Lets face it

Sorry for the punny title. Couldn’t get it to go away once it popped into my mind. Yes, I’m going to blather on a bit more about making facings where there were bindings, and linings where there are facings.

I like patterns without seam allowances because its easy to make changes quickly, as well as easy to put in just the seam allowance you really need, instead of cutting 5/8 of an inch and then cutting most of it off.  Yesterday’s hasty change, was adding a lining. With no seam allowances to plague you, a lining pattern is pretty much just subtraction. Cut away the facing part from the tracing of the main pattern and you have the lining pattern. Here’s the jigsaw.

What about lining ease, I hear you protest. (A lining, contrary to what anyone would naturally think has to be a bit larger than the outer garment it lines. If it isn’t, sooner or later there’ll be a rip. Underarm, centre back, or hip level will  shred.)

With a simple top you can get away with just stitching a little bit wide on the side seams, 1/8 inch, gives a half inch ease in the round, usually enough.

Most commercial patterns like this Vogue have seam allowances on. So, if you need to add a lining to something like the dress here, its a bit more long winded.

First, you need to find the stitching line of the bottom edge of the facing pattern in the size you’re making – I’m doing a 14. I’ve marked the cutting line in orange and the stitching line in greenThen you need to line it up over the dress pattern and trace off the fitting line, marked in green in the photo below. Your cutting line for the lining will be the depth of the seam allowance above this, so, 5/8 inch here, marked in orange.

In a sheath dress without a back zip, I’d add a small pleat to the CB for ease, but adding width at centre back with a zip is asking for the lining to catch in the zip when you struggle into it. I’d go for the side seam addition again on this one.

The pattern instructions call for stitching the facings round the neck and armholes and turning through the shoulders. With the side seams and the back seams open this works ok.  You can stitch the lining to the facing pieces before attaching them and pull those through the shoulders too.

Cutting facings instead of using binding can involve a bit of redrawing to find the fitting lines too. This pattern has princess seams and a faced centre back buttoned opening.

Vintage style, but the process is the same for any pattern with seams into a faced opening. Mark the fitting line where the princess seams cross at the neckline, marked in green below, side front panel to the left, centre front panel to the right.Then pin the fitting lines together and draw the facing round the neckThe back starts the same, with the princess seam overlapped so that the fitting lines are matching, but there’s a grown on facing at the centre back. To find the line where the back neck facing will stitch to this facing in a vertical seam, you need to fold the grown on facing back and fold its seam allowance out of the way.Folds marked in green. Once its folded back, the stitching line can be drawn on the back dress pattern. Turnings are added to the left of the stitching line, and then the facing can be drawn round the rest of the neck, orange line,  ready to be traced off for the facing pattern.

To sew, the back neck facing will be joined to the centre back grown on facing with a short seam, the shoulder seam of the facing stitched, all pressed open, and then stitched round the neck edge, clipped, understitched and pressed to the WS. More likely to get a neat result than binding, I think.

Its not a bad plan to put your pattern together on all the lines that it will be stitched before cutting the fabric, walking the seams against each other. The Vogue had a slight discrepancy between the size of the facing and the garment at the side seam.

While I was shuffling through old patterns looking for any to illustrate this post, I came across this one.Look how much clearer the sewing information on the pattern is, seam allowances drawn for you, darts given a fold line and a stitching line, numbered notches!Oh happy days.


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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