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Sew Beautiful Facings

The Carpe Diem Dress and Tunic Pattern was introduced during the pandemic and we have written about its versatility often. But to my surprise, we have not shown the ins and outs of making a beautiful facing, one of the essential elements of a finely finished and easy to wear top or dress made with this pattern. This week seemed like the perfect time because finishes like facings and hems are the topic of next week’s virtual class in the Fabric Mart series on Sewing Great Clothes. Here are the steps to successfully sewn facings.

Finished look at a silk dress with facings

Prepare the Pattern and Fabric

Begin by cutting out or tracing the front and back facing pieces of the pattern in the size that corresponds with the size you cut out to make your dress or tunic. (There are different cutting lines for the dress with sleeves and the sleeveless/cap sleeve version.) If you have altered the shoulders or neckline in any way, for instance if your mock-up neckline was a bit too loose, be sure to make the same changes on the facings. Check out this video, which shows you how to make that change if you need a bit of fitting finesse.

Carpe Diem pattern and corresponding facing patterns

Cut Out the Facing and Supportive Interfacing

Choose the fabric you want for the facing.  While the facing is not seen, it finishes the neckline and also the armholes in the sleeveless version. Use the same fabric or a fabric that coordinates well with the fabric of your creation.  

To support the facing, make an interfacing sampler on scrap fabric to choose the best interfacing. Our previous post, Interfacing Intelligence, shows you how to do this and choose wisely. Our interfacing samplers give you fine fusible interfacing choices that range in weight, and one of them will work for your project. Choose an interfacing that supports the fabric and will keep things tidy through many cycles of wearing and cleaning.

Facings with Envy Silk Interfacing

Fuse the interfacing to the facing pieces before constructing the facing for insertion.

Finish the Edges Neatly

Finish the facing with a neat finish. In any Carpe Diem version, the facing will not actually be seen; it is hidden inside the dress. However, putting on a dress or top with beautiful finishes inside is a little gift, transforming an everyday dress or top into something special.

This silk dupioni Carpe Diem dress is a great example.  The fabric is quite ravely, and so even after it is interfaced, a nice finish was in order. In my stash of old neckties, there was one that matched so well that I used it to add a Hong Kong finish. Check out the blog post about clean finishes to see the step-by-step directions for this and other clean finishes for facings and hems.

The beauty of using an old tie for a hong kong binding is that it’s already cut on the bias. For the curved edges of the Carpe Diem facing, that is essential. 

This facing looks very couture inside the silk dress, which was the plan. The binding was also used to finish the seams. 

Construct the Facing and Stitch in Place

Once the facings have been supported and finished along their lower edges, sew them together at the shoulders and press the seams open. Lay the facing right sides together with the body of the Carpe Diem that has also had its shoulder seams stitched and pressed open. Pin the facing securely around the neckline curves and stitch it into place.

The facing is ready to be pinned to the neckline

After sewing the seam, grade the seam allowances and clip generously around the curves. Before edge stitching the seam to the facing, press the neckline carefully so the seam allowance is under the facing.  

Grade and clip the seam before turning to the back

Press the facing to the inside of the neckline and carefully pin the armhole edges of the facing to the corresponding armhole of the carpe diem. Now it is time to finish the construction.

Keep Your Options Open

There are three ways to finish the back of the Carpe Diem Dress—with no opening, with a keyhole opening, or with a zipper opening, which is the finish in this silk dress. Follow the directions in the pattern book to make a tidy facing finish on each of these options.

Keyhole neck finish

Check out Carrie’s V-Neck Carpe Diem blog to see an adorable coordinating fabric facing with a serged edge finish—a wonderful summer dress look.  Serging or a simple zig zag stitch are very reliable techniques used as well to finish the Carpe Diem facings securely.

Finished V-neck facing with understitching and serger finished edges

Happy Sewing, RAE

4 thoughts on “Sew Beautiful Facings

  1. Using men’s ties for binding is so clever and pretty. Sandi

  2. Place your fusible interfacing, fusible side facing outward, on the right side of your facing. Stitch a narrow seam on the outer edge. Clip or notch where necessary. I use pinking shears on outward curves. Turn the interfacing to the wrong side, smoothing along the seamed edge. Edge stitch along the edge of the facing to flatten. Fuse interfacing to facing. This results in a nice, smooth finish.

    1. Interesting alternative! Thanks Cathy.

  3. Using a Hong Kong finish on our facings will give our garments a real couture look! Thanks for this suggestion.

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