Creating a clean edge around garment openings (arm holes, necklines, etc.) can be accomplished in many ways. One of those ways is called facing a garment. Today, we’ll be learning how to create and sew facings for necklines. An addendum for arm holes will be posted in the future.
- Fabric marker (pencil, chalk, etc.)
- Sewing gage
Start with your pattern pieces. Pictured are our back bodice piece (left) and front bodice piece (right). We will be focusing on the neckline area.
Draw in your seam allowances.
Pin your pattern pieces together at the shoulder seam, matching the lines you drew before.
Now you have one large piece to work with. By pinning the pattern pieces together we now have a continuous neckline.
Note: Feel free to cut the facing to each piece separately (don’t forget to cut the back piece on the fold) – I like this particular technique because it reduces bulk at the seams.
Pin your pattern to your fabric. Make sure the center back seam is on the fold. Cut around the neckline.
Ta da! Neckline cut!
Time to get out your fabric marker and sewing gage.
I like to make my facings anywhere from 2.5″ to 3.5″ wide – it is up to you. Set your gage and mark evenly all around your neckline cut.
Now, you are ready to cut your neckline facing.
Cut your fabric on the line you marked.
Now, you’ve got a neck facing.
Fancy Schmancy Tip: Cut a corresponding piece of interfacing for garments that need a little extra structure at the openings.
Serge the OUTER edge of your circle. You can serge the inner edge, but it isn’t necessary as much of it will be cut away later.
Fancy Schmancy Tip: Instead of serging the outer edge, sew a thin strip of bias tape along the edge. We use bias tape that is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ (of course, this is folded in half over the edge).
Pin the INNER edge of the facing to your neckline. Pay special attention to garments with openings (front or back). We have a front zipper opening, so we pinned all the way through the front seam allowance. Make sure you pin the facing to your garment so that the RIGHT SIDES are together. This is important as you’ll be flipping the facing to the inside of the garment later.
Run a line of stitches down the INNER edge of your facing. Use whatever seam allowance you’ve used for the rest of the garment – in this case, we used 5/8″.
Stitch the vertical edge of your facing by the garment opening. If there is a zipper, I recommend switching to your zipper foot so you can get close to the teeth (this will make sense later).
If your garment is continuous all the way around the neckline (wide neck design, or armhole for example) ignore this step.
Cut out notches around your neckline curve. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT. If you don’t cut notches in your curve, your neckline won’t lay nice and flat.
Turn the facing to the inside of the garment. Use a chopstick to make your corners sharp. Be careful not to poke through the corners.
Run a line of stitches about 1/8″ from the seam where the facing and garment neckline meet.
Flip your facing to the inside of your garment and secure it with the hand stitch of your choice. Make sure your stitch is delicate and only catches as much fabric as you need to – you don’t want your stitches visible on the outside of the garment.
Note #1: White thread was used for visibility when photographing for tutorial. Generally, use a thread that matches your garment for this step.
Note #2: This technique is not recommended for delicate fabrics like satins unless they have already been flat lined OR you are using silk thread and extraordinarily tiny hand stitches. This tends to create little “puckers” that are visible on the outside of the garment. If you need to face a satin garment, try securing your facing at areas where seams meet (shoulder, side seam, etc.)
Give your garment one more final pressing and you’ll have a lovely, faced edge that looks neat, clean, and professional.