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Hanger Appeal posted: 1/29/2003
by Mary Stori Printable Page
Category: Specialty Method: All
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What is hanger appeal? I use this term to define the one-of-a-kind linings I create for my garments. These linings feature design elements, which compliment the theme of the garment and become visible only when the garment is removed, or placed on a hanger. A lining is useful to hide and protect stitches and knots on the wrong side of the fashion fabric, thereby extending the life of the piece and presenting a more professional appearance. Long sleeved apparel is easier to slip on and off if a silky lining is added. Since lining a garment can be so beneficial, all my pieces are lined, which often extends the design process to the inside and creates....HANGER APPEAL!

These garments are not meant to be reversible, rather the designs were created because I was either unable to find an appropriate lining fabric, or I was unwilling to leave my sewing room to shop for one! Adding a lining to a garment can be compared to the frosting on a cake.......neither is complete without the other!

Let's explore using fabric paints and textile inks to add fast yet clever design elements. One can create results, which can be anything from elegant to whimsical, and none of the techniques are difficult.


  • Large work table
  • Brown craft paper
  • Masking tape
  • Wax paper
  • Brayer roller or rolling pin
  • Iron - for heat setting
  • Fabric paint (permanent, non-toxic, and washable)
  • Pastry brush (or small paint brush)
  • Textile ink for stamping (permanent, non-toxic, washable, and full-bodied...thick)
  • Rubber stamps
  • Plant material - living or silk foliage


  • Select your lining fabric. I usually allow about 1/4 yard more than the yardage stated on the pattern. However, since there are times that ample fabric is already allotted, measure how the pattern pieces fit on the stated yardage to avoid purchasing more than necessary.

  • If the fabric is washable, prewash, dry, and press.

  • You'll need to work on a firm surface protected with craft paper to avoid staining the table. Plastic can also be used, but when working on silky fabrics you may have trouble keeping the layers from sliding around.

  • Lay your lining on the protected table, securing it to the surface with small pieces of masking tape. If your worktable is large, you may be able leave the fabric in one piece. If all your pattern pieces do not fit on your table, youíll need to cut sections for the various pattern pieces, allowing about a two-inch margin around the entire outline of the piece. This approach prevents distortion of bias edges as you work and creates a margin of error, which allows for shrinkage, which can occur with these techniques.

  • Position the lining pattern pieces onto the fabric, leaving a two-inch margin between each. Trace the outline of the pattern pieces. Make sure there is ample open space for testing...allow about 6" -10" (depending upon the design element selected) preferably near one of the outer edges of the yardage.


  • You will be adding the design elements within the boundaries of the marked garment patterns, and inside the seam allowance. Naturally, a portion of the design can purposely be positioned to fall within the seam allowance to create a more interesting balance, but youíll want to keep all-important elements in areas that wonít be sacrificed when the lining is cut and sewn together. But first, you need to test!!

  • Always test outside the marked patterns before committing to the final design. This can be done in the open area youíve saved or other smaller margins that you find available. For instance, it may take a little practice to learn how much pressure you need to apply to a rubber stamp or brayer roller to obtain a good impression. Also, the amount of paint or ink required can vary depending upon the color and fiber content of the fabric. If you are anything like me.... youíll want to plunge ahead at this point but taking your time to practice the method will pay off with better results.

  • You'll want to be sure youíve read the manufacturer's directions too. Some paints require a 24-hour drying period before they are disturbed. So, follow the instructions to obtain the best results! Many inks and paints become permanent only after heat setting, take special note that all directions are followed exactly. If you are unsure how the lining fabric you've purchased will behave...test a small piece first...heat setting and washing if necessary until you know your efforts won't be wasted!

  • Once you are satisfied with how your designs will appear...go ahead and letter, stamp, and stencil your selected Hanger appeal designs. Itís not a bad idea to think about placement...designs can be randomly sprinkled about or in specific locations such as an important element located on the center back. It isn't necessary to decorate the sleeves but I always do.

  • Before cutting the garment pattern pieces out, be sure to heat set the fabric if necessary. Now retrace the outline of the pattern pieces again to assure proper sizing in case shrinkage has occurred. Once that's accomplished, cut out the lining pieces and assemble according to your pattern directions.

The following will provide specific guidelines to help you recreate some of my design ideas:


Letters of the alphabet, words, or numbers can be printed onto lining fabric. I purchase fabric paint in small plastic bottles equipped with a writing tip applicator. Gently squeeze the bottle to freehand draw the designs.


I've been creating my own Designer linings for years and years. Hey, famous designers splatter their names all over their garments, so I thought it would be fun to duplicate that look by using my logo. With a custom made rubber stamp (featuring my name and cow logo) and black textile ink in hand it takes me only minutes to create my own yardage that truly personalizes my garments. To obtain sharp impressions with detailed designs, use a pastry brush to apply the ink to the stamp rather than a stamp pad.


An elegant garment requires an equally luxurious lining, try this technique with satin fabric for fabulous results that appear difficult to achieve but aren't! The shape and texture of live plant material, such as a fern, can be transferred to fabric with the use of full-bodied textile ink. Place the foliage upside down on a piece of wax paper and generously brush textile ink onto it with a pastry brush. It can be difficult to flip a delicate fern from the wax paper, over and onto the fabric, precisely where you want it to go. To make that transfer, use the tip of your fingers to position the fern (paint side) facing the fabric and cover with a piece of brown craft paper. Using a brayer roller or rolling pin, firmly roll back and forth several times over the paper surface to transfer the leaf impression. Remove the craft paper and carefully lift the fern off. Use a new fern for each impression; adding ink, a second time causes the fern to become very limp which makes it difficult to remove without smearing. Artificial foliage can usually be used more than once but may not provide as much detail. You'll also want to keep several damp paper towels nearby to keep your fingers clean to avoid smudging ink onto the lining fabric. Experiment using various types, sizes and shapes of the plant material to create wonderful organic designs.

Now that you see how easy it is to add hanger appeal to your pieces, I hope you'll experiment with one of these ideas on your next garment. And when you are wearing your creation, you can always pretend you are too warm...and take your jacket off. Simply drape it over the back of a chair.... then sit back and prepare for oouuuuhhhhs and ahhhhs!

Examples of Mary's work can be seen on her Website at:

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