What Are Facings?

In the article, you will learn the three types of facings — shaped, extended, bias; the function of facings; why separate shaped facings are beastly; three types of bias tapes; and the pros of bias facings.

The neckline and armholes of sleeveless garments are going to need a pretty finish.

And when it comes to finishing these edges, you’ve got options, of course.

In this article, I will share the three ways you can finish an edge. And I will be sure to share the ugly and the good on those options.

So if you’re ready, let’s discuss the…

Types of Facings

In a garment, neckline and armhole edges have to be finished in some manner. And there are basically three ways this is done…

  1. Shaped facings
  2. Extended or grown-on facing
  3. Bias facing

Shaped Facings

A shaped facing is simple: Ideally, it is drafted to be the same shape and size as the edge it will finish.

There are two types of shaped facings:

  • Separate facings: the neck and armhole edges are finished separately; and
  • Combination or all-in-one facings: both neck and armhole edges are finished in one go!

Here’s an image of the guide sheet pattern pieces. Yes, you need FOUR separate facing pieces — #6, #7, #9, and #10 — to finish ONE bodice!

What Are Facings

Before I move on, I have a confession to make…

I loathe, abhor, detest, despise those little beasties, otherwise known as separate shaped facings!

And with good reason…

First, they’re often drafted poorly — too small or too big. So if you decide to play with them, then I advise you to draft them yourself after you’ve adjusted your sewing pattern to fit you.

Second, sometimes even after they’ve been understitched, they still will not stay where they belong, which is INSIDE the freaking garment! They can’t help peeking over the edge of a garment to take in the outside world. I hate nosy facings!

Third, they look very floppy, untidy and just plain fugly on a finished garment hanging on a clothes hanger! Yes, they do!

So for these three reasons alone, I just don’t have anything to do with those pesky, little beasties. In fact, as soon as they cross my path, I crush them like the bug they are and trash them! No guilt!

As for combination or all-in-one facings, they are definitely more loveable!

They are sort of a very abbreviated lining that finish at least two edges — neckline and armholes. Below is an image of a self-drafted combination shaped facing:

What Are Facings

Bottom line: When I use a shaped facing, a combination facing is the way I swing! ALWAYS!

Extended or Grown-On Facing

Extended or grown-on facings are extensions of a garment piece, rather than a separate pattern piece that has to be stitched on.

They are often used to finish the edge of the front of a jacket or other outerwear. And they provide a bulk-free finish to an edge!

What Are Facings

In the image above that is a jacket front that has a grown-on facing. The blue arrow points to the added facing on the right of center front (CF).

Bias Tape Types

Bias tapes are lightweight fabric cut on the true bias for wovens.

There are three types of bias tapes:

  1. Single-fold;
  2. Double-fold; and
  3. Half or French fold.

Single-fold bias tape has both long edges folded in towards the center. In other words, it has two folds.

And I’ve seen it pre-made in two widths:

  • .5 (½) inch single-fold (most common)
  • .875 inch wide single-fold

Check out a ½-inch pre-made, single-fold bias tape in the image below…

What Are Facings

It started out as a 1-inch wide bias, and then each long edge was pressed towards the center by ¼-inch.

Double-fold bias tape starts out life as single-fold bias tape.

For example, in the image below, I made ½-inch single-fold bias tape and folded it ever so slightly off center…

What Are Facings

I hope you can see in the image above that side is just slightly wider than the other.

Pre-made double-fold comes in a variety of widths. But for garment construction, these are the two widths you’re most likely to use:

  • ¼-inch wide; and
  • ½-inch extra wide.

And, finally, as for Half or French fold bias tape, I’ve never seen this locally in any store.

So when I want to go French, I definitely have to make it myself. 

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to custom make bias tape!

What Are Facings

And do you know what I love about it?!

You can apply it essentially the same way you would a single fold bias tape.

Plus, you can use it as flat piping too!

Sew easy tip: And if you want, you can even Frenchify pre-made single fold or double fold bias tape: Just press out the factory folds, and then re-press the bias tape in half lengthwise, WST. Adjust width if necessary. Simple.

Okay, let’s talk about why you will love bias facings

Bias Tape Facings: The Pros!

The beautiful thing about bias tape facings is this:

They add no bulk to your edges if they are made of a lightweight fabric.

But there’s even more to love…

They are more comfortable to wear!


They can be functional or a design element!


They are so versatile that you can use them without a lining or in combination with a lining. Sweet!


They make for a prettier view when your garment is hanging on a clothes hanger!

You have to admit that’s a lot of pluses!

Okay, I think you get the idea, so let’s move on to…

The End

The neckline and sleeveless armholes of a beautifully constructed garment have to be finished in some way.

In this article, you’ve learned the three types of edge finishes:

  1. Shaped,
  2. Extended or grown-on, and
  3. Bias facings.

And you’ve learned the ugly on separate, shaped facings and the extremely dreamy good on bias facings.

Alright, if you’re ready, it’s time to learn how to make bias tape!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to apply custom bias tape to an edge!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn all other basic sewing skills that will allow you to sew garments that you are proud to flaunt!