i just finished my dress (i’m dubbing it the garden party explosion dress) and i am sooooo happy with the fit! making the muslin and the pattern adjustments seriously paid off. in fact, i love the cut much more than i expected and will definitely put this in my “to make again” pile. here’s a grainy, heavily cropped pic as a teaser. 😉

before i get ahead of myself and gush about how awesomely i made this, i promised to show you how to make facings. while most of the patterns i have used don’t have instructions or pattern pieces for facings that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own. it’s super easy, here’s how:

take the bodice pattern pieces and lay them on top of tracing paper, pattern paper, tissue paper, whatever you have on hand. then, decide how wide you want your facings to be. around the armholes i cut a 2″ facing which afterward i decided was a tad narrow, so when i cut the neckline facing i went with 2 1/2″. 

traced the outer edge of the bodice

measured and drew a line 2 1/2″ in from the neckline

these are the neck facings pieces. i made the back facing wider at the center where the
zipper will be for no specific reason other than i thought is would look nice. 

since i wanted my facings to match the outside of the dress and my outer fabric is so flimsy, i attached an underlining in the same manner as before. once you’ve done this you will need to finish the edges. a simple zig-zag stitch works fine, or if you have a serger please pack it up and send it to me. kidding. unless you weren’t…

once you have constructed the bodice with your shoulder and side seams sewn (say that 10 times fast…) you will sew the two armhole facings together and the neckline facings together. it helps to include the little pattern markings at the seams when making the facing pieces so you can sew them together accurately.

with the bodice turned to the right side, simply line up the edges of the armhole and neckline facings right sides together and stitch at 5/8″ (or whatever your seam allowance is).

here the neckline facing is pinned and ready to be stitched

after stitching, grade the seam allowance to reduce bulk. do this by
trimming the facing seam allowance by about half.

once the seams are sewn and graded, press the facing up, then understitch. understitching insures that the facing won’t roll to the outside and it will give you a nice clean edge. the first time i used understitching i couldn’t believe what a difference it made! if you’re not familiar with how to do this, basically you pull the facing only over where you just stitched and press, then you stitch very close to the seamline through the facing and seam allowances. once you have understitched, turn the facing to the inside and press.

it’s hard to see with the crazy pattern on the fabric,
but this is the attached and understitched facing

turn the facing to the inside and press

i have shown you pictures of the neckline, just treat the armholes in the same manner. pin facing, stitch, grade seam, press, understitch, turn facing to the inside and press again. 

when you’re done it should look like this:

don’t be concerned if your facings flop around a bit as you work with the dress. once all the construction is done you will catch-stitch the facing to the interlining where necessary to secure the inside edge of the facing.

facings give such a clean and sturdy finish to these seams and prevent any of the lining from showing on the outside. i highly recommend trying this out! this is really the first time i have used this type of construction and i will definitely be using it again, especially at the armholes. i always hate it when the lining peeks out even if i’m the only one who notices!

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