What Are Facings?

Hey, you!

The neckline and armholes of sleeveless garments are going to need a pretty finish.

And when it comes to finishing these edges, you’ve got options, of course.

In this article, I will share the three ways you can finish an edge. And I will be sure to share the ugly and the good on those options.

So if you’re ready, let’s discuss the…

Types of Facings

In a garment, neckline and armhole edges have to be finished in some manner. And there are basically three ways this is done…

  1. Shaped facings
  2. Extended or grown-on facing
  3. Bias facing

Shaped Facings

A shaped facing is simple: Ideally, it is drafted to be the same shape and size as the edge it will finish.

There are two types of shaped facings:

  • Separate facings: the neck and armhole edges are finished separately; and
  • Combination or all-in-one facings: both neck and armhole edges are finished in one go!

Here’s an image of separate facings. Yes, you need FOUR separate facings to finish ONE bodice!

separate shaped facings

Before I move on, I have a confession to make…

I loathe, abhor, detest, despise those little beasties, otherwise known as separate shaped facings!

And with good reason…

First, they’re often drafted poorly — too small or too big. So if you decide to play with them, then I advise you to draft them yourself after you’ve adjusted your sewing pattern to fit you.

Second, sometimes even after they’ve been understitched, they still will not stay where they belong, which is INSIDE the freaking garment! They can’t help peeking over the edge of a garment to take in the outside world. I hate nosy facings!

Third, they look very floppy, untidy and just plain fugly on a finished garment hanging on a clothes hanger! Yes, they do!

So for these three reasons alone, I just don’t have anything to do with those pesky, little beasties. In fact, as soon as they cross my path, I crush them like the bug they are and trash them! No guilt!

As for combination or all-in-one facings, they are definitely more loveable! Below is an image of a self-drafted combination facing:

combination facing

And if I have no other choice but to use a shaped facing, then a combination facing is the way I swing ALWAYS!

Extended or Grown-On Facing

Extended or grown-on facings are extensions of a garment piece, rather than a separate pattern piece that has to be stitched on.

grown-on or extended facing

With these types of facing, first, you stabilize the edge with interfacing, and then you fold it to the inside of the garment.

Extended facings are usually found in jackets; they are ideal for the straight edges of heavier fabrics.

Bias Tape Types

Bias tapes are lightweight fabric cut on the true bias for wovens.

There are three types of bias tapes:

  • Single fold;
  • Double fold; and
  • Half or French fold.

A single fold bias tape has both long edges folded in towards the center. In other words, it has two folds.

And it comes premade in two sizes: (a) ½-inch wide and (b) 1-inch extra wide.

single fold bias tape

A double fold bias tape starts out life as a single fold. Then, it is folded exactly down the center or ever so slightly off center.

Premade double fold comes in the following widths:

  • ¼-inch wide;
  • ½-inch extra wide; and
  • 7/8-inch extra, extra wide (also known as quilting binding).

double fold bias tape is slightly wider on one side

As for a half or French fold bias tape, I’ve never seen this in any store by this name.

So when I want to go French, I make it myself.  Click HERE to learn how to make and apply bias strips!

And I made one just for you. Behold…

French or Half Fold Bias Tape

A French fold is just a bias strip that has been folded in half lengthwise with wrong sides together (WST) and pressed.

In the image of above, I cut a 2-inch wide bias strips and then folded it in half lengthwise.

With this type of bias tape, lightweight fabric is the only way to go to avoid fugly, frustrating, bulky nonsense when finishing a curved edge.

And do you know what I love about it?!

You can apply it essentially the same way you would a single fold bias tape.

Plus, you can use it as flat piping too!

Bias Facing vs. Bias Binding

Here’s a distinction that I found rather interesting…

If you use a single fold bias tape to finish an edge in place of a shaped facing, then it is referred to as a bias facing. Typically, it is applied from the right side (RS) and then folded to the wrong side (WS) just like a facing. In other words, it will not be visible from the RS of the garment.

And if you use a double fold bias tape to finish an edge in place of a shaped facing, it is called a bias binding. Because it encloses or binds the raw edge, which means it is visible from both the RS and the WS.

Sew easy tip: When working with knit strips, they are cut on the cross-grain and are just called binding strips.

Okay, let’s talk about why you will love bias facings…

Bias Tape Facings: The Pros!

The beautiful thing about bias tape facings is this:

They add no bulk to your edges if they are made of a lightweight fabric.

But there’s even more to love…

They are more comfortable to wear!

Plus…

They can be functional or a design element!

Plus…

They are so versatile that you can use them without a lining or in combination with a lining. Sweet!

Plus…

They make for a prettier view when your garment is hanging on a clothes hanger!

You have to admit that’s a lot of pluses!

Okay, I think you get the idea, so let’s move on to…

The End

The neckline and sleeveless armholes of a beautifully constructed garment have to be finished in some way.

In this article, you’ve learned the three types of edge finishes: (1) shaped, (2) extended or grown-on, and (3) bias facings.

And you’ve learned the ugly on separate, shaped facings and the extremely dreamy good on bias facings.

Alright, if you’re ready, it’s time to learn how to apply a bias facing and how to understitch!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to make and apply bias tape!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn other basic sewing skills that will allow you to sew garments that you are proud to flaunt!

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