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I want to make a hole in a jacket that I can pass the wires of some electronics through (it’s a US Marine parade jacket I got an op-shop in the UK.) But the jacket is lined—so simply sewing a buttonhole or punching a grommet right through would connect the lining to the outside material of the jacket. I imagine this would pull at the hole and eventually tear it.

So far as I can see it’s a permanent lining. The wires do have a plug on the end of them, it’s a JST connector similar to these. It would fit through a standard button hole, or maybe a 12mm diameter round metal grommet.

Is this a reasonable fear? If so, what else could I do?

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  • 1
    Is it a removable or a permanent lining?
    – Allison C
    Nov 30 '20 at 22:12
  • 1
    How big should the hole be? Do you only need to pass wires through or something bigger like a headphone plug?
    – Elmy
    Dec 1 '20 at 5:59
  • So far as I can see it’s a permanent lining. The wires do have a plug on the end of them, yes, it’s a JST connector similar to these. It would fit through a standard button hole, or maybe a 12mm diameter round metal grommet. Dec 1 '20 at 8:26
  • Generally linings have somewhere that they were topstitched shut at the end of jacket construction. If you're lucky it will be the center back seam - are there any visible stitches along any of the seams of the lining? If so you could unpick that, install your grommet, and resew it.
    – Reve
    Dec 1 '20 at 22:08
  • Jacket consists of a lot of places with less stitches and easy to pass the wires. The thing which matters is how well you wanna see your jacket after passing the wires, as it might effect the appearance and balance of itself.
    – Sean432
    Dec 17 '20 at 11:01
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Expanding my comment into an answer upon further consideration:

You're right to be concerned about punching through both outer and lining material and joining them with a grommet. The lining is intended to be able to shift as you move separately from the outer jacket, and the grommet would add a small point of stress. I would also worry about the lining fraying out around the grommet.

Instead, I would unpick and resew one of the seams of the lining. Jackets with linings attached at top and bottom are often constructed by leaving the back center lining seam unsewn until the end. The jacket is turned right-side-out through that opening after being sewn to the lining inside-out, and then the lining is topstitched closed (hard to find a photo! See the last image in this bag tutorial). If that is your jacket's situation, you'll have a natural way to get inside the lining.

If not, I would still go in via unpicking a seam. A seam ripper / quick unpick is easiest, but you can be careful with some pointy scissors or a new razor blade as well. Avoid stabbing through or cutting the fabric itself (of course!). If you're getting in through a seam that is not topstitched (that is, all stitching is invisible from the outside) is helps a lot to pull the fabric on each side taut away from the seam, to whatever extent possible.

In either case, to sew it back up, I would use matching or slightly-darker thread and a small, close whipstitch. You can hide the ending thread tail between the jacket and lining by stitching down right next to your knot, into the space between the lining and jacket, and then coming back out a little ways away. Trim your thread and let it disappear inside.

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    This would be my approach too. I would also advise using an small piece of iron-on facing material inside the lining where you sew the buttonhole or put in the grommet. Lining material tends to fray easily without it.
    – Gwyn
    Dec 2 '20 at 14:57
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Find a place in your jacket where there is no lining, like just next to the zipper. Make your hole where the fabric of the outside is also used on the inside, mostly with some more stitching between it and where the lining fabric starts.

If your lining comes all the way to the zip and the collar, you can use a place where the lining is very close to the zip or collar, so there is as little stretch and movement as possible.

I would go for a button hole rather than a grommet, as the stitching gives strength while a grommet is often not as strong. (Some are but not sure what kind you would have.)

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  • I agree. Also, grommets often develop slight burrs or scratches which catch on things and then the lining may tear or fray.
    – Gwyn
    Dec 4 '20 at 20:12

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