SEWING FACINGS | Perfect Round & V-Necks

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‘Let’s face it’ knowing how to sew a facing will make a big difference to the garment you are sewing.  Sewing facings just gives the finishing touch to the neckline. Mastering the technique of sewing a perfect round neck facing or a V-neck facing is always going to bring the best outward appearance to your dressmaking.

sewing facingsPinSewing Facings


What is Facing in SewingAlternatives to Sewing FacingsHow to Make a Facing PatternSewing Facings – RoundStep 1 – Preparing for Sewing facingsStep 2 – Sewing FacingsStep 3 – Trimming and TopstitchingSewing Facings – V-NeckStep 1- Start StitchingStep 2- Sewing the V-NeckStep 3 – Trimming and TopstitchingSewing Facings – In ConclusionRelated Articles

What is Facing in Sewing

Aim to “face-up’ to this task early on in the process of sewing facings to a beautiful neckline and you will be very pleased with the results.

If you are new to sewing and your pattern calls for a facing, you may be asking yourself what is facing in sewing? A facing in sewing is simply a strip of fabric used to finish and hide the raw edges of a neckline or armhole.

In simple terms, it will have the same shape as the neck or armhole and you will sew it to the outside of the garment with right sides together, clip any curves or corners and then press it to the inside, therefore making it invisible. Sounds easy, doesn`t it? Well, it is.

sewing facings, how to sew facingssewing facings, how to sew facingsPinSewing Facings

Alternatives to Sewing Facings

An alternative to sewing facings is to use bias tape or to fully line the garment. The disadvantage of full linings is that the extra fabric can be costly and it can add unnecessary bulk.

Further Reading:

How to sew bias tape necklinesHow to sew a v-neck with bias tape

types of facingtypes of facingPin

Read all about:

Types of Facings

How to Make a Facing Pattern

If your pattern does not include a facing it is easy to make a pattern piece for sewing facings.

Simply use the front or back pattern with the neckline as a guide and transfer the curve of the neck onto a piece of plain paper or tissue paper. Rolls of brown paper are useful to have in your cupboard for patternmaking larger pieces.

how to make facing patternhow to make facing patternPinSewing Facings – Patternmaking

Then mark the distance from the neckline to the outer edge of what will become your facing and draw the outer curve to complete the facing.

Generally, a facing will be 2-3 inches wide (5-7.5cm).

If necessary add seam allowance and markings too.

how to make a facing patternhow to make a facing patternPinSewing Facings – Patternmaking

Place the pattern piece on the front or back pattern piece to check and mark any direction arrows for the grain of the fabric.  The center front or back will be on the fold to match the center of the garment.

Sewing Facings – Round

I have shown you here how to sew neck facing, but sewing an armhole facing uses the exact same technique.

Step 1 – Preparing for Sewing facings

Cut out your facing according to the pattern.  Make sure you pay careful attention to all the notches and markings as accuracy is very important.

If your fabric is thin, cut out matching fusible interfacing and iron this onto the wrong side of each facing piece.  Remember to use a pressing cloth so that the sticky side of the facing does not get attached to your iron. Often a woven fusible facing is used as it is much softer and doesn`t cause any wrinkling in the fabric.

Step 2 – Sewing Facings

Stitch together the garment shoulder seams and the shoulders of the facing.

Sewing Facings - Join the ShouldersSewing Facings - Join the ShouldersPinSewing Facings – Join the Shoulders

Trim the seam edges and press them open ready to match with the neckline.

Sewing Facings - Press the ShouldersSewing Facings - Press the ShouldersPinSewing Facings – Press the Shoulders

TIP: Do not stitch up the side seams at this point as it is easier to do the facing when your garment is still flat.

If your fabric frays, neaten the outside edge of the facing with your serger or pinking shears. A simple zig-zag stitch will also work.

My mother always turned the outside edge over once and straight stitched it but I generally find this method a little tricky on really curved neck pieces. You will notice this method in many vintage sewing pattern instructions.

Sewing Facings EdgingSewing Facings EdgingPinSewing Facings Edging

Match the facing to the neckline with right sides together.  It is very important to match the shoulders and notched markings exactly to ensure the facing fits perfectly.

Pin with pins closely together and in a vertical position so they hold the facing firmly in place.

Sewing Facings - PinSewing Facings - PinPinSewing Facings – Pin

Further reading: How to pin fabric for sewing

Stitch in the normal way with the specified seam allowance, gently follow the curve of the facing.

Step 3 – Trimming and Topstitching

When you have completed the inside curve of the facing, then trim the edges and snip at regular intervals to allow tension in the neckline to be released.

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Press the facing to the inside of the garment.

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Open the facing away from the garment to complete the process with a line of stitching close to the edge of the facing piece.

This is called understitching and will ensure your facing lies flat when turned to the inside. Stitch ⅛ inch (3mm) from the seam line through the facing and seam allowance underneath. The outside of the garment should not be caught in.

Sewing Facings with an UnderstitchSewing Facings with an UnderstitchPinSewing Facings with an UnderstitchSewing Facings with an UnderstitchSewing Facings with an UnderstitchPinSewing Facings with an Understitch

The other alternative to understitching the facing is to do a topstitch.

Topstitch around ¼ inch (6mm) from the edge of the neck on the right side and through all layers (garment and facing).

Sewing Facings with an TopstitchingSewing Facings with an TopstitchingPinSewing Facings with an Topstitching

Once you have understitched or topstitched the facing, give it a final press to help the facing sit flat.

You might like to hand stitch a few little stitches to secure the facing at the shoulders when you have finished the garment.

sewing facingssewing facingsPinSewing Facings – Round Neck (OUTSIDE)

Sewing Facings – V-Neck

Step 1- Start Stitching

Follow step one and two of the round neck facing until you are ready to stitch the facing to the neckline.

Make extra sure the point of the V in the facing is exactly matching the V point on the garment.  Place a pin in this exact spot facing down, or use a removable marking pen to show where the tip of the V is when you are ready to sew.

Step 2- Sewing the V-Neck

Stitch down the side of the facing following the seam allowance until you reach the v spot marked.

Make sure the machine needle is in the material at this point.  Lift the foot of the machine and turn the fabric so that the machine can stitch one stitch straight across the V point.  It is necessary to make one straight stitch here before turning to continue up the other side.

Once again leave the needle in the fabric and lift the foot. Turn and stitch up the other side.  This will finish the V-neck stitching line.

Sewing Facings with a V NeckSewing Facings with a V NeckPinSewing Facings with a V Neck

Step 3 – Trimming and Topstitching

Clip into the V first of all and clip as close to the straight stitch as possible. (Read all about clipping in sewing)

Sewing Facings with a V Neck - ClippingSewing Facings with a V Neck - ClippingPinSewing Facings with a V Neck – Clipping

Trim each side of the facing and clip the curved edges to release tension.

Then press in the same way as the round neck facing.  Now you can topstitch or understitch your V-neck facing easing carefully around the point.

Press the garment and admire your handiwork.

Sewing Facings - V Neck (INSIDE)Sewing Facings - V Neck (INSIDE)PinSewing Facings – V Neck (INSIDE)Sewing Facings - V Neck (OUTSIDE)Sewing Facings - V Neck (OUTSIDE)PinSewing Facings – V Neck (OUTSIDE)

Sewing Facings – In Conclusion

A well- executed round or V-necked facing is always going to give a professional finishing touch to the garment you are sewing.  Follow the steps suggested in this tutorial for sewing facings, keep it neat and accurate and you will be sure to succeed.

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