While I was making my grey tweed dress, I thought I’d also make a tutorial on how to sew an all-in-one neck and armhole facing. I have noticed a few facing-phobic sewers out there in blogland – so hopefully this will help someone!
I am a big fan of facings – if they are well designed and correctly sewn they give a stable professional finish. I’m not usually a fan of lining right to the edge of a garment because a) it is cheap, b) it can be noticeable, c) it doesn’t wear so well, and d) self- fabric facings are just beautiful – full stop!
Normally I would use the same fabric, but here I am using some plain black wool because I didn’t have enough tweed for the facings. The wool is also a lighter weight than the tweed which is an added advantage as you don’t want your facings to be bulky. I guess that is one advantage of using lining (but I still don’t like it!)
First, check your pattern is correct, or draft your own facing – trace around the neckline/armhole area of your existing pattern pieces, then cut about 2-4mm off the neck and armhole edges to allow for cloth allowance
. Transfer all neck and armhole notches to the facings. Sketch in the lower edge something like the shape above, and add a seam allowance to this edge if you plan on adding a lining.
Before cutting your facings, blockfuse
them – facings are one area where blockfusing really shows its worth!
Sew the shoulder and side seams of your dress, and insert a centre back invisible zip. Sew the shoulder and side seams of your facings. Press seams open.
Now sew the back facings to the zip edge as in this tutorial
, then sew the facings to the dress neckline, clip, understitch and press.
Remember that 2-4mm you removed from the facing pattern? Well now it’s performing it’s magic – as you press, your seam will easily roll 1-2mm to the inside of your dress like this:
Now check your armholes – if you have estimated cloth allowance correctly, the raw edges of your facing should lie 2-4mm short of the shell as it does below. If you haven’t got it quite right, you can trim it slightly now (unless you are working in production, when you inform the patternmaker!).
To bag out the armhole, start at the shoulder:
I usually fold the seam allowances inwards (as above), then reach up between the facing and shell and pinch the seam allowances together with my fingers, and pull them back through. This way you end up with the right sides together in the position you want to begin sewing:
Start sewing at the shoulder seam:
Sew down to the side seam, and up the other side, matching any notches and manouvering the fabric inch by inch as you go. It is important to align all notches and seams so that no twisting occurs, and try not to stretch the fabric around the curves. Take care also not to catch other layers in your stitching!
Sew right around to your starting point at the shoulder seam:
Clip, turn, then understitch the facing (to understitch, stitch through facing and seam allowance, 1mm from seam – shown below). Begin at (or as close as you can) to the shoulder seam, stitching down towards the side seam and up again to the shoulder seam, as far as you can neatly go:
If the shoulder strap is wide you will be able to understitch completely around the armhole but for this style (the straps were about 4cm wide) I could only stitch to within 3cm of the shoulder seam.
Press, and admire your work. Both seams should roll towards the inside, so the facing is invisible from the outside – perfect!
I hope this helps in your sewing! As usual, I am happy to answer any questions in the comments.
And in case you are wondering, the boucle check fabric is soon going to be a Chanel jacket!