Wow, thanks for all the love on my woven tank comparison! Apparently I need to do that more often:)
But as promised in that post, here is the tutorial on how I draft a full facing to replace the bias finishes on woven tank patterns like the Gemma, Willow and Sorbetto, and also the steps for attaching them. I can guarantee you that this will cut your sewing time on a woven tank at least by half! No more need to fiddle with bias tape and sew 3 seams on the neckline and each armhole.
Let’s get started!
Draft Your Facing
If we’re adding facing to a non-faced pattern, the first thing we’ll need to do is draft the facing! This is a very easy task. Essentially you are just creating a copy of the top part of the tank pattern. We’ll work with our final flat pattern after making all necessary fit adjustments.
1. Place a piece of paper over the top part of your flat pattern piece. I like to use freezer paper for things like this.
2. Trace around the top of the back pattern piece. You’ll want to trace about 2-3″ down the side seam (but stopping above the dart). Draw a line straight across to finish off the facing piece.
3. Repeat on the front pattern piece.
4. Cut out your facing pieces and proceed to cut your fabric. You will end up with 4 pieces — bodice front, bodice back, front facing, and back facing.
Finish the Neckline
1. Sew the front bodice to the back bodice at the shoulder seams. Sew the front facing to the back facing at the shoulder seams. Finish the seams (I prefer to use pinking shears on this step) and press the seams open.
2. Place the facings on top of the bodice, right sides together.
3. Stitch all the way around the neckline. CHECK YOUR SEAM ALLOWANCE HERE! Even if your tank pattern has a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance, the allowance is probably less around the neckline and armholes, particularly if it uses a bias tape finish. For example, on my Gemma tank, the pattern includes a 1/2″ seam allowance, but the seam allowance at the neckline and arms is only 1/4″.
4. Press the seam allowance towards the facing piece.
5. Understitch the seam allowance to the facing about 1/8″ from the seam. This helps keep the facing from rolling to the outside of your garment.
6. Turn the facing to the inside of the garment and press.
Finish the Sleeves
We’re going to use the “burrito method” to finish the armholes here. I think this method can be really difficult to visualize the first time that you do it (if you’re having trouble, Made by Rae has a great video tutorial here), but it’s a really slick technique that gives a great finish.
1. Lay your garment flat. Now you’re going to open one of the shoulder seams so that the facing and main bodice are separated from each other and lying flat.
2. Wrap the shoulder pieces around the rest of your garment, and line up the arm edge of the facing with the arm edge of the bodice, right sides together.
3. Pin in place. You will have a “burrito” with the armhole you are finishing as the tortilla and the rest of your garment sandwiched in the middle as the filling.
4. Sew your armhole. As with the neckline, take care with your seam allowance as it may be smaller than the seam allowance on the rest of the garment. Sew from one end of the armcyce to the other. Do not sew any of the side seam.
5. Pull on the opposite shoulder strap to turn the garment right side out.
6. Press your armscye flat.
7. Repeat on the other side to finish your second armhole.
Sew the Side Seams
The last step before hemming!
1. Flip your facing up so that that you have one long line from the bottom hem to the end of the facing.
2. Sew the side seam of the bodice and facing in one long seam. Finish the side seam with your favorite method. I just serged the edge of mine.
3. Flip the facing back down inside the garment and press flat.
4. Finish the bottom of your facing. You can do a rolled or bound hem, but I prefer to just serge the raw edge and call it done.
5. Hem your tank per the instructions, and you are done!
I hope all that made sense for you! I know that the armhole finishes can be particularly difficult to visualize with photos. If that’s the case, Made by Rae has a great series of video tutorials on this method (armhole video is here). Once you understand the concept, I hope you bookmark this tutorial as a quick reference 🙂