11 March 2019

Super easy facings for tunics

Super easy facings for tunics
March 10, 2019

Start with a grid-marked quilting template, 12 inches by 18 inches.

Find your favorite neck-hole; if you've been making garb for a while, you might have one of these in your sewing kit. If you don't you can just copy mine based on the measurements. This is a good size for my partner with an 18 1/2 inch collar size; and for me wearing a women's size 22 plus.

The hole is your STITCHING LINE, not your cutting line. If you have a favorite neck hole, trace it and add seam allowance. Note that the hole is located 4.5 inches down from the top edge, and the shoulder line is offset by about an inch front-to-back.

NOTE: If you're confused about why the neck isn't centered, lay out a t-shirt. You'll see more of the hole is in front of the shoulder seam, instead of being equal front-to-back.

I've cut narrow slits in my template where I mark out shoulder seams, plus center front and center back. You can spot the slit right below the label "shoulder line". Trace the marks with chalk or slivers of soap (I like soap because it washes out, but doesn't brush off as fast during sewing).

I cut my facings at 12" x 18".  If you want a keyhole facing instead, you can add 2.5 inches from the edge of the circle and down the slit.

On the garment, sew your shoulder seam together, but don't sew the rest of the body together yet. It's much easier to do this when it's flat. Iron and finish your shoulder seam. (Practice making these facings with a few scrap pieces of fabric first. Sew two pieces together to make an imaginary shoulder seam, and then sew a practice facing to it.)

Carefully line up the shoulder seams to your chalk marks, and make sure to center the facing left to right. If you put it on the right side of your fabric, it will not be seen when you're finished.

Pay extra attention that the center slit is straight on the grain of the body-side of the garment. Sometimes I pin right down the line to see if it looks straight when I flip it over, then go back and pin across.


Stitch on the circle. At the center front slit, stitch an eighth of an inch away from the line. Turn and make two right angles at the bottom, not a V.

Does your circle look wonky?  Does your neck slit look straight on the other side of your sewing? You can fix it now, before you cut your fabric. That's what makes this super easy, because you're not sewing two curved and cut edges to each other. You're sewing two flat pieces of fabric together.

Cut the neck out, leaving a seam allowance. You can see that my edges along the rectangle are already turned on my facing. Sewing the facing and garment right-sides-together puts your facing on the inside of the garment (hidden).

Cut the center slit. In the corners at the bottom, cut into each corner, but don't cut through the thread.

Cut notches across the corners. Clip into the seam allowance around the circle, but don't cut the thread.

Start turning the facing towards the middle

Tuck all the parts through, turning out the corners carefully. In this example, the camel-colored wool is the right side of the fabric, and the facing won't be seen. If you want to know why the body panel is so narrow, check out my pattern for general 11th century tunics across Europe and the Middle East.
It's linked from the front page at idlelion.net.

Flipped through so the seams are all on the inside.

Ironed to within an inch of its life. I'm an advocate that pressing your seams while you sew is what makes your clothes looks neat and well-made. Turn off the steam while you're doing this. You can still blast the steam with the button when you want it, but you're less likely to burn your fingers doing the futsy stuff if your steam is off.

This facing will be stitched around the edges by hand so it's not visible when it's done. In this case I'm adding a linen facing to a wool tunic.

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