Archive for December 2018

Pattern making for front openings – 2. combined facing to front edge and neckline

December 6, 2018

The first post about pattern making for front openings was about adding zips or bands down the opening edge, with a separate finish for the neckline.

This is about finishing both front opening and neckline with a facing.
Again starting from a basic pattern, perhaps your TNT pattern for a pullover style, or your personal bodice block.
Doing the pattern work is still easy. But not quite so easy !

2 sections here :

Pattern making
Neckline facing patterns have curves, so it helps to draw them on paper first.
I give 3 examples, each a little more complex.

General guide to adding a facing to an unlined garment.

Then a separate post with ideas for how you can add to a pattern with faced opening.

– – –

Pattern making

Tools :
– starter pattern pieces for front and back, with marked centre front CF and centre back CB.
– measuring tape.
– pencil.
– ruler.
– french curve – I have one with width measures round the curved edge, makes it easy to add seam allowances, here’s an example.
Consumables :
– pattern paper you can see through.
– transparent tape for joining paper pieces.

Edge to edge front opening, with cut on facing

Sorry my photos have got rather blurry at reduced size, but you only need to see the general idea.

attach pattern paper to CF of basic starter pattern which you want to adapt.
half size practice pattern from Czachor & Cole

fold paper on CF.

cut out along neckline, shoulder seam, lower edge, then unfold.
mark inner edge of facing.
set the facing width by eye or by measure, usually 2-3″ / 5-7 cm.

cut along this line.
Finished pattern

Overlap front opening

Add an overlap strip to the centre front.
Usually the width added to CF for the overlap is width of button.
This overlap/extension may be called a ‘buttonstand’.
So choose the size of your buttons before doing your pattern making !

Overlap with cut-on facing – often used on blouses.

attach paper as before.
add overlap extension width and draw fold line.

fold paper back on this line.

cut out along edge of neckline, shoulder, lower edge, then unfold.

mark inner edge of facing, at least 2x button width, usually 2-3″.
Blouses / shirts / dresses / skirts usually have vertical buttonholes, with horizontal ones at stress points such as shirt neck and waist.
Jackets / coats usually have horizontal buttonholes, so you need to allow a wider facing to have space for them.

cut along line.
Finished pattern

Overlap with separate facing – often used on jackets and coats.
A seam along the front edge gives a firmer result with more support, better able to stand up to wear.
Extension for double breasted/wrap styles can go out to about bust point or 4″/10cm beyond CF.

attach paper to CF.
add extension.
mark stitching line.
add seam allowance.
mark and cut on cutting line.
This is the front pattern.

You can trace off a facing pattern from this, or make it by cutting as before.
Pin to pattern paper and cut around.

mark width of facing :
– remember to include width of seam allowance down the front.
– facings for jackets and coats are often wider – out to bust shaping, so the garment looks good when worn open.
cut along marked line.
2 pattern pieces

If you prefer professional quality instruction 😀 here’s a video from the University of Derby. She’s using a half-size practice pattern block without seam allowances.

– – –

Back neck facing

Use the same method to make a back neck facing pattern.
Either trace the top of the back pattern.
Or pin the pattern to paper and cut out round the edge.
Make the facing with a CB fold, even if the main garment back has a CB seam.
Match length of back facing shoulder seam to length of front facing shoulder seam.
Then mark the facing edge, and cut out.

If you prefer a video, here’s one from Aneka Truman of Made to Sew.

Those facings are the same width all round.
Perhaps add interest by making your back facing deeper at CB.
Here’s a how-to video from Louise Cutting.

And of course, making a facing pattern for a front neckline without a front opening is just as easy.
Or a front neckline facing for a pattern with a front band or zip.
Or a facing to finish a sleeveless armhole.

– – –

Sewing a facing

These are general points which usually apply to sewing a facing to an unlined garment.
Just a list of what to do, not how to do it.

Prepare body unit :
Staystitch neck edge.
Sew, press, finish shoulder seams.
If possible do neckline-front opening work on main body unit before sewing side and sleeve seams – so the body unit can lay flat and is much easier to work on.

