The types of facing of a garment is a really important part of ensuring quality and a neat finished product. A facing is usually used around the neck, a sleeve opening, on a cuff, or sometimes around the waist to produce a clean edge that will not fray.
Why Use Different Types of Facing
Here are several reasons to use different types of facing in your sewing projects.
- A really neat facing finishes off the raw edges around necklines, armholes, and waistbands.
- Facings make a difference to the neatness, style, and finish of a garment.
- Facings give the finishing touch and professional look and accentuate features like necklines and armholes.
- Facings can show on the outside as part of the decorative finish.
Basic Principles of Facing
The basic principle behind a facing is a cut piece of fabric to neaten the raw edge of a garment. The facing may be included in the pattern pieces and cut out of the fabric used for the whole pattern.
The Value of Using Interfacing for Facings
Adding interfacing stiffens the facing and gives it more body. The interfacing is applied to the wrong side of the facing, whereas the facing is stitched to the right side of the garment.
The interfacing prevents stretching and distortions of the neckline or other faced edges. It adds firmness to the faced edges.
The iron-on interfacing is ironed onto the wrong side of the facing fabric. Self-made interfacing could be made from the same fabric or another fabric that is lighter than the main fabric. Look for darker interfacing for darker colors. If your seams are bulky, you can cut the interfacing away from the edge slightly. Otherwise, the interfacing is sewn into the seam.
Here are 7 Different Types of Facing
Types of Facing #1 - Shaped Facing
The shaped facing is cut in the same shape as the part of the garment it is going to neaten. Commonly this is for a round or v-neck.
There is usually a pattern piece included in the pattern if you are using a commercial pattern.
The shaped facing is usually made of the same material as the garment, as it will show slightly on the very edge. It follows the same grain as the fabric to match the grain of the overall garment.
Sewing Tips for Using a Facing Pattern
Generally, the shaped facing is attached to the right side of the garment. It is stitched in place, snipped at the edges to allow for some give around the curves, and turned inwards to fit on the wrong side of the garment. The edges are neatened by being turned over sightly and machine stitched.
Further Reading: Sewing Facings
- The facing pattern must be cut on the same grain of fabric as the main piece of the garment. This prevents the fabric from hanging differently at the garment section and the facing piece.
- Cut the facing from the same fabric or a lighter-weight of fabric. The facing should never be heavier than the main piece of fabric.
- Finish the edges of the facing before you attach the facing to the garment. The edges can be overcast or zig-zagged to neaten them. This will prevent the fabric from fraying.
- An iron-on interfacing added to the facing piece gives the facing some extra body.
- Finish the zip and other openings before adding the facing piece.
How to Make a Facing Pattern
- Place a piece of paper 10” x 10” (25x25cm) under the paper pattern. Place pattern weights on the paper pattern to keep it in place.
- Use a pen to mark the neckline shoulder slope and center seam point of the neckline or armhole. You will need to add on 2.5” (6cm) for the outer edge of the pattern piece measuring the lines from the neckline you drew to make the bottom edge of the facing.
- Add seam allowances if necessary.
- Join the curve markings from the shoulder point to the midpoint of the facing. Cut out the pattern piece with the added 2.5” (6cm) for the width of the facing. Check the main pattern piece for the straight grain arrow.
- Now you have made a facing for your pattern, label it, adding on your pattern number as you store it with all the other pattern pieces.
Types of Facing #2 - Bias Tape Facing
The bias tape for this facing can be store-bought or self-made. t comes in two types known as single fold or double fold bias tape. Store-bought tape comes in a variety of colors and widths but rarely patterned fabrics.
The single-fold is folded in half across the width to make it half the original width. The double fold is created by folding the single fold edges a second time to meet the crease in the center from the first fold. This makes the tape a quarter of its original width.
If you decide to make your own bias tape a useful gadget is a bias tape maker.
You slip the precut tape into an opening in the bias maker which has a U shape. The fabric passes through the U, and the gadget turns the sides to the center. It is important to choose the bias maker to be the correct size you require because it can only make one size. The strips of fabric you cut for the bias maker should be cut on the diagonal so they have some stretch.
Tips for Bias Makers
Here’s a tip to help choose the correct width for your bias tape using a maker.
Look at the top of the packaging of the bias tape maker. If the packaging says 25mm (1”) then this will make 1” single fold tape or ½” double-fold tape. This means the fabric strip fed into the maker must be double the 1” amount to start with because you will feed it into the tape maker and it will be turned in half through the U shape of the marker.
