A better way to sew linings and facings pt.2

Great comments from everyone, thanks! Hopefully this entry will tie things up neatly. We’ll start with Lisa’s comment in the first entry:

Did you do the shoulder for side A by laying the back inside the front? I’ve never done it that way.

No I didn’t but yes I have specific to side B. I did it that way on the straps of the leather inset bag. I uploaded a step by step photo tutorial specific to the part you mention.

Also, may I ask why you stitched the neck and armholes twice on side B? I usually stitch the shoulders first, lay it open and press the seams open, then stitch around the neckline and armholes.

I was surprised more people didn’t bring this up, good point Lisa. It would have been difficult to do it this way and make my points with the photo illustrations as compared to side A. Many times, you can sew it as you described if the fronts and backs are not whole pieces (joined at CF/CB). As it is, we were pretending that CB had a zipper (was a whole piece) and had to be treated as one. Something like a vest could be better sewn as you describe.

I have gotten into the habit of doing it like this for some other reasons too. A lot of things I’ve made are gunked up with doo-dahs, like those nailheads around the finished edge. I don’t like applying nailheads after the facing or lining is completely attached because this would mean that the prongs of the nailheads on the lining side would be visible (you can’t apply the nailheads before the facing is sewn on because you can’t get close enough to the edge of them). So, I partially sew on the lining/facing, reach in and apply the doo dahs up to just shy of that shoulder seam leaving it clear so it can be joined. Then I turn it, stitch the shoulder seam, finish attaching the facing/lining, turn it back out again and then reach in from the side to add the last few doo dahs that cross the shoulder seam to complete the design. No need to remark that it’s a lot of work. It is. And yes, I’m an idiot.

Grace wrote:

I noticed that you hadn’t inserted a zipper in the CB of your blouse. How will this technique work if I wanted to insert a CB zipper? Zipper first or last?

Being anal retentive, this is not simple to answer. In the usual course of affairs, it’s done in three separate stages of construction.

The first stage is sewing the CB seam just to the dot (see the center zipper tutorial). Then you sew in the zipper and set the back piece aside to do whatever else you’d do, like the shoulder seams so you can attach a collar or whatever.

The second stage of zipper sewing is when you finish off the neckline (presumably you’ve done the shoulder seams as in side B). You sew the facing to the zipper edge and then you sew the facing neckline edge (again, see the zipper tutorial).

The third separate stage is top stitching. You do all the top stitching where ever it may be, last. Or second last if you have button holes. Perhaps this is an industry habit, we often top stitch in another kind of thread.

Your other option in finishing this off (using Lisa’s example above) is to sew the CB seam and zipper after you sew the facing/lining to the neckline provided you have backed off sewing the facing at the CB neck edge the same way I backed off at the shoulder of the example in side B. Then you’d sew the CB seam, attach the zipper, sew the facing to the zipper edge and then finish the last bit of the cb neckline at the zipper top. Because I’m used to doing it the other way (side B) I wouldn’t do it like this. I’d do the CB seam, add the zipper, partially attach the facings, do shoulder gymnastics to join front to back, partially turn it and then finish off the neckline and armhole.

There is still another option, I do it this way too. I sew the CB seam, add the zipper, then join front to back at the shoulders. Then I’d attach the facing/lining to the zipper. Then I’d join the facing to the neckline edge only. Then I’d turn it and do sewing gymnastics by reaching in there to sew the front armhole of one side, then flip it to do the back side of the armhole and repeat for the other side. Of course, this would also entail backing off at the side seam as I showed for side B.

There is one last way to shorten the side B method (if it can be described like that). You can actually join the side seams of both facing/lining to each other and shell side seam to each other, before you start sewing the facing/lining to the neckline (again presuming it is sleeveless). If I’m working with a fabric that isn’t very stable, frays a little or has decorative effects that can be loosened under abrasion, I prefer this way. Actually, I prefer this way most because you can have it bagged at this point. Heck, I even tack the lining to the seams before I do the shoulders. Of course you have to leave one side of the lining open so it can be turned. You can do more seams in tandem this way without switching gears and it can look like a big mess but then you turn it and it’s done except for top stitching.