Make facing unit :
– interface facing pieces (optional).
– join front and back facings at shoulder seams.
– press seams open.
– finish facing edge.

Join body unit and facing unit :
– baste/pin facing in place, right sides together.
– stitch main body and facing along front opening and neckline edge.
– clip or notch so seam allowances lay flat (good advice in this photo tutorial from Sew 4Home on clipping and notching curves).
– grade/layer seam allowances (trim them to different widths so they don’t make a lump by all ending at the same point – trim main fabric s/a to about 2/3 width, facing s/a to about 1/3 width).
– under stitch (tutorial from Colette patterns).

There’s a wealth of facings information in this pdf from the University of Kentucky, though it’s not very visual.
If you prefer video instruction, here’s one on sewing facings from Sure Fit Designs.
Sarah Veblen has a photo tutorials class at Pattern Review on facings (not free).

Note different experts use different techniques. That can be disconcerting at first, but try them all and see which suits you best.

Then sew side seams, add sleeves, sew hem, add fastenings, and you’ve made your own design 😀

– – –

Enjoy using your pattern 😀
Then there are many ways you can vary it slightly.
Some ideas in the next post.

– – –

This is the group of 4 posts about pattern making for front openings :
1. zip, button band
1b. adding extras to a front band
2. combined facing to front edge and neckline (this post)
2b. adding to a front-neckline facing

And here’s an earlier post on the opposite : closing a front opening.

– – –

Links available December 2018

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Pattern making for front openings : 2b.adding to a front-neckline facing

December 6, 2018

As with a front band pattern, once you have your basic pattern with a front facing, there are innumerable things you can do with it.
Here’s the link to the starting-point post on making a pattern for a combined facing to front edge and neckline.

Basically, the seam along the front-and-neckline edge makes it easy to sandwich extra style elements between main garment and facing.
Here are some ideas.

– – –


Choose between fastenings which are added :
– between main body and facing, such as button loops, tabs.
– after the facing is added, such as buttons, snaps.
See this Craftsy/Bluprint class for ideas for special fastenings (not free).

Edge trims

Items to insert into the edge seam joining facing and main body include : frills, flounces, piping, beading, lace trims, broderie anglaise, fringing, zipper teeth, braid, pom-poms, ric-rac, prairie points. . .

Add these before sewing the facing unit to the main body unit.
Baste frills, button loops, trims, etc. to edge of main fabric – raw edges matching and right sides together. Trims point inwards from the edge while they’re being sewn on – one of those inside-out-and-back-to-front sewing techniques which doesn’t look right until it’s finished.

example from Vogue Sewing Book 1975

Then add the facing.

If you add bulky trim such as piping in the edge, it’s easiest to use a zipper foot when sewing facing unit and main body unit together.

Another option for a faced decorative edge (not an add-in) is to change the edge shape – to curves, zigzags, scallops. Change main body and facing edges to match.

Or attach the facing so it is outside rather than inside – though this does need some extra sewing techniques.


Like trims, collars can be sandwiched between main body and facing.

from Vogue Sewing Book 1975

top – baste the collar along the neckline.
bottom – add the facings unit over the collar, then sew body, collar, facings together with a single seam (may be much clipping of seam allowances needed to get the results to lay as they should).

Use the collar piece from another pattern.
You do need to check that neckline and collar stitching line lengths match up. Notes in this post about how to measure the neckline stitching line, and change the length of a collar pattern.

When attaching, placement of collar depends on collar style :
– stand collar : place outside of collar to right side of body, turn up once sewn.
– other collars : place underside of collar to right side of body.

Here are some videos.
Jules Fallon from Sew Me Something patterns demonstrates sewing collar and facing to a pyjama jacket.
This includes a collar with sharp corner – Sewing Quarter, 11 Sept 18, time 2.22 – 2.55 (drag time line blob along to time wanted).
More tips from her, especially about sewing curves and lighter fabrics – Sewing Quarter, 15 Nov 18, time 0.32 – 0.53.

This is the easiest method for adding a collar to a casual blouse/shirt/jacket. Much the same as making pjs – just different fabric ! (This is the method used for all blouse collars in the French equivalent of CGLI.)

This is the collar sewing technique used in most blazer and other tailored/lined jacket patterns, also RTW.

And use a similar method on a faced armhole, to add a cap sleeve or trims.

More comments on other collars in the post on add-ons to a button band front opening.

– – –

Can you tell I’m a fan of facings – an invisible edge finish and a hidden feature with so much potential 😀
Get inspired 😀 😀

And have a lovely holiday period enjoying yourself in whatever way best suits you !

– – –

This is the group of 4 posts about pattern making for front openings :
1. zip, button band
1b. adding extras to a front band
2. combined facing to front edge and neckline
2b. adding to a front-neckline facing (this post)

And here’s an earlier post on the opposite : closing a front opening.

– – –

Links available December 2018

= = =

Pattern making for front openings : 1b.adding extras to a front band

December 6, 2018

This post is a supplement to the main post on adding a front band opening to a starter pattern. That got so long, I’ve separated off this list of suggestions about what to do with your pattern once you’ve made it.

A zip or button band finishes the front opening edge – what to do with the neckline ?
The common neckline finishes are bias binding/facing, or a stand collar.

If possible, sew the neckline treatment after the shoulder seams but before the side and sleeve seams. It’s much easier to do it while the fabric is nearly flat.

This post ends with some ways you can vary the pattern slightly to make other looks.

– – –

Bias binding or bias facing

Often the neckline is finished with bias binding or bias facing.
Staystitch the neckline, as a bias strip doesn’t add any stability.
Here are links to some tutorials on bias binding.
I’m preparing a tutorial on sewing bias facing without distortion, not a quick process.

For dealing with the top corner where bias facing joins button band, and the bottom corner where hem joins button band, see examples in the two photo tutorials linked in the previous post :
100 Acts of Sewing
Guthrie & Ghani

– – –


Here’s a free pattern from Colette patterns with several collar ideas.
These are patterns for a top with no front opening, so can’t be used directly, but are a source of ideas. Simply add a curve with seam allowance instead of the CF fold ?

Collar between main body and bias strip

You can borrow many collar shapes from other patterns and add them into the neckline seam between main body and bias facing.

from McCall’s Sewing in Colour 1964
442 – baste collar to neckline.
443 – black overlayer is wrong side of bias strip :
– stitch together bias strip-collar-body,
– clip seam allowances so they lay flat when the bias strip is turned down.
bottom – turn down the bias strip, turn in its edge and sew down by machine, or hand stitching can be less visible.

Stand collar

Finish the neckline with a stand collar which ends at the outer edge of the front opening, so it covers the top of the band. This may be called a ‘Mandarin’ collar. There may be a button if the ends of the band overlap.

Merchant & Mills Union dress

Use a collar from another pattern.
Or here’s a post on making a pattern for a collar band which comes to edge of front, from The Creative Curator.
This is what you’re aiming for :
half size practice pattern from Czachor & Cole
The lower notch matches the shoulder seam.
The upper notch marks the end of the upper collar, if used.

Band collar sewing video from Professor Pincushion.

Here’s a detailed photo tutorial on sewing a band collar, from Andrea Brown of Four Square Walls. Use just the band, or both parts of a 2-piece collar.

Collar length

When adding a collar/hood you need to match the neckline stitching line lengths of body and collar/hood.

For most collars added into seam between main body and neckline finish (bias facing strip or standard facing) :
Match length of collar to – neckline length from CB to CF.

For stand/band collar :
Match length of collar to – neckline length from CB to outer edge of finished band (or outer edge of facing).

Notes in this post on how to measure the stitching line, and change the length of a collar pattern.

Another band collar

There’s another style of stand collar, called a ’Nehru’ collar, where the end of the collar band is inset from the edge of the front opening.
A more complex pattern make and sew when combined with front bands, so I’m not covering it here.

Kwik Sew 4195

This sort of collar is tricky to combine with front bands but easy to add with a facing, see post on adding to a front-neckline facing.

– – –

Further pattern making and sewing

A few more ideas for a front opening finished with a band :

Two-part separate band
Add a seam instead of the centre fold of a separate band. Then there is a seam on both sides of the band, so you can add in decorative trims.

Add trims between main body and bias facing strip
Add piping, lace, frills, fringing etc. into the neckline edge seam between body and bias facing.

Neckline facing
Or finish the neckline edge with a true facing. See next post about facings : pattern making, sewing, using.
Can add a collar simply by using a full facing too, see that post.

Intermediate plackets
There are front band openings I haven’t included – I’ve gone for the easy ones.
Some which need intermediate levels of pattern making and sewing are :
Full length opening with covered/hidden buttonholes.
Half length opening : exposed zip, polo, henley.
Hmm – some day I’ll look for good tutorials on patterns for these. . .

– – –

As usual, many riches to add to your simple pattern making skills. With just a little practice, many styles can become do-it-yourself 😀

There are many little design decisions to make about openings. I give the conventions, but make adjustments if you want to.
Do what professional designers do – if it doesn’t work out quite right, change things a bit and try again.
(Megan Nielsen recently sent an e-mail describing the months of refinements that go into developing her patterns. In the Folds patterns has sent a similar e-mail – it sounds as if she makes at least half a dozen test garments. And we expect to get it right first time. . . )
Use your own judgement about what is right and what isn’t. Or collect examples of what you like.
Get to know your own wearing, designing, making preferences 😀 😀

– – –

This is part of a group of 4 posts about pattern making for front openings :
1. zip, button band
1b. adding extras to a front band (this post)
2. combined facing to front edge and neckline
2b. adding to a front-neckline facing

And here’s an earlier post on the opposite : closing a front opening.

– – –

Patterns and links available December 2018

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Pattern making for front openings : 1. zip, button band

December 1, 2018

Have a woven tee pattern and want to make a blouse ?
Have a pullover layering pattern and want to make a jacket ?
Have a sweatshirt pattern and want to make a zippered hoodie ?
Have a personal bodice block and looking for easy open-front options to make with it ?

As often with my posts, my post on closed-to-open-front pattern changes kept expanding. Which is why I said years ago I was going to write one and never got down to it. . . I’ve been thinking about it ever since I wrote a post on converting open-front-to-closed !

This is the first in a group of 4 posts about pattern making for front openings :
1. zip, button band (this post)
1b. adding extras to a front band
2. combined facing to front edge and neckline
2b. adding to a front-neckline facing

There are many little design decisions to make. If you’re not sure what to do – have a look at RTW – snoop shop and clothes you own – and see how they deal with it. They can be a marvellous resource for making, as well as something to wear 😀 Best to snoop shop at high end. Cheap clothing lines use least materials and quickest sewing, and home sewists usually haven’t got to do that.

Pattern skills :
– draw the fold lines, stitch lines, cut lines on pattern paper or fabric at specific spacings,
– understand different types and widths of bands.

Starter pattern :
Front pattern piece with centre front line CF marked from neck to waist/hip.

No need to draw or even have your own block.
Pattern making courses and text books tell you how to draw your own starter pattern, called a ‘block’. Then how to alter it to make other styles.
But the two stages are separate. You can start your pattern alterations from any pattern piece. Best to use ones with few style elements, or something in common with the style you want to make.

Other tools :
– fabric marker.
– a quilter’s 6×24 ruler makes it easy to mark lines at measured distances apart.

– – –

Edge-to-edge opening

Basically : cut down CF and finish the edges with plain bands, binding, double fold hem, or ribbon.
To add a facing instead, see post on combined facing to front edge and neckline.

Exposed open ended / separating zip

McCall’s 7026

Fabric marking

Instead of placing pattern centre front on a fabric fold – add seam allowances to centre front.
Seam allowance width = width of (zip tape + teeth).

half size practice pattern from Czachor & Cole

No need to make a special pattern piece.
Place the front pattern away from the edge of the fabric, and use a marking tool and ruler to draw the cutting line onto the fabric. At the seam allowance width from the CF line.


video tutorial from Professor Pincushion

For a quality inside finish, cover the edge of seam allowance and zip tape with bias binding.

– – –

Button bands

Two main methods of adding a cut-on button band, with a single fold or a double fold to the inside.
If your fabric is the same both sides, you can double fold to the outside.
Or add a separate band, perhaps in contrast fabric.

Choose your buttons first, as the pattern making usually depends on what size they are.

Buttons are usually placed on the Centre Front line. There’s usually an extension beyond that to support buttons and buttonholes. The extension is usually 1 button width.
That means the two fronts overlap by 2x button width.

You can of course use any size button with any width extension, but some combinations look odd. If you use different sizes – best to check the result is what you want before making the final garment.

There are surprisingly many features of an opening which relate to the button size used, so with commercial patterns it’s best to use the button size in the instructions.

Buttonhole angle is also a design decision. Blouses/ shirts/ dresses often have vertical buttonholes, with a horizontal buttonhole at the neckline. While jackets/ coats usually have all horizontal buttonholes.
Best to use horizontal buttonholes in positions which take extra strain, or where the garment may be buttoned/ unbuttoned frequently.

If you’d like detailed photo instructions on sewing these, try this post from SewAndrew.

Button band with single fold – like a cut-on facing

Vogue 9258

Fabric marking


Beyond the CF line on the pattern :
– measure width of front extension beyond CF – this is a design choice but is usually the width of button used.
– mark fold line.
– measure width for fold back, usually 2x button width.
– measure added amount for inner edge finish, usually up to seam allowance width.
– mark cutting line.


Add interfacing onto the fold line and fold back section, to support the fold and the buttons and buttonholes.
Finish the cut edge.
The ‘facing’ is held in place by the buttons and buttonholes.

Button band with double fold – like a hem

Fabric marking


Beyond the pattern CF :
– measure extension beyond CF – width of button.
– mark fold line.
– measure width of first fold back – 2x width of button.
– mark fold line.
– measure width of fold inside band – 2 options :
. . . . . seam allowance or less.
. . . . . 2x width of button again – so there’s a 3rd layer of fashion fabric giving extra support to buttons, instead of interfacing.
– mark cutting line.


It’s easy to sew a lovely straight line using an edge stitch foot on your machine, I think that’s my favourite extra foot !
Several ways of sewing this band.

One line of stitching

Here are 2 photo tutorials on this :
100 Acts of Sewing uses edge fold 1/4″ wide, main fold 1″ wide.


Lauren Guthrie has both folds full width.
She describes a back opening, but use the same method for a centre front opening.

Top-stitch along both folds

Seen more on shirts. This one has the band folded to the outside.

from Kwik Sew 4075

Separate band

Butterick 6465 by Connie Crawford

Pattern for band may be wider to make the added strip a special feature.

Typical pattern strip width :
s/a, 2-3 x button width, 2-3 x button width, s/a


Same length as front edge.

Front edge of main pattern piece
You’ve added to the front width by adding on the band,
so need to reduce the width at CF by half the finished width of the band.


You could draw folding, stitching, cutting lines direct on the fabric.
But you may feel more confident if you try them out on paper first.
Fold up the band pattern and hold it up on you – does the width look right ?


video from Professor Pincushion

She finishes the band by hand, using ladder stitch.
Alternative : fold the band so the edge is a smidge past the attachment seam, and machine stitch in the ditch from the right side.

Button placement

Put one button at bust point level, and spread the others out from there.
Easiest to space them evenly.

Have the garment made up enough for you to try it on.
Look in a mirror and place pins in the band where you want the buttons.
Top button – at the neck, or placed for the effect you want.
Lowest button – best to place this above your ‘hip break’ line or your top-of-sitting-thigh level, so it isn’t strained when you sit down.
(I would put the bottom of a zip here too.)

Button numbers and spacing are design decisions, for example you can put them in groups of 2 or 3, or at random spacing.
Or how about every button different ! Then the extension width to use is a judgement call, perhaps the average size.

– – –

All week I’ve been adding little comments about how to finish the neckline of a front band top. And extras you can add to your button band top.
This post got much too long, so I’ve separated off those comments.
Here’s the supplement post.

Start with the simplest, if like me you get overwhelmed by too many options.
Enjoy the process and celebrate what you make 😀

– – –

Originally written December 2018, links checked February 2021

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