In Parts I and II of this topic I covered sateen,dimout and blackout linings, which are the linings you see from the outside.  (See HomeDecTech: Linings and Interlinings Part I and HomeDecTech: Linings and Interlinings Part II).  What about the lining on the inside?  Yes, lining on the inside or interlining, an added layer of material that can serve several different purposes.

Flannel Interlining

The most common interlining is flannel.  Flannel is a cotton, napped fabric available in white, natural and in different weights.  When a layer of flannel interlining is added between the main fabric and outer lining, it creates a softer look, and improved insulation.

Adding flannel interlining does not block light, but it does help to diffuse light.  If the main fabric is a light color, a white flannel interlining is recommended so that the light shining through the linings will not discolor the main fabric facing into the room.


A layer of white, flannel is added between the main fabric and the sateen lining in this drapery.


Flannel is not just used as an interlining in window treatments.  Adding a layer of flannel can add body to thin fabrics for all soft furnishings like pillows, cushions and dust ruffles.

Bump Interlining

The heaviest of interlinings, bump adds a blanket-like layer which is especially popular for silk draperies.  Adding a layer of bump creates a drapery with rounded, soft edges and deep folds.  It is more sculptural, elegant and makes a statement.  Another interlining similar to bump, but not as heavy is Domett, a mid-weight twill interlining. Even though Domett is a beautiful interlining and works up well for drapery making, it is less commonly used in the United States.


Bump interlining creates a luxurious drapery with soft edges.

Interlining for Blackout

Flannel and bump are not the only materials added in-between the face and lining fabric.  Blackout lining can be used as an interlining to prevent colors from showing through to the face fabric, and it also adds structure.  You will see a 3-pass blackout used in soft cornices and other top treatments, and draperies with color lining.

But not everyone wants blackout and light can wash out the face fabric colors.  To enhance the color of your fabric, a color sateen can be used as an interlining.  For example; a red silk can look washed out when light shines through but by adding a red color sateen as an interlining, with or without flannel, you can boost the color and still have some light showing through.

One of my favorite interlining techniques is the French blackout method which layers face fabric, flannel or bump, black sateen and the outer sateen in white, ivory or khaki.  This creates a blackout window treatment that is soft and luxurious.  Pin holes of light are less noticeable with French blackout because the weave of the fabrics is more forgiving than the acrylic foam coating used on typical blackout linings.


How French blackout works: sateen lining is next to the light, then a layer of black sateen and flannel is added.


You can see how much light the black sateen blocks on its own. If the face fabric is dark, you can often omit the flannel layer if the bulk of all the fabrics is a concern.


The flannel layer creates a soft color against the black fabric.


All light is blocked behind this thin, silk fabric. That is how French blackout works!

I have used French blackout for white background fabrics, like the floral chintz below and it worked perfectly.  I would not recommend using French blackout on an open weave fabric.  It is always a good idea to do a light test before making and lining decisions.


This bedroom was featured in the book “Window Dressings” by Brian Coleman (Gibbs Smith 2011). The draperies are lined with white Hanes Classic Sateen and interlined with Hanes heavy flannel in white, and Hanes Classic sateen in black to create French blackout. Interior designer, Marilyn Warner and window treatments and bedding fabricated by Susan Woodcock.

Best Wishes,

Susan AKA HomeDecGal

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  1. juanita at Feb 11, 2014 03:26:54

    Thank you Susan! I almost missed these blogs on linings. Very informative.
    Enjoyed reading.

  2. Kate at Nov 30, 2015 10:34:27

    You mention interlining is napped. I looked at some old curtains I have and the interlining is just plain white flannel, not napped flannel. Do you think it is a bad idea to use interlining that is not napped? I like the way the old curtains fall.
    Also….my main fabric is a medium weight 100% cream linen. I was planning to use white interlining, and cream sateen lining. Do you agree? The curtains will almost never be drawn closed, and they will stack just next to the edge of the window so won’t get direct light. My main concern is that the color of the main fabric not be affected by the interlining or lining, as it is a perfect color match to the painted walls.
    Your blog is wonderful!

  3. Susan Woodcock at Nov 30, 2015 10:51:50

    Hello Kate,
    The older interlining is most likely just a thinner flannel, with less weight. Or it could be a domette, or other style of flannel interlining. That is perfectly fine. You can order plain “flannel” or “heavy flannel”. Just look for one that is intended for use in window treatments and pre-shrunk. As far as your cream linen curtains, the best way to make that decision is to hold up the fabric with both a white piece of lining, and an ivory piece of lining behind it at the window. If you don’t get very much sun exposure then it might be just fine, but you will really want to do a light test first, before you purchase to the yardage you will need. The white interlining will help to keep the color true.
    Best Wishes,

  4. Kate at Dec 02, 2015 07:16:37

    Thank you!! This is so helpful.
    Also, I’ve been told 100% linen stretches over time. Will the lining I choose have any affect on this….100% cotton lining, or 50/50?
    Thank you, once again.

  5. Susan Woodcock at Dec 02, 2015 08:24:18

    Linen fabric is likely to stretch, or shrink. It depends on the fabric and the conditions of the window and home. The lining will have little control over what the linen will do. In most cases, I have seen the linen stretch and the lining to stay even and true. So you can use either cotton, or poly/cotton with the same results. I am sorry I don’t have better news, but it’s part of the quality of that type of fabric. I recommend a “break” or “puddle” to the floor with linen draperies. A linen-look blend is a great idea if you desire a perfect length.
    Best Wishes,

  6. Kate at Dec 03, 2015 04:20:50

    Your knowledge is so helpful. I will specify they “break” at the floor.
    Again, many thanks!

  7. Kate at Dec 03, 2015 05:13:58

    Ive decided on the curtain style “Pinch Pleat (3 pleats)”. The pole would be 3/4″ metal with rings and pins. Would this style work well with medium weight cream linen, light weight white flannel interlining, and white sateen lining?
    Also regarding flannel interlining, I have a choice between 100% cotton flannel, or 65% cotton 35% poly flannel. Is one preferrable over the other?

  8. Kate Robinson at Dec 07, 2015 06:29:15

    Do you have a preference for all cotton interlining or a cotton/poly blend interlining?

  9. Susan Woodcock at Dec 07, 2015 06:38:41

    I think that sounds like a lovely combination. I use cotton flannel interlining. Honestly, I have never used the poly/cotton so I can’t give you a good review on it’s performance.
    Best Wishes,

  10. Susan Woodcock at Dec 07, 2015 06:39:24

    Hello Kate,
    I prefer cotton lining and interlining but many workrooms use the poly/cotton blends with success. I am just an old-fashioned workoom gal. :)
    Best Wishes,

  11. Ruth Tobin at Jan 17, 2017 01:23:44

    Wow, your information is just what I’ve been searching for. Thank you, thank you.

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