Sew Cute: Custom Lined Jacket

Chicago gets cold. Like, make-your-eyes-water, oh-my-gosh-do-I-even-still-have-a-nose-cold. Since I originally hail from the Pacific Northwest, the adjustment to any type of seasons at all was surprising to me, but my first Midwest winter was an especial shock to the system. The upside? I got pretty good at layering my clothes, finding cute scarves, and generally making myself cozy with lots of warm drinks. And now that the weather is turning cooler once again, I was inspired to line a thin jacket of mine to make it more autumn friendly.

This project is a little tricky, but super rewarding. And personally, I’m a big fan of overcoming any challenge that results in some fun stuff to wear!


  • Lightweight, unlined jacket (preferably denim or cotton)
  • 1–3 yards of cotton or linen fabric, however much you’ll need to line your particular jacket (make sure it’s washed, dried, and ironed—it’ll be much easier to work with)
  • Plenty of wide paper to make a template (I used an old shopping bag)
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Thread in a corresponding color to the jacket
  • Basic sewing needle
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Optional: sewing machine, if you’re feeling fancy

Craft away:

  • To make a template for your lining, first turn the jacket inside out and spread it out flat. Place the paper over the inside of the jacket. You should be able to feel the seams of the jacket through the paper. Using those seams as a guide, carefully trace two of the three main interior sections of the jacket—one of the two sides around the armhole and the back—onto the piece of paper. If tracing proves too tricky, you can measure out each of the sections and draw the inside of the jacket onto the paper—it just takes a bit longer.
  • Pin the template pieces directly to the fabric. Add an extra inch around the edges of each template, then cut the pieces out. To make the other side of the jacket lining, just flip the side template over and cut a mirror image piece.
  • Fold the edges of the fabric in a half-inch, then use the iron to set that fold in place. Pin the fold to hold it down. Pro tip: you can trim inside the corners of each piece to make it easier to fold.
  • Stitch the pinned folds in place. If you’re using a needle and thread: sew using a simple in-and-out motion, and knot your work by passing your needle under the thread of your last stitch. If you’re using a machine: sew using a basic straight stitch, and knot your work by reversing a few of your stitches at the end of each row.
  • One at a time, pin each piece inside its corresponding place in the jacket. Make sure the stitched fold is on the inside, where it can’t be seen. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins!
  • Cut a couple feet of thread and fold it in half, then thread the needle and tie a knot.
  • Carefully hand-sew each lining piece inside the jacket. Keep your stitches small, and place them on the seams of the jacket whenever possible—this will make your work harder to see.
  • You’re all done! Now you have a cozy, customized jacket to rock on these crisp fall days.