Creating a Minifacing
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I was working on a dress the other day that has a square neckline at the back. There’s a boatneck across the front; at the shoulders the neckline drops vertically then squares off before the two sides meet at the center back.
I generally don’t use separate sewn-on facings – instead, I leave a wide seam allowance, staystitch the seamline, then turn the seam allowance back and catchstitch it to the underlining to hold it in place. It’s a standard couture treament.
Of course, curved seamlines need to be clipped, and when there’s a sharp angle, the clipping for that needs to go right into the corner.
While the seam allowance will eventually be covered with the lining, those clipped corners are still a little bit vulnerable. Once the seam allowance has been clipped and folded back, there’s not of lot of support there (while the underlining helps, there’s still a chunk of fabric missing). Further, the bigger problem, especially with fabrics that fray easily, is that it’s hard to control the raw edges of the fabric that’s been clipped. Even with the lining in place, it’s easy for those tiny threads to work their way out from under the lining and become visible.
It’s very, very subtle – but fine sewing is made up of such subtleties – and happily, in this case, there’s an easy solution: a small piece of silk organza (or something similarly firm and lightweight) – can be used to create a facing right where it’s needed – right at that clipped vee.
I’ve made some samples to illustrate the process.
We’ll begin with the standard treatment:
The fashion fabric and its silk organza underlining have been hand basted together, right along the stitching line.
The seamline is then machine stay stitched.
After stitching, the basting is removed.
The vee has been clipped, right into the corner, as close to the staystitching as possible.
After pressing, the seam allowances have been catch-stitched to the underlining; the corner is already beginning to fray.
The fraying is visible from the right side.
Here’s a better way to do things:
A small piece of silk organza, serving as a facing, is pinned to the right side of the fashion fabric.
It’s machine stitched into place, right along the staystitching line.
Then it’s clipped right into the corner, again, as close as possible to the staystitching.
The facing is folded back; organza’s so crisp and well-behaved that it works beautifully as a facing.
The organza is first pressed in the direction of the seam allowance, then it’s pressed again along the seamline.
The facing is pressed on the wrong side
Voila – the securely, cleanly-faced vee
The facing is catchstitched to the underlining
The wrong sides of the two treatments – without a mini-facing, and with one
The right sides of the two treatments; I’ll grant you that the difference is subtle, but you can imagine that the faced treatment will hold up better over time – no chance of fraying, and that little extra layer of organza lends a bit of support as well.