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How to Sew Facing

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Are you having hard time to sew facing as instructed on the pattern? From structured tops to elegant dresses, facings are mostly used to finish the edges around the neckline, armhole, and hemlines. 

When it comes to assemble the garment proper way, it may look confusing as a beginner as facings are often cut from the same pattern pieces as the outside shape. However, the facing add an essential layer of support that the garment structure needs.

How do you sew facing? Facing is a piece of fabric that is used to finish the edges and openings of garments. Attach facing with the right sides together, pins along the edge and only stitch the side seams instead of along the shoulder seams.

As a beginner, it is crucial to prepare the sewing machine in order to accomplish finish edges neatly. Whether you are creating facing from scratch or following the sewing pattern, make sure to use sharp scissors to duplicate the cut line for DIY clothes to attach easily when sewing. 

Whether you own Singer or Brother sewing machine, sewing facing requires same technique and it is easier than it looks. Depending on the fabrication and opening shape of the clothes, there are various ways to execute nice clean finishes on all your garments. 

What is facing?

To learn how to finish any garment in this way, you need to know the purpose and meaning of the facing. 

Facing is a fabric piece that helps to finish the edges of garments. Mostly used to line open areas such as armholes, neckline, openings or even rear and front plackets amongst others.

Facing is done by cutting on the same grain as the garment. The objective is to ensure uniformity and make sure that it will hang and wear uniformly without any jagged edges. 

Based on the style of clothing, facings are also shaped and cut to match the outside designs, which goes a long way in helping to get that neat finish. In most cases, they are cut by making use of the same pattern pieces.

Expert Advice: When attaching facing to the clothes, place right sides together and pins along the edges machine to secure the fabric and achieve clean finishes.

Types of Facing in Sewing

Before starting to sew, it’s crucial to understand the pattern instructions and know the type of facing being used on the project. Generally, all types of facings are prepared before stitching together the garment. 

However, there could be situations where interfacing is applied after the garment has been seamed. 

Depending on the types of facing, there are three kind that are most commonly used: extended facings, shaped facings and bias facings.

Extended Facing

An extended facing is cut to extend the garment and then folded back along the edge it finishes. It is most often used with front and back openings of the garment on a straight line. 

Any fusible interfacings may need to be attached on the extended facing depending on the quality of fabric.

  1. Stitch facing and bodice with extended facing pieces together and press. Finish the facing edges as tutorial is indicated. 
  2. Clip seam allowances on any narrow areas. 
  3. Turn the facing inside and press.
  4. Under stitch the seam allowance about ⅛” and fold the facing along the fold line to match the right sides together. 
  5. Stitch along the neckline seam and reinforce the stitch along the folded line.

Shaped Facing

A shaped facing is a piece of fabric cut from the same shape and on the same grain as the garment. Interfacing is applied for light to medium weight fabric prior to sewing. 

This type of facing is widely used in neckline and armhole prepared from one piece of separate fabric. Make sure it is only stitched at the side seams instead of along the shoulder seams.

  1. Sew the edges to the garment and join any facing seams together. 
  2. Use overlock or hemming as indicated prior to stitching it on the garment along the facing edges.
  3. Place right sides of the facing and garment together.
  4. Match seams and notches to stitch the facing to the garment with facing side up .
  5. Press the seam allowance toward facing, perform stay-stitch or under stitch on the facing.

Bias Facing

Bias facing is a narrow strip of lightweight fabric that is cut on a bias so it can curve comfortably when finished. Often these facings are used with sheer fabrics to avoid wide facings that may show through. 

Due to using ½” wide bias strip, it helps to eliminate heavy bulky seams. 

  1. Cut the bias strip twice as wide as the desired finished width plus the width of two seam allowances. 
  2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. 
  3. Press with iron to shape the strip same as the opening.
  4. Stitch the strip to the garment.
  5. Trim any excess seam allowance and clip curve lines as needed. 
  6. Turn the facings to the inside and under stitch. 
  7. Trim the ends and turn under ¼” around the opening and slipstitch the edge of the facing to the inside of the garment. 
step by step on how to sew facing on clothes

How do you use facing in sewing?

Use of facing would depend on a number of factors, it could be for professional purposes or for homemade uses. However, there are some standards that one should follow when it comes to facing your garment. 

By following this you can be sure that the facing will smoothly fit without any jagged finish. 

The main purpose when using facing in sewing is to ensure that it should not be visible externally, even when the garment is completed and finished.

The facing should not be a different size or shape, and the grain should also be the same when compared to the edge that has to be completed. Further, also ensure that the entire facing is also smooth, flat, and there should not be any bulk.

In case the bulk forms along the joined seams, you could either notch or trim out the excess seam fabric. This will help to have a smoother and clean outer appearance. 

Furthermore, the edges on the outside of the facing must also be finished as well. Ensure that you know that the right and appropriate method is chosen in line with the fabric being used to prevent curling or unraveling.

What is self-facing in sewing?

On the other hand, inside facing can be used in other color or types of fabrication for decorative purposes. However, it is mostly used same fabric as the garment which is called as self facing.

Self-facing is a common term used in sewing as a method of cutting facing from the same fabric that has been used for the garment as a whole. 

There are a few terms that one must be aware of when making DIY clothing. Self facing is a sewing term that you should become familiar with.

Do I have to stay stitch?

It is important to stay stitch immediately after attaching facing to the garment, before moving on to assembling other pieces. The stay stitch technique prevents unnecessary stretching from happening to the fabric, especially along the curved facing seam line. 

If you are adding stay stitch along the curved areas, use a smaller stitch, a length of 2.0 or less to keep the curve edges smooth on one facing so on the right side you won’t see the stitching. 

It is done basically with the main objective of preventing distortion. This is important because the cuts often have a tendency to cut across and along the bias, which is that part of the fabric that gets stretched to the maximum.

Sewing Facing Tips and Techniques

In fact there are different techniques and methods that are used when it comes to sewing facing. You can choose the one that meets your specific needs and requirements. 

Here are tips and techniques to accomplish perfect facings to your new clothes:

  • Choose a black interfacing for dark color fabric and white interfacing for light colors.
  • Shaped and bias cut facings can be used with lighter fabric rather than the actual self fabric to reduce bulky seams.
  • When you are altering the pattern, make sure to also update the facing and interfacings to match.
  • Always interface the facing when it contains buttonholes.
  • Clip inward curves and notch outward curves to create flat and smooth facing.
  • For knit fabrics, select a knit interfacing instead of woven interfacing to have the same elasticity of the fabric content.
  • Use same finishes that applied to seams when finishing facing on the outer edges.
  • Tack facings only at seams and avoid hand stitching the outer facing all the way around.
  • When sewing zippers, finish facing over the zippers and then add hook and eye or button snaps to close properly.

The most common facing sewing tips and techniques involve seam finishings, use under and stay stitching to execute the basics. If there is a zipper or button closures added to the facing, follow the pattern instruction for the best results for that design.

Sewing Facing: Final Thoughts

Facing is a great finishing method to give a clean finished appearance to the inside of the garment. Understanding the different types of facing does help to accomplish the look as you desired.

In addition, the type of facing method that you use is based on the outcome you desire. Depending on the scenario, the three kind of facing commonly used are extended facings, shaped facings and bias facings.

Self facing is made with the same fabric as the rest of the garment, however facing doesn’t always have to match.

The purpose of sewing facing on neckline, armhole, of button closure is to give support, structure and strengthen an opening. Follow the sewing steps and tips to execute professional looking DIY clothing on each facing style.

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