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Creating a Minifacing

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.

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Comments (36)

JamesERusso JamesERusso writes: Very innovative work...Really Appreciated work!
Posted: 4:38 am on April 18th

Noelle Noelle writes: Fabulous tutorials, as always, by Susan Khalje. Her
videos are even more enjoyable with her gentle manner
and pleasant voice. Thank you, Susan, for all your
wonderful knowledge and applications!
Posted: 7:32 pm on July 8th

Scheri Scheri writes: Fantastic timimg finding this post. You just solved a problem on my little black dress front v and very low back v. Keep posting and I will keep following.
Posted: 4:01 pm on April 12th

Sharon_Carbine Sharon_Carbine writes: Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed learning this technique, Susan. Thank you!
Posted: 6:00 pm on April 10th

maddie964 maddie964 writes: This is a great tip. Those little details definitely make or break a garment and this tip made the garment look so professional.
Posted: 9:52 pm on January 31st

penelopeelse penelopeelse writes: Love the explanation and the beautiful photos, thank you! I think I've read something about this before, but in a way that made me think 'ugh, looks hard...'. This now looks easy - and it's just in time for a square-neck design I'm planning.

Not to detract from this in any way, but I am very curious to know how they deal with this issue in high-end manufacturing - and how do the results compare with the couture approach?
Posted: 5:45 am on January 3rd

clothingeng clothingeng writes: Great technique, thanks!
Posted: 7:54 pm on December 30th

Nerdychick2001 Nerdychick2001 writes: Thanks so much for this super clear explanation. I love how you showed the before and after. Thanks again and hope to read more articles by you.
Posted: 10:55 am on December 12th

artclothconsiglieri artclothconsiglieri writes: Susan - Ah the wonders of silk organza! Thanks for the sweet technique -- comes in handy for me as I'm working on a project needing it. As to certain comments here that certainly this isn't finished yet . . . etc. -- at the very beginning of your article you say that instead of a facing you use a wide seam allowance which will eventually be covered with the lining.

Alas, online communication is oft read and responded to a wee bit too quickly
Posted: 9:11 pm on December 8th

Finally_Time Finally_Time writes: Saving this one for when i DO have time to sew!! Thanks

Posted: 3:55 pm on December 8th

SusanKhalje SusanKhalje writes: If you see my earlier post, you'll see that I refer to the lining treatment. Clearly this is much too fragile to be left uncovered.

Posted: 12:31 pm on December 8th

rkr4cds1 rkr4cds1 writes: Surely this isn't 'finished' yet..? And there will be another lining or something which will cover all of this messy stitching up??
I have a personal thing about making-it-look-as-good-on-the-inside-as-it-does-on-the-outside and even the catch-stitching here looks like a beginner's attempt.
Nice technique but I'd be ashamed to have this photographed.....
At least suggest pushing the loose corner edges of the organza up underneath the underlining so they're not hanging loose—I can see this tenuous 'patch' shifting or being torn off with the first time this nice slim, basic sheath dress is pulled on and off (besides the crisp material being scratchy against the skin)—or tell us what else is going to be done with this garment's insides, please.
Posted: 11:01 am on December 8th

MerylEss MerylEss writes: Thanks for another wonderful tutorial. Subtlety provides the excellence in our sewing.
Posted: 3:35 pm on December 7th

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: This is a really great tutorial! I use organza, too, for lots of projects, most recently to interface a collar on an almost sheer blouse. I especially appreciate the photos in this article. As a visual learner, these helped me really see and internalize the instructions. Thanks so much.
Posted: 12:22 pm on December 7th

SusanKhalje SusanKhalje writes: Thanks for all your kind words - nice to know you'll find this useful!
And certainly, all of the inner workings will be covered with the lining - and we did do a couture lining article ages ago - I'm afraid you'll have to consult the archives to fine that one!
But basically, the stitching line of the lining is staystitched, it's turned back then fell stitched into place, then it's understitched (by hand) about 1/2" below the edge. An upcoming article deals with this a little bit, too.
Posted: 10:12 am on December 7th

