And Kayy - that's an excellent point about the double-breasting, I hadn't thought about that.

And I WISH there was a good brick and mortar fabric store in London that had these sort of specialist supplies to play with. MacCulloch and Wallis are about the only ones that stock the "serious" fabrics, and they only have small squares hanging up to play with (and then you take those to the counter to be cut).

I'm going to update this post with my silk twill swatches. You're not going to believe the prices... O.M.G.

Alexandra said...

Melissa, I'm not in the UK, we're currently stationed in Germany (a.k.a. the cold place) but I enjoy reading your posts.

Claire, if you underline your coat with flannel, won't the Kasha lining get hung up on the underlining?

Liana said...

What about WindBlock and Wind Pro from Malden Mills? The WindBlock is completely windproof, and the WindPro is pretty close. I have some of the Pro and while it's a little bit lofty, about like 200 fleece, it's not heavy (weighty) at all.

Ann Made Studio said...

You are receiving great information.
Have you tried MacPhee Workshops?
Linda Macphee is very well known for her Parka's to withstand the cold winters. She sells all the fabrics/linings/patterns you would need to make a warm coat.
I can tell you from experience,I made my daughter a parka years ago,with MacPhee wool and kasha lining and it was extremely warm.
Marji has the link on the sidebar.
Good luck!

Ann Made Studio said...

To add: The wool I used was the Duffle wool. It is a heavier wool than melton.

ejvc said...

Hi Melissa,

I'm in London, and I feel your pain regarding both price and availability of fabric. However recently I've had good luck with two East End fabric stores in the Dalston area. One is William Gee trimmings and they seem to have every type of lining, interlining, sleeve head etc and if they don't they can get it for you - and very very reasonably priced. The other is Dalston Mill Fabrics on the Ridley Road market, who have a great selection and nice people; quality printed silk jerseys were £30 a metre last time I was there, I bought linen at £4-£5/m, muslin at £1.50/m. Both have bad websites ( and but are worth a visit in person. I was going to go to Dalston Mill pretty soon to look for coating fabric (I'm a bit behind here, ahem). I'll check out the price for twill if you like - just reply here if you want me to.


Melissa Fehr Trade said...

thank you for your suggestions, everyone!

Elizabeth - thanks, I've never heard of William Gee. I've not been to Dalston Mills in person yet, but I checked their website and they didn't list any silk twill whatsoever. Do they usually stock more than what's on their website? I've been meaning to go up there for ages because you're about the 5th person to recommend then to me, but my weekends are completely booked through July now, and I've had some bad/scary experiences in Dalston and don't really fancy going back on my own (and hence would prefer to order online from them!)...

ejvc said...

Hi Melissa - the website does not at all reflect what they have in the store. The shop is only about 3 minutes from the Dalston train station. I take the 243, which goes from Waterloo up Holborn and out that way, stopping right at the head of the Ridley Road market - so you don't have to walk around Dalston or anything. Although I go with baby and feel OK. Also the 243 stops outside William Gee's. Like I said I'm going soon though so I'll ask regarding silk twill. Or I bet you could phone them. The salespeople were very nice when I was there.

Marji said...

I just came across this while searching for something else.
UK source for supplies