What are Facings And Why Do We Use Them?

Why do we use facings?

Facings are used as a means to tidy up the raw edges in garments. They are often used at necklines, front openings and armholes of sleeveless styles. In general, finishing with a facing will result in a far neater finish than just turning over that edge by 1.5 cm and topstitching as you would a hem. You could also use a facing instead of applying a full lining.

One example of where I have used a facing is in my Balmain inspired dress: Make it: Sew a Balmain Inspired Knit Dress

neckline facing
An example of a neckline facng

What exactly are facings?

It is a layer of fabric that is sewn to the garment RST. It is the turned to the inside of the garment and lies flat so it is not seen. It is usually cut in the same fabric as the garment but may be cut in contrasting fabric for a decorative effect or if the fabric is too thick. Interfacing is often applied to the WS of the facing to provide structure and stability. The facing may be indicated by a separate pattern piece, however, it may also be included with the garment section and cut out with the garment section.

What are the different types of facings?

Shaped facing – When I say facing this is probably the type you will think of. It is cut in the same shape and on the same grain as the garment edge it will finish. It is stitched to the garment RST and then turned to the inside. It is used on necklines, armholes and waistlines.

Shaped facing
Shaped facing

Bias facing – This is where bias tape (homemade or shop bought) is stitched to the raw edge of the garment, turned to the inside and sewn in place. Unlike bias binding it is not seen from the outside of the garment. It is an alternative to shaped or fitted facings and can be used to save fabric.

bias facing
Bias facing (picture credit https://infectiousstitches.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/tutorial-how-to-perfectly-fit-bias-tape-to-an-armhole-or-neckline/)

All-in-one facing – This facing serves the same purpose as the shaped facing however it allows you to finish the arm holes and neckline in one go. It does not require a separate arm hole and neckline facing.

All in one facing
All in one facing (Picture credit: https://www.salmesewingpatterns.com/blogs/salme-blog/all-in-one-facing-method-2)

Extended facing – This facing is cut in one piece with the garment and folded to the inside. It is an extension of the garment fabric and is usually stabilised. It is used around openings to avoid the seam line produced by joining a separate facing, this reduces the bulk.

Extended facing
Extended facing(picture credit:http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/C233/welcome.html)

Outside facing – This is a facing that is visible on the right side of the garment. It is a decorative finish that hides the raw edges. It may come in the form of a narrow shaped facing or bias binding.

bias binding
Bias binding (picture credit:https://blog.colettehq.com/tutorials/how-to-sew-a-bias-facing)

To learn how to draft facings visit :How to Draft a Facing