Continuing on with comments, Erin, thanks for the use of your image and the topic idea.

Patricia mentions she uses a variation of side B with the additional step of under stitching. If I’m working on a home machine, I nearly always under stitch too because I love the look of it. On the industrial, I don’t need to or rarely need to. Another option is to roll the seam edge slightly and press it before top stitching. If you won’t be top stitching (industrial or home machine) you will likely need to under stitch for a crisp edge finish because the seam itself should never be visible at the side view of the seam.

Obviously, all of this would make more sense if there were accompanying visuals but that’s not going to happen today. Hope you could follow along.

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  1. Hi Kathleen,

    You said, regarding under-stitching:
    “… If I’m working on a home machine, I nearly always under stitch too because I love the look of it. On the industrial, I don’t need to or rarely need to.”

    Why do you *not* need to under-stitch when you use an industrial machine?

    (thanks in advance for your answer, and pardon me if it’s obvious and I’m just not getting it :)

  2. Kathleen says:

    Hiya Pam, I should have been a bit clearer.

    If I’m not top stitching (regardless of machine), I’ll understitch (regardless of machine).

    If I plan to top stitch on the home machine, I will under stitch first. If I will be top stitching on the industrial, I won’t under stitch. The industrial has a lot more pressure to hold materials so you can easily roll the portion intended to lay inside ever so slightly (to the under side) while you’re top stitching. There’s no way to describe it, you have to experience it to feel the difference.

  3. Thanks Kathleen..I get it now :)

    …I had wondered if it had to do with pressure.
    I have sewn on both commercial and industrial machines (that is somewhat redundant)…and I know what you mean about describing the “action”. Industrial machines are so much more ‘robust’ in the way they hold and feed the fabric. I have one on my ‘wish list’ to acquire in 2010, when we expand the studio.

  4. Sonya says:

    Kathleen, thanks so much for these tutorials. For the life of me though, I cannot figure out how to turn the garment once the center back seam and shoulders are sewn, even though I have not sewn either neck edge or armhole edge all the way across the shoulder seams (as in B). I did have a look at the leather bag straps pictures, but I am no wiser. I can’t figure out what difference the gaps in the seams at the shoulders make in the turning process. Help!

  5. Kathleen says:

    Hi Carol, the button is itty bitty tiny and it’s only on the right side of the home page. It’s stuck between “about fashion incubator” and the book blurb. I’ll have to ask my web guy to bump it up and put it on all pages. thanks for the reminder!

  6. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    I’m confused. So the steps in side A are what and the steps in side B are what? I mean, in what order? I’ve done 1 or 2 tops that are sleeveless, but I’m confused on the order. Once I know, since it wasn’t clear to me, I’ll understand both these entries. :-)

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I just tried it out with my muslin and now I’m going to use this on my wedding dress.

    One question though, I’d like to use some piping around the neck-hole and I’m not quite sure how to incorporate that with this technique. Do you have any suggestions for tutorials or references to help me know how to use this technique along with piping?

  8. Tracy Mitchell-Björkman says:

    Hi! Sorry if I’m being really dense but I can’t figure out which openging you turn the whole dress right-side out through. That is after the shoulder seams are sewn and you’ve sewn the last bit of the neckline and armhole seams together. Do you somewhow pull the dress through one of the shoulder straps? Or both? I’ve read all the comments I’ve found and done a small mock-up but haven’t figured it out.

    Thanks for any help — I’m working on a sleeveless dress with a quite thin shoulder strap area, ca 1 inch.

  9. Kathleen says:

    At the very top of this entry, the second link is a separate photo tutorial which illustrates this. It is of a lined bag with straps but the concept is identical.

    The garment is turned right side out before the shoulder is joined, only that last little bit is pulled out for sewing. HTH

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