VictoriaNorth VictoriaNorth writes: Visit to see all of the tutorials Susan has written for the website. You can also find Susan's articles, as a contributing editor, in each new issue of Threads magazine.
Posted: 9:57 am on December 7th

Neosha Neosha writes:
Posted: 8:52 am on December 7th

Neosha Neosha writes: Silk Organza is wonderful for all sorts of things. I first saw this technique used by Charles Kleibacker at Ohio State University. He used silk organza for all sorts of stabilizing situations.

Posted: 8:52 am on December 7th

agatha44 agatha44 writes: Thank you for this tutorial. I can see myself using it often. Where can I find other tutorials that you have written?
Posted: 7:53 am on December 7th

Mamato8 Mamato8 writes: I have used a similar mini-facing for the V's in a knit shirt. I really don't like clipping anything that close.

Thank you for sharing!
Posted: 3:59 am on December 7th

JanF JanF writes: Would it be possible for Susan to explain further how she would go on to attach a lining - surely it wouldn't be left like this on the inside? I would be keen to see her treatment of attaching lining to cover the edge because I personally do not like to see the facing
Posted: 3:12 am on December 7th

SuperiorLiz SuperiorLiz writes: across the angle of the stithing. This sves you from snipping one thread too far
Posted: 9:51 pm on December 6th

SuperiorLiz SuperiorLiz writes: Susan,
When I snip into the corner I find it really helpful if I put a fine pin or needle a
Posted: 9:48 pm on December 6th

peanuts7 peanuts7 writes: Thanks for the excellent tip. I just wonder if the silk organza will fray or if you finished the edges.
Posted: 8:59 pm on December 6th

TJSEWS TJSEWS writes: This tutorial is excellent. Thank you Susan!
Posted: 8:34 pm on December 6th

JennyEbner JennyEbner writes: Great idea Thanks. I will use it lots.
Posted: 8:21 pm on December 6th

ipodgrannie ipodgrannie writes: I also make and sew doll clothes and this is an excellent tip, love the idea of using silk organza. Thank you
Posted: 7:37 pm on December 6th

hogaboom hogaboom writes: This is a wonderful tutorial. I am wondering what book I'd get to know more about how one attaches the lining in this scenario. I am unfamiliar with couture methods, using machine-methods to attach lining.
Posted: 7:35 pm on December 6th

mabowles mabowles writes: Perfect timing for this article. I'm going to make V1254 which has a v keyhole in the front. I've been stressing about how to make that opening secure. I'll use the organza mini lining. Thanks.
Posted: 7:33 pm on December 6th

Carolebarrel Carolebarrel writes: This can be used in another application: an insert of embroidery using the fashion fabric as a frame or focal point insert for a pillow. Thanks for the great tip!
Posted: 6:40 pm on December 6th

Moonbeams Moonbeams writes: I am also going to try this on my doll clothes! I make and sell them, often discarding one here and there because of this problem. Nice! Nice! Nice!
Posted: 6:23 pm on December 6th

Sewingirl2000 Sewingirl2000 writes: This tutorial was wonderful. The frayed vee is an experience that many of us can relate to. Thank you for the excellent advice! The description was well written.
Posted: 6:20 pm on December 6th

kid_md kid_md writes: Beautiful! Those little touches make all the difference in a high quality garment.
Posted: 5:37 pm on December 6th

karen7 karen7 writes: great tip, can't wait to use it the next time I make something that has facings!
Posted: 5:36 pm on December 6th

Mahogany_Stylist Mahogany_Stylist writes: Excellent tutorial. Thanks, Ms. Khalje.
Posted: 9:44 am on December 6th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: Leave it to Susan Khalje for sage advice, understandable know-how, and long-lasting results one can be proud of.
Posted: 3:57 pm on December 5th

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