The edges of garments are finished by facings, plackets, or hems.
Facings are pieces of fabric sewn to the garment edge, turned to the inside, and sewn in place by hand or machine. Garment edges that are commonly faced are necklines, collars, cuffs, and sleeveless arms-eyes.
There are two styles of facings that are common to the costume shop, fitted and bias facings.
Fitted facings are pieces of fabric that match the area to be faced in shape and grain.
Bias Facings utilize the stretch of the bias to shape the facing to the edge being faced. The stretch of bias is limited, so these facings cannot be as wide as fitted facings and are restricted on the curvature possible on the edge to be faced.
Several steps are necessary to attaching either type of facing. These are explained below:
ENCLOSED SEAMS are those seams where both seam allowances are covered. in this case, on one side by the facing and on the other by the garment. The seam allowances of any enclosed seam are GRADED (Layered) to reduce bulk which enhances the visual appearance of the finished garment. If the facing has been applied to a curved edge, CLIPPING must be done. The final step in attaching a facing is the UNDER-STITCHING.
Grading is the process of cutting the seam allowance to two different widths.
Clipping is cutting into the seam allowance at right angles to the stitching. This permits the seam allowance to expand or contract to conform to the shape of the surface piece When sewing with heavy fabrics, such as corduroy, denim, or upholstery fabrics, clipping is actually tiny v-shaped notches, which reduces the bulk and allows the facing to conform to the desired shape. It is important to carefully clip, cuts should be right up to, but not through the stitching.
Under-stitching is the process of sewing the seam allowances to the facing. Under-stitching is done to help the facing and enclosed seam lie flat and gives a sharp edge. When correctly placed the under-stitching does not show on the outside of the garment.
Plackets are openings necessary so the garment will go
over heads, shoulders, hips, and hands and still fit
closely around necks, waists, and wrists. Less common
combinations requiring plackets are feet, ankles, and
There are two parts to every placket:
Hems are formed by folding the fabric on the garment edge to the inside and by machine or hand sewing it in place. Hems are used on the edges of garments that do not need the support of a facing, these commonly are the lower edges of skirts, trousers, blouses, shirts, and uncuffed sleeves.
There are a variety of stitches commonly used for hand hems on costumes. These stitches are explained in detail in the hand sewing section of the book.
This page is the property of Scott R. Robinson and may not reflect the opinions of CWU nor any of its departments
Material on this web site may be used for educational purposed, if this footer is included.
Grateful appreciation is extended for all the links that assist in sharing this information with my classes.
All Rights Reserved © 2000 - 2010