Saturday, July 3, 2010

~tricks of the trade: all-in-one facings~

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 a fan of lining right to the edge of a garment because a) it is noticeable, and b) it doesn't wear very well.  Normally I would use self-fabric facings, but here I am using some black lightweight wool because I didn't have enough tweed for the facings!


First check your pattern is correct, or draft your own facing - trace around your pattern pieces, and cut about 2-4mm off the neck and armhole edges for cloth allowance.   Sketch in your lower edge something like the shape above, and add a seam allowance to this edge if you are going to attach lining to it. 
Before cutting your facings, blockfuse them - facings are one area where blockfusing really shows its worth!
Sew the shoulder and side seams of your outer shell, including inserting the zip.
Sew the shoulder and side seams of your facings.
Press seams open.
Sew facing to zip edge first as in this tutorial
Sew facing to dress along neckline, clip, understitch and press.  Your seam should now lie 1-2mm inside 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 right, you can trim it slightly (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 them together with my fingers, and pull them through.  This way you end up with the right sides together the way you want to begin sewing:

Start sewing at the shoulder seam:


and sew down to the side seam, and up the other side, matching any notches and manouvering the fabric 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 or you could mishape the armhole.


Sew right to your start 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 your shoulder strap is wide you will be able to understitch right around the armhole, for this style I could only stitch to within 3cm of the shoulder seam:


Press, and admire your work! 

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!

10 comments:

  1. Thank you dear Sherry for another great toutorial!

    Yesterday night I spend about one hour to work myself through your blog and your toutorials, great.

    I have sewn a similar dress like yours last year and it took me a few days of thinking, how to insert the lining, after all the thinking it is not as nice as yours.

    I think I haven't really understand the armhole-thing, maybe just trying out myself will help...

    Manuela

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  2. verry nice - it's always great to see how to get a professional finish on something - sometimes I like my own brand of home-made wonk but mostly I think, I would really really like to know how to do this properly..

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  3. Ah, thank you! An especially big thank you for including the little tricks and tips that are so handy to use but oh so hard to find out about in books...

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  4. Thanks for giving your thoughts on facings. I have been just lining to the edge of dresses. Must give this a try.

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  5. Another great tutorial - thanks! I don't really like pulling through and sewing like this if I can avoid it though, so I always try to do facings by sewing shoulder seams only on garment and facings, then sewing them together at the neckline and armholes (leaving a gap at the beginning and end so I can sew the side seams, then finish the facings) and pulling the garment right way out through the shoulder seams before understitching and so forth. Is there a reason you don't do this that I should know about? It is such a treat to get these tricks from an expert!

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  6. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm just about to start a dress, in which I'll probably use an all-in-one-facing. But I always thought the shoulder seams have to remain open when you start putting the facing in. I don't quite understand how you are twisting and sewing the armhole. I'm confused.

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  7. Judy - I like the method you mention because everything is flat when you sew and this minimises distortion. And you can still understitch the neckline before you sew the armholes.
    The few reasons I can think of not to do it this way is if your shoulder strap is too narrow to thread the whole back panel through, or you want to insert a CB zip first. Also there is some double handling as you need to go back and finish off the neck and armhole edges, which is fine unless you're in a production line!
    As long as you are getting good results I wouldn't change!

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  8. Stephanie - it is a bit confusing! I really needed more photos but couldn't hold the camera at the same time. From photo 4 I am basically turning the shoulder strap inside out, so the front strap lies between the back strap and facing.
    There is a method where the shoulder seams remain open, and BurdaStyle have a tutorial for this on their site - but you can't understitch the complete neckline using this method, which is preferable in my opinion.
    As you can see there are a few different ways! Also consider Judy's method above - I think it is quite straightforward.

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  9. Thanks for this and your other great tutorials! I especially liked the ones about turn-of-cloth allowance and collar drafting. I just came across your blog recently and it is one of my new favorites!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I really enjoy hearing your thoughts and feedback every time I post!