How to Sew a Lined Bodice

Lining a bodice not only provides a neat finish to your tops and dresses, it also hides all your seams and can even make your garment reversible. This tutorial teaches you the easiest method to sew a lined bodice in a few simple steps.

Lined Bodice

Lining a bodice is slightly different for tops with and without sleeves. This beginner tutorial focuses on a bodice without sleeves. You can find a simple sleeveless bodice pattern here for size 0-3 months using this free download, but this technique will work with most sleeveless tops.

Cutting the bodice pieces

Bodice pieces

For my fully lined bodice top, I had one front bodice piece and two back bodice pieces, cut in both the lining (inner fabric) and the outer main fabric. I used this bodice to make a pretty baby dress for my friend in France (hence the Paris themed fabric).

Optional: I like to attach a 1½” strip of lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong sides of the back pieces, where the buttons will go. This makes the buttons and holes on the back sturdy.

Sewing your lined top

Step 1:

Bodice pieces at shoulder

With right sides together, sew the front main bodice piece to the each of the two back main bodice pieces at the shoulder. I prefer using ½” seam allowance, but you should follow whatever your pattern suggests. Press the seams open. Then, repeat this step for the lining pieces.

Step 2:

Pin bodice and lining

With right sides together, place the lining bodice on top of the main bodice so that all edges are together. Pin around the neckline, armholes and back.

Step 3:

Sew lining and main

Sew the two bodice pieces together along the neck curve, around the armhole and down the back as shown above with the red lines.

Step 4:

Clip bodice neckline

Make small triangular cuts along the seam of the neck curve so that the fabric does not bulge up when you turn the bodice inside out.

Step 5:

Iron bodice

Turn the bodice inside out, ensuring that all the edges are flat. You may want to use an awl, rod or something similar to get all the seams neatly aligned. Iron the complete bodice.

Step 6:

Bodice armpit

With right sides together, pin the two lining pieces together at the armpits or side seams. Repeat for the main bodice pieces. Sew pinned pieces of lining-lining and main-main at the armhole. Repeat for the other side of the bodice. On a full-size garment, this would finish your side seams.

Step 7:

Lined Bodice

Fold over the bodice and iron neatly to conceal all seams.

Optional: After you complete the bodice, you can topstitch or understitch around the armholes and the neckline. This is usually done for heavier fabrics to make the bodice appear flatter and aligned. It is a personal preference based on what type of fabric and design you used.

You now have a fully lined bodice piece to attach to your dress bottom or finish up as a top. I like to baste stitch the bottom of the bodice to ensure the back pieces stay in the right place when I attach the skirt piece, but that is completely up to you. Others also attach their closure (zipper, buttons or Velcro) at this stage too, prior to putting on the skirt piece.

Here is bodice on the fully finished dress. This is the Little Geranium Dress Pattern.

Geranium Dress Pattern

Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!


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