Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sewing the Neckline Facing


Sewing a facing is a great way of finishing the raw edge of the neckline on a garment. A slim-ish strip of fabric is cut to the same shape as the curve of the neckline, stitched, then rolled to the inside of the garment. Take a peek inside some of the clothes in your wardrobe if you can't visualise it - it's very likely you'll find a few neckline facings.

In this post I'll show you how to construct the neckline facing and attach it to the bodice, using the Mathilde Blouse as an example. (Need to catch up? All the steps so far are outlined here.) This is a looooong post, but all the individual steps are pretty quick, I promise.

Ready to sew? Let's go!



1) Your neckline facing pieces - front and back - should be interfaced. Match them up at the shoulder seams, pin together and stitch.


2) If your fabric is likely to fray, finish the shoulder seams using zigzag stitch or an overlocker. Press the shoulder seams open on both right and wrong sides.


3) The lower edge of the facing isn’t going to be stitched to anything – it just hangs free. So it needs to be finished to make it look a bit nicer and to prevent your fabric fraying all over the place. You can finish this edge however you like - zigzag stitch, using an overlocker/serger if you have one, attaching binding… or if you’re really lazy you can just snip it with some pinking shears – you’re the only one who’s going to see it anyway… ;) Don’t worry about finishing the ends of the facing – they’re going to be hidden away under the back opening when we get to that bit.



4) Stay stitch the upper edge of the neckline facing. (Mind the shoulder seams don’t bunch up or fold the wrong way when you stitch over them – it helps to hold them flat to the side of the needle when you’re stitching.)


5) Pin the facing to the neckline, right sides together. Start by matching up the shoulder seams and centre front - I like to make a tiny snip into the centre front of both neckline and facing to help with this bit. Then pin the rest of the neckline.


Once you’re happy that it all matches up, sew them together along the top of the neckline with a nice smooth curve. Smaller stitches can help navigate a curve, so you could change your stitch length to 1.5 – 2mm. (Again, be careful that the shoulder seams don’t bunch up or fold the wrong way when you sew over them.)

6) Before turning the facing to the inside of the neckline, we need to work a bit of magic. If you think about it, the curve of the upper edge of the facing is slightly longer than the neckline where it needs to be turned under. (Okay, so you don’t have to think about it if your brain is hurting – just trust me on this!) So we need to reduce the circumference of that raw edge a little bit. There are a couple of ways you could do this:


Option A) The traditional way for home stitchers to tackle a curved seam is to clip the curves. At the curved parts of the neckline, make little snips into the seams up to (but not over!) the stitching lines. These little cuts will allow the snipped pieces of fabric to overlap each other slightly when you fold the facing under.


Option B) Alternatively or additionally, you can trim the seams down to reduce the circumference of the curved edge. The advantage of this approach is that you don’t get all the annoying little flaps of fabric mucking about under your seamline. If you make one of the seams slightly wider than the other, the edges won’t by lying directly on top of one another, so it’ll be less bulky.


7) Press the seams and the facing away from the bodice.



8) "Understitch" the seams to the facing – this basically means stitching the seams and facing together, very close to the seamline, to help the facing roll to the inside of the garment and to keep the seams flat. To keep everything neat when understitching, pull on the fabric either side of the seamline slightly with your fingers.


9) Now we’re going to turn the facing to the inside. We don’t want to see the facing from the outside of the garment, so it needs to be “rolled” to the inside by a couple of mm – just enough so the seam line is visible from the inside but not the outside of the garment. A little trick is to use a bit of steam from your iron (without touching the iron to the fabric) to soften the fabric a little – this will make it easier to manipulate the facing and roll it to the inside. Now press it in place.


10) If you want to be extra certain that the facing isn’t going to roll to the outside, you could make a few little stitches at the shoulder seams – either by machine “in the ditch” (ie. hidden in the previous stitching lines) or catch stitches by hand.


Looking good!!!

20 comments:

  1. This blouse is so pretty! I keeping looking to this post and I wish I could find time for sewing this!

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  2. I love the tip about smaller stitches to navigate a curve... clever :)

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  3. I'd not realised about making stitch length shorter to go around curves - thank you ;)

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  4. I read the post about stay stitching, but I guess I didn't understand it. Why would you need to stay stitch for this?

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    Replies
    1. Stay stitching helps prevent the curve of the neckline facing from stretching out of shape.

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  5. In all the patterns that I've used with facing- it never stays put! After washing it gets all wrinkled up and wants to flip to the outside.
    To my knowledge, I installed it just like you did, except for the stay-stitching.
    Am I doing something wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Hmm... I'm not sure. Are you interfacing it? And you're definitely understitching it to the seams? Have you tried tacking it down with a couple of extra stitches at each shoulder seam?

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  6. Wow - you make everything look so professionally finished! And your tension is the same on both sides-I can never get the stitches to look that great. They will go for a few inches and then I'll end up with huge loops, and then it will go back to normal. This looks amazing, I'm so glad I signed up for your blog!

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    Replies
    1. I had that problem with my old sewing machine. What helped for me was keeping a very steady speed on the pedal. Or it could be how your bobbin is threaded...

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    2. Thanks for those tips, I'm going to try to pay more attention to both of those things and keep my fingers crossed it works :)

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    3. It's a good idea to test out the tension on a folded scrap of fabric before each stitching session - then adjust the tension wheel as necessary. It could also be the tension on your bobbin case.

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  7. Never used understitching till now, I always just topstiched all the layers together, but this looks so much nicer. Your tutorials are really great

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  8. Hello. Im sewing a dress and dont have any interfacing, can l use fabric instead and if so does it need stitching together? Thank you for a great website.

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  9. Dear Tilly, When would you finish a neckline
    with a neckline facing like you did here-
    http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2013/02/sewing-neckline-facing.html

    and with a bias strip like I found her-
    http://grainlinestudio.com/2012/02/15/sewing-tutorial-getting-flat-bias-necklines/

    Does it depend on the fabric or pattern? I don't suppose so and would love to hear what you think of it.

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  10. I am just doing this bit now but what's the seam allowance when you join the three pieces together? This is probably in my pattern somewhere so sorry!

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    Replies
    1. It's 15mm / 5/8". The same for all the pieces unless it says otherwise. Hope it's going well!

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  11. Thank you so much for this teaching blog! I started my first ever project earlier this year and it has lain unfinished for the past few months as I didn't understand my pattern's sparse instructions about the neckline facing. Your clear pictures and understandable instructions means that it is now finished, and with one done I think a few more projects can start!

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  12. In the pictures, the back part of neckline is splitted in half. When do you sew these pieces together? Could you give some more information about the back part of neckline?

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