So… how do you make facings?

How to sew a facingI’ve been turning this over in my head -how does one make facings- for the last week or so and finally decided to risk looking stupid to ask about it. The reason being, many comments on Patternmaking Made Easy giveaway made reference to facings as being particularly vexing. No slight intended but until today, I didn’t understand what the big deal was.

So today I did a search for “facing draft tutorial” and found quite a few on the web, many of them prettily done. None of them tho, used any of the ways I’ve done it (pp 154-155 in my book) or have seen it done in the trade. I thought it a bit strange because you’d think that some of the usual suspects (who purport to have been industrial pattern makers or claim their “industrial friend” told them how) would have posted better information. Hmm. But no, all the tutorials I found are just like the ones in pattern books. So. Considering that you can search as well as the next person, have bought the same books and you still need clarification on the topic tells me that facing drafting isn’t as known as I thought.

So I guess my question is, of those of you who make patterns that end up on the factory floor, how do you make facings? If you have my book for comparison, do you follow the same concepts? I’m curious because when I was speaking to a CAD trainer once, she said that if you had 20 pattern makers in the room, they’d have 20 different ways to make a facing. My fear is that she may have been right!

A better way to sew linings and facings
A better way to sew linings and facings pt.2
All in one facing
All in one facing with fusibles and zipper insertion (forum)
How to sew V necklines with facings

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  1. theresa riess says:

    Kathleen, looking forward to the responses. Louise Cutting had a blurb on todays “Threads Insider” segment on facings. It is aimed at home sewers and had more to do with the facings shrinking up marginally after the interfacing is applied and throwing things off. Her advice was to cut the facing longer, apply the interfacing and then stitch facing and face fabric together, trimming off the excess.

  2. Chantelle says:

    I do not have an answer to your question, but I am interested to see the topic discussed. I was one of those people that said ‘linings’, not because it is the biggest difficultly, (although it is definitely a problem) but because it is the easiest to articulate. I feel like I know so little that I cannot even clearly define what it is I need to learn. I wonder if others felt the same.
    But I was thrilled to see the image of the vee neck facing, my sister just asked me to make her a vee neck blouse, and the example she gave me had solved the facing problem by putting a seam down the front and turning the neck edge under. So I will certainly be using the tutorial links.

  3. Donna says:

    When I was a kid learning to sew we used old cotton sheets for the interfacing. Fusible hadn’t been invented yet. The facing and interfacing were cut the same. Then the two were sewn together (1/4″ sa) on the outside edge, turned and pressed. Then the completed unit was sewn to to garment with those dreaded 5/8″ sa and trimmed by grading the garment side at 1/4″ and facing at 1/8″. (I think that is the correct order of cutting). Before pressing the facing was understitched. I still like the finish of this way of doing it on certain garments.
    Later when I took fashion design classes we toured a factory in Los Angeles and they were fusing large pieces of fabric and then cutting the facing and interfacing as one piece. Now I fuse before cutting also. It helps keep distortion in check. I now use 1/4″ sa and only do grading on heavy fabrics.

  4. Ramona says:

    I’m off topic here… Have you ever recommended pattern making books for a serious home seamstress? I have trouble with FBA’s in particular and would like to find an entry level pattern making text that would allow me to understand the basic build of the original pattern and create my own or alter patterns.

    I recently won two Japanese dress books from you. They are fantastic. I have a couple pieces planned for spring. Thanks so much!

  5. Sally Beers says:

    I make my facings like Kathleen in her book on pg 155 but I offset just 1/16″ (1/8″ for thick fabric or leather) on the neckline and don’t pivot so it’s 1/16″ shorter . This creates a facing cut line that’s smaller than the facing body cut line which is eased when sewn. Offsetting 1/16″ from the body makes a smaller curve which then turns inwards better after sewn. For thicker fabric I add back 1/16″ of the 1/8″ so there is just 1/16″ to ease in. Hope this makes sense.

  6. theresa riess says:

    Ramona, I have three or four basic patternmaking books and none of them in my opinion (and that is as a home sewer) really help in fitting. The Judith Rasband/Elizabeth Liechty books on fitting are far more helpful as the illustrations on pattern modifications are done using the basic sloper blocks.

  7. Donna says:

    I too, have used the Judith Rasband/Elizabeth Liechty book and couldn’t live/fit without it. The old out of print Singer books are also useful.

  8. Natasha E says:

    I don’t always do facings but when I do I allow for turn of cloth and make the facings slightly smaller by whatever the fabric dictates. However I don’t do them often nor am I a professional patternmaker.

  9. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    I did a blog entry on making facings, but I will correct it after reading the next entry/entries. I use the tricot kind of interfacing because it has the fewest problems in my experience and I preshrink it first. I was using French Fuse because it’s about 60″ wide instead of 22″, but my local store stopped selling it (I left them a comment card) and I haven’t been able to find it online. I nearly always forget to trim off 1/16″ or 1/8″ but they seem to turn out ok (not bad, but I don’t know how good they are) and I do understitch.

    I found a book at the library called something like The Complete Photographic Guide to Fitting by Sarah Veblen. It walks you through altering a bodice, a skirt, a jacket, and a pair of pants. It does sleeves but not much and doesn’t take into account that sometimes you have to scoop out the front armscye and flatten the back armscye. I’ll have to look for the books Theresa and Donna mention above.

  10. Adrienne says:

    I guess I hadn’t realized but it makes sense that we’d all bring a different spin to this edge finish! I used my facings to roll the edge of the shell just slightly to the inside. I do cut mine a touch longer, maybe that’s just a habit. I tend to make my facings deeper than what a typical store bought pattern would have… I hate when they pop out so I make them deeper to stay tucked in if there is no place I can anchor them with a tack. I don’t always understitch… I am a huge believer in sewing direction though. I sew down from the shoulder toward the neckline from each side vs pivoting at the v. Some fabrics I do in one pass but I am very picky about fabrics that smear in/out of place as you sew them. I do that with most seams, it’s a weird ocd of mine.

  11. Barbara says:

    The only place that I’ve seen facings, are on clothing constructed from commercial patterns. When I draft a pattern, if a lining is needed, I simply draft a pattern for the lining. And thanks to pages 154-155 of your book Kathleen, I am now doing it correctly. I admit I don’t like facings, they remind me too much of home sewing. I’m not knocking home sewing, it’s just too difficult & commercial patterns give me a headache. But if there is a way to do facings professionally, I will certainly try it, not that I’m a big fan. Can someone give me examples of facings sewn in clothing sold in retail stores? I’d like to take a look at them.

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