MORE ARTICLES ON BIAS TAPE
Steps to Sewing a Facing with Bias Tape
- STAY STITCH - Cut out the pattern and then prepare the neckline. If necessary, stay stitch the curved edges to prevent these edges from stretching. The curved edges are cut on the bias, and this is why they stretch. Sew the stay stitch inside the seam allowance.
- SEW SHOULDERS - Sew from shoulder to center and then switch sides and sew from the other shoulder to the center.
- CUT THE BIAS - Take the double-fold bias tape and prepare enough to go around the neckline or faced area. Add on 4 inches (10cm) to the length of bias required. This allows for some give as the bias fits around the curved edges of the neckline.
- MATCH CENTERS - Mark the center point of the measured and cut bias tape and place that point right sides together at the center point of the neckline or armhole.
- OPEN BIAS - Open up the tape and match the raw edge to the raw edge of the opening. Pin the bias tape all the way around to the back of the neck opening. Continue until the two ends of the bias meet at the center back. Pin the two pieces of tape together, ready to sew at the back.
- STITCH ENDS - Remove a few pins from either side of the center back edge and stitch the ends of the binding together. Trim if necessary, press the binding seam open, and pin it back in place. Now you are ready to sew the binding around the neck edge.
- STITCH BIAS SEAM - Sew the binding around the neck edge along with the first of the three pressed lines of the binding.
- PRESS - Gently press the binding along the fold that was stitched. Press the bias up and away from the garment, but do not press out the fold. A few small snips into the seam will help to ease the binding over difficult corners.
- TRIM - Trim away the extra seam allowance using small scissors to make sure there is no chance of trimming the fabric of the main garment.
- REFOLD - Then refold the bias facing to the wrong side and press down.
- STITCH - Stitch the bias tape on the edge through all layers. For an invisible finish on the outside, press the bias slightly over the stitching and stitch in the ditch on the outside.
- V NECKS - See my tutorial on how to sew a v neck
Types of Facing #3 - ‘All-In-One’ facing
The ‘all-in-one’ facing is used to neaten a dress or blouse that does not have sleeves. The ‘all-in-one’ does the job of neatening the neck and the armhole using one facing for both areas.
Steps for Sewing an ‘All-In-One’ Facing:
- Cut the facing out of the dress fabric and iron on the interfacing on the wrong side.
- Match the shoulder seams of the facing and stitch in place. Press the shoulder seams open.
- Place the right sides of the garment together and stitch the shoulder seams. Press shoulder seams open.
- Place the right sides of the facing and the garment together and stitch the neckline together. Trim and clip into the curves of the neckline.
- Lay the garment flat and pin the armhole together and machine stitch the armhole. Trim and clip the armhole. Repeat for each side.
- Turn the garment to the right side.
- Machine stitch the side seams of the garment. Right sides together along the side seam allowance and under the armhole part of the facing.
There is your ‘all-in-one’ facing done and side seams completed too.
Types of Facing #4 - Extended Facing
An extended facing is cut with an addition at the side to neaten a center front or back opening. It is primarily used to neaten the front or back of the garment when buttons or some fastening are required.
The pattern markings denote the folding of the facing, and it is neatened to fold back and support the front or the back opening.
Types of Facing #5 - Outside facing
The outside facing is visible on the right side of the garment. It is used as a decorative finish and hides the raw edges of the neckline or armhole.
The outside facing could be a narrow-shaped facing or a bias-cut facing. It is initially stitched on the wrong side and folded forwarded to the right side, and finished off showing on the right side of the garment.
Types of Facing #6 - Hem Facings
Hem facings are separate pieces of the patterned fabric or bias trim used to finish off the hem. Hem facings, using bias tape, are particularly useful for circular hems and full skirts. A hem facing may be used to extend the hem of a dress.
Types of Facing #7 - Placket Facing
The placket is an opening used in trousers, skirts, and on cuffs to create a tighter fit to the garment. Zips, buttons, hooks, and buttonholes are used to keep the placket closed.
The following points should be considered when sewing a placket.
- The placket needs to be as small and as flat as possible.
- The type of placket must be in keeping with the style and shape of the garment.
- Plackets need to be strengthened to allow them to support fastenings.
- The opening of the placket must be easily accessible and comfortable to fasten.
Types of Facing - In Conclusion
It is safe to say, ‘Let’s face it’. There is more to learn about the types of facing than meets the eye. Don’t brush off the idea of a facing because the humble facing can lift your garment from amateur to professional levels.