Papery lining on a 1950s dress?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by Alison_86, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Alison_86

    Alison_86 Registered Guest

    Does anyone know the name of the papery-feel lining which is common in 1950s dress?
  2. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Pellon - it's a distinctive feature of '50s dresses, you see it a little into the '60s but not at other times. It's generally fragile and easily rips because it's so old now and dry cleaners hate it - they'll often ask you to remove it, as it falls apart and clogs their machines.

    I actually quite like it, it really stiffens those old dresses and so try not to remove it unless I have to. Yesterday I discovered that this dress (early '60s) is lined with it, it's starting to rip a little but I'll leave the lining in.
  3. Sky Ranch Vintage

    Sky Ranch Vintage Trade Member

    Yes, Pellon as Nicole said. When it's crubly it drives me a bit batty, but when it's in good shape it adds great body.
  4. Alison_86

    Alison_86 Registered Guest

    Thank you! Yes, I remember it being in a 60s dress too. I took my 50s one to the dry-cleaners before posting on here (they were saying the lining was paper but I knew it wasn't) and that it would disintegrate like I thought it would (and like you said, Circa Vintage Clothing) so I decided to put it on a gentle machine wash instead and the lining is still intact thankfully! :)
  5. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Yes, they tend to survive laundering quite well.

    Your dry cleaner is right: it is made of paper, but pellon is the name of the lining material.
  6. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    In "Everyday Fashions of the Sixties", there's an excerpt from a 1967 Sears catalog with an evening or cocktail dress (it was available in 2 lengths) that mentions that the skirt is lined with pellon. I only stumbled across this the other week.

  7. Adoredvintage

    Adoredvintage Registered Guest

    Oh wow this is so helpful! I have a dress with a papery lining but I think I will have to remove it as the dress needs to be dyed since it's sadly discolored in a few areas.
  8. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    You will indeed need to remove it if you're going to dye the dress - it's likely to soak up the dye and deteriorate in the process.

    I should mention that dyeing doesn't always solve the problem when a dress is discoloured: you usually end up with a dress that is still patchy, but a different colour. It depends in great part on the cause of the discolouration and the fabric. If you'd like any advice, please feel free to tell us more - many of us have learnt the hard way about these matters.

    You might like to read my blog post on dyeing vintage fashions.
  9. Adoredvintage

    Adoredvintage Registered Guest

    Thank you so much Nicole! I just acquired the dress and noticed the discoloring, I'll be certain to post photos to ask for advice!

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post as well, very helpful. I was told by another vintage seller that dyeing could be a patchy process. The dress is currently silvery baby blue and I intend to dye it a deep navy blue (the silvery blue looks a little dated to me anyway). I'll post photos soon and hope to hear more of your expertise!
  10. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Wait a minute--let's back up. A lining is assembled separately from the garment sections and sewn in so that the seams of the garment and lining are hidden.

    I've never seen Pellon and other non wovens used as a lining. Is the material sewn into the seams? If so, it is an underlining, which is frequently called a backing or mounting, and used under all major sections of the garment. When used at front openings, neck edges, and on collars or pockets, it is usually called an interfacing or interlining.

    Is this important? Yes, many of your customers may have been home-sewers so you want to describe your merchandise as precisely as possible so they and your other customers will know exactly what you are selling. You can always add a note that the lining covers the construction elements of the garment; or, if it is an underlining that it is sewn into the seams to provide shaping for the design.
  11. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Hi Claire,

    Thank you for the clarification: you're quite right, Pellon is a under-lining or backing, rather than a lining.

    The material is cut to the same size of the pattern pieces and sewn to the fabric before the garment is made. That's why it can be hard to remove at times: pieces are left where the seams are.
  12. Adoredvintage

    Adoredvintage Registered Guest

    Oh wow I never knew that! Thank you Claire and Nicole (learning so much already on this forum!!!) It is indeed an underlining, so removing the pellon is not going to be an easy or clean finished task.
  13. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    It's not as hard as it sounds: you just cut or rip it out, but I don't usually worry about the little bits left in the seam allowance - but it's easier enough to get them out if you wish. I actually love Pellon and try to preserve it if I can.
  14. I had initially thought she was talking about buckram. But Buckram's sort of like "cross-stitch" fabric. Not paper.
  15. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Buckram wouldn't be any good as a lining - it's full of starch which stiffens it, and it would come out when you wash it. I've used it for stand up collars but only when you can remove them for laundering.
  16. Righto. Just a momentary lapse in word memory, LOL.

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