Bias Facings For Necklines and Armholes

Over the years of sewing garments there are simple techniques that I have learned that have transformed the quality and polished look of my work. Bias facings are one of them.

There are a couple ways to approach sewing a bias facing onto a neckline, one using a 1'' strip (not pre-folded), and another using a pre-folded bias tape (must use a bias tape maker) . The finished result for both of these approaches is ultimately the same, but I find using the 1'' strip (not pre-folded) yields a slightly less bulky finish as there is one less fold in that process. I encourage you to try both and find the one you prefer.

This tutorial will show you how to do this technique with a 1'' strip as you can achieve this without needing to purchase a bias tape maker I will show you in two demos, first one being on a simple scrap of fabric, the other on a "garment neckline". 

This tutorial does not cover how to cut bias strips, you will find that here: "Making Bias Strips". Visit the tutorial "Making and Applying Double Fold Bias Tape to a Neckline/Armhole" to explore that alternative).


Tutorial on a Small Scrap of Linen

Bias Tape effortlessly soothes around curves due to its angled threads and stretchy nature:

Stitch 1/4 Seam allowances (right sides together). 


Finger press bias strip up, make sure seam allowance is also pressed up.

Understitch 1/8'' from seam securing bias strip to seam allowance. Do not skip this step, it will help neckline lay flat. 

Note that seam allowance is pressed up so that understitch stitches through it:

Press bias tape matching outermost stitch line (you will need an iron for this step).

Pressed with iron:

Fold one more time securing raw edges.

Press with iron:

Edge stitch 1/8'' from edge. Press Flat to finish. 


Tutorial on a Garment Neckline

When applying a bias facing to a garment neckline, you can choose one of two methods of closing the circle. You may either close the loop before it is stitched to the garment, or close while you are stitching on the bias facing. I prefer to stitch it while apply the bias strip as it allows me to skip pinning and organically glide the bias strip around the curve. Figuring out the exact measurement to close the loop before stitching onto a neckline is fairly challenging and requires you to do a lot of pinning that tends to get in the way. 

Lets get started:

Note that the neckline prepared with stay stitching and the outside of the garment is oriented facing out. You will apply bias strip to outside of garment first. Make sure right sides together if there are seams on your bias tape:

Applying a bias tape to a neckline is the same process as the tutorial above with the small pieces. The only difference is you must close the loop.  Start at point on back of neckline. Stop about 2-3 inches from where you started.

Closing the loop: Overlap bias strip pieces and mark line with a pen (frixion pen will erase with heat from iron). Trimming down a bit of excess may make this step a bit easier.

Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to your line (adding length)

Trim and stitch together 1/4 seam allowance ( for beginners if 45 angle makes it too complex straight line will work ok too, just note there will be bulk). Make sure seam faces up, see next step for picture of results.

Make sure seam is facing up, and continue to stitch bias strip to neckline at a 1/4 seam allowance connecting stitch lines (red stitch lines in picture below). 

Finger press seam allowance and bias tape up. Iron if needed. 

Understitch bias strip to seam allowance. This stitch will not be visible from outside of garment when wearing, hence the term understitch. 

Looking at inside of garment, understitch should go through seam allowance if done properly. 

Fold bias strip to meet outermost stitch line. Press with iron around entire neckline.

Fold one more time to enclose raw edge: 

Pin as needed:

Edge stitch around entire bias facing 1/8 inch from edge. It is okay if it doesn't come out perfect. 

Press flat and turn right side out. Only one stitch line should be visible. 


There you have it! A bias facing that can be used on an infinite amount of garment necklines, armholes, and many other design possibilities!


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