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How to Sew A Facing

WHAT IS IT?

A facing is a layer of fabric sewn on the inside of garment openings, such as armholes, necklines or waistlines. Facings can be cut from the garment fabric or a different fabric. Unless they are topstitched (page link) or edgestitched (page link), facings are invisible from the right side of the garment. Facings finish the edge of the opening and add structure and support. They are usually interfaced (page link) for strength but don’t have to be. Sometimes facings can be drafted as extensions to the pattern piece, if the edge is straight. If the edge is curved, a separate piece of fabric is applied. Facings may be sewn on the right side of the garment as a design detail.

Facing inside Robson Coat

Facing inside Robson Coat

Facing inside dress

Facing inside dress

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

Facings are used to finish garment openings in place of waistbands, collars and sleeves. They can be cut to an even width all around the opening, or they can be shaped. Skirts and trousers with facings instead of waistbands are generally more comfortable to wear, as no tight band digs into the waistline. Facings also allow for a little more wiggle room in the fit, as the skirt can slip up or down the waist to a place that’s comfortable.

CHOOSING FACING FABRIC AND FINISH

If the garment fabric is opaque and a facing won’t show through to the right side, use self-fabric (the same fabric as your garment) for the facing. If your garment fabric is sheer, or sheer enough that the design will show through to the right side, choose a matching solid-colored fabric to use for facings. If your garment fabric is thick or textured, use a solid, medium-weight fabric instead for facings.

If there is no lining sewn to the facing, then the outer edge of the facing needs to be finished. You can simply sew around the edges with a zigzag stitch (page link) or with a serger (page link). You could turn the edge under and stitch it or pink the edges. A pinked finish (page link) is best for tightly woven fabric that won’t fray. For unlined coats and jackets, bind the edges with bias tape (page link) for a professional look. Doing so creates bulk, so it’s best used for garments in thick fabrics where the edges won’t show through.

HOW TO SEW A FACING

Assemble the area of the garment where the facing will be sewn, so the opening is ready for the facing to be attached. Press seams open. Fuse or sew interfacing (page link) to facing pieces. Assemble the facing by sewing the side seams, and finish the long outer edge of the facing, the one that isn’t going to be sewn to the opening.

How to sew a facing (1)

With right sides together, pin the facing to the opening. Match up the seams of the facing to the garment seams, and sew around the facing with a regular 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance.

How to sew a facing (2)

Trim the seam allowance to ¼” (6mm), or trim the seam allowance in half. If the edge is curved, clip and notch curves. See page link for more on trimming and clipping curves.

How to sew a facing (3)

Understitch (page link) the facing. If you are stitching toward an enclosed area, where it may be hard to reach by machine, such as a corner, understitch as far into the corner as you can and then backstitch (page link) to secure the stitching. Press the facing to the inside of the garment. The understitching will help the facing roll to the inside; pressing it will keep it in place.

How to sew a facing (4)

If desired, tack the facing to the garment at the seams. This helps keep the facing from flipping out to the right side. You can do this by hand, taking a few hand stitches through both layers. Or stitch in the ditch of the seam (page link) and clip threads close to the stitching.

HOW TO MAKE A PATTERN FOR A FACING

If you want to add a facing to a pattern, it’s quite easy to do!

How to make a pattern for a facing (1)

Once you’ve decided where to add the facing, fold out any darts or pleats from the pattern piece that will affect the facing area. Then lay the pattern piece on scrap paper and trace around the outer edges. This is the start of your new pattern piece.

How to make a pattern for a facing (2)

Measure out from the opening about 2″ (5.1cm) all along the edge, and draw in the facing line parallel to the opening edge. Depending on where the facing is located, you may want a narrower facing or a deeper one. Remember, you can always cut off the facing if it seems too deep. Mark the grain line to match the grain of your original pattern piece, and transfer any notches from the original pattern piece so it’s easy to sew the facing to the opening. If the piece was cut on the fold, mark the cut on the fold side. Before cutting out the new pattern piece, use a ruler to redraw the straight lines.

Tips + Notes

  • Facings need to be deep enough to stay hidden, but not too deep to be bulky.
  • Trimming and clipping facings (page link) is important to reduce bulk and ensure curved necklines and armholes can turn all the way right side out and maintain their curves.
  • If your garment has an underlining, catchstitch (page link) your facings to the underlining to keep them in place. See page link for more on underlining.
  • You may want to stabilize a faced opening with stay tape (page link), if it’s an area that may stretch out over time.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine