June 21, 2012

2-in-1 Sewalong: the Wrap Dress & Bias Tape

Alright, so I'm cheating just a little today and putting tomorrow's post in today's place. Today's post was to have been on the shirt dress, but I find I need just a little more time, so please forgive that. Instead we'll talk about the wrap dress version and my thoughts on facings.

Let's discuss facings first. You know what a facing is right? Well if you don't have a look at your pattern inventory for Simplicity 1880 and pick out pieces #3 and #11. Those are the facings for the wrap dress and they are inserted along the neckline. I've got nothing against facings when they are well used in a pattern, but I find all too often that facings are very much overused. This is only my opinion. I have a wrap dress that I made a few years back and it has facings and the facings, I do not love. Facings can be fiddly and they can pop out and be lame and weird. So I say, forget the facings.

Use self made bias tape instead. This works especially nice if you're using a drapey type fabric, which is what the fabric suggestions call for anyway. You can forget interfacing for the wrap dress too because if you use bias tape in place of the facings, you've then forgone the need for interfacing throughout the entire dress and that is something to write home about. Self made bias tape is really easy to make and you can follow one of these lovely tutorials put out by Colette:

How to Make Bias Tape
Continuous Bias Tape Tutorial

You'll probably need a good 2 yards of bias tape, I would say and that really doesn't take very much fabric. You could also put in a contrasting bias tape made from another fabric instead. I'll be making and using 1/2" wide single fold bias tape. But you can also do it Tasia's way and do what she did for her very first pattern, Pendrell which uses a bias binding:

Pendrell Sewalong: Attaching Bias Binding to the Neckline

Now, you are welcome to use the facings for your version of the wrap dress too and I won't think the worst of you in the least for it. If you plan to do the bias tape with me, I'll give proper instructions for the construction aspect of this along the neckline.

Please take note that this same idea does not apply to the shirt dress. That's a very different matter and one in which the facing - which is attached to the shirt dress front - will be used and is necessary. Make sense?

Hurrah for Bias Tape!


  1. I always go back and forth on whether to use facings or bindings. In the end, I believe it all depends on the design and fabric.

    P.S. I'm enjoying this sew-a-long even though I'm not taking part

  2. Eeep, I'm way behind, I haven't even cut my pattern out yet, but my fabric is a lovely voile which I suspect will need either an underlining or a lining to be appropriate to wear without a slip dress underneath. What are your thoughts on forgoing both the facing and bias binding and doing a full lining instead?

  3. Thanks for the tutorials on making bias tape. I have tried to make some a few times but didnt look at tutorials first! I am sure I will get a more even effect now! :)

  4. I agree with your assessment of most facings. I am sorely tempted to switch to the wrap version so I can use bias tape, something I can handle. :) I made up my muslin for the shirt dress and it's too snug in the waist unless I suck my stomach in (which I should be doing anyway but I want a dress that I can at least sit down in comfortably), the shoulders and bust fit fine, and the back is super billowy. I'm not sure I can pull this style off and am thinking about sewing up a button down top and attaching the skirt from simplicity 1880. Maybe that's crazy too. ;)

  5. Lovin everything am learning a lot. You are a great tutor!!!

  6. Selfishly, I'm pleased you moved the wrap dress up. But I've noted that when people instruct us to use bias tape, they note we can omit the interfacing. Why is that? I'm curious because the strip doesn't seem that much more stable than a facing piece. Anytime I get to skip facings and interfacing, I'm pretty pleased. I know the rationale for facings to seal unfinished edges, but I really do think they were created just to pi## me off.

    Oh, and that blue fabric in my blog pic? I don't have enough. Back to the stash!

  7. You know there's a lot of things and what nots in sewing patterns that really, don't make a lot of sense. Using facings for everything is one of these, in my opinion. And sewing patterns use facings a lot. Facings have their place, but so do bias tape and other types of raw edge enclosures. I've just found that sewing patterns - at least the big 4 - tend to stick with one way of doing things instead of branching out. That's fine, just know there's more than one way to skin a cat!

  8. Just slash and spread the front from the waistline up. Slash up close to the shoulder line, but not through it, starting from the waistline - keeping the slash in line with the grainline - and then open up the slash and add the amount you need into the slash with paper and tape. The result will give you extra in the waistline without adding too much in the top section. I actually am having to do this myself. Just know that whatever amount you add it will be multiplied by two as you have two fronts. For example, I'm adding 1/4" which will end up give me 1/2" total in the front section. Does that make sense?

  9. You can for sure - I've done that before and it works out pretty nicely.

  10. Yes that does! Thank you!! :) Sorry I didn't see this earlier.

  11. [...] Dress Sewalongers ~ Skip the facings and cut yourself some bias tape. Remember this post? You don’t have to cut into any interfacing, unless you really want to use the facings. [...]


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