Drafting Facing – An Orla Affair

In this post I will show you how to draft an all in one facing for you Orla Dress. This will work for any garment but since July is an Orla month, I will be showing you how to add a Facing to Orla. Just like with pockets drafting tutorial, I will be back with a sewing tutorial in a couple days.

Orla dress instructions show you how to finish the neckline using bias binding, which is a great method of finishing a garment. However, some times you may need to use a less visible method or finishing a neckline. Especially if you are using a pretty fabric that you just don’t want to disrupt with extra stitching lines.

I will show you how to draft a facing that will not only finish your neckline, but also your armholes should you wish to make a sleeveless Orla. I also like to use this facing even if I am adding sleeves to my dress since this facing will not flip up as it is secured in the armhole seam.

Tools needed

  • Paper, any paper you use for tracing patterns. I use medical paper.
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • French Curve (not necessary, but makes things easier)

To draft facings you will need both Front and Back Bodice pattern pieces. As usual, draw your seam allowances into the pattern pieces (Orla seam allowances are 3/8″ or 1 cm) to mark where the actual stitching line is. We will start off with Front Facing.


Front Facing

Mark point 1 on the Centre Front line, 4” down from the neckline.

Mark point 2, 1/4” above the bust dart.

Mark point 3 on the side seam, 3” down from the armhole.

Using French Curve connect points 1-2 and 2-3 with a curved line.

Trace your Facing piece onto a fresh sheet of paper and mark Fold Line. Add seam allowances to all seams. You can skip the bottom edge if you are planning to edge finish it with a serger or zig zag, or use bias binding to finish it. The facing in the photo above is finished with a bias binding. I love the pop of colour against the black fabric!

Front Facing is done! The steps for the back facing are almost identical.

Back Facing

Mark point 1 on centre back seam 6 3/4” down from the neckline

Mark point 2, 1/4” above the back dart

Mark point 3 on the side seam, 3” down from the armhole.

Using French Curve connect point 1-2 and 2-3 with a curved line. Trace the Back Facing piece onto a fresh sheet of paper, mark grain line and add seam allowances. As with the Front Facing, you can skip adding seam allowances to the bottom edge.

I hope this tutorial helps you figure out how to add facings, not only to Orla Dress, but any garment that you think needs them. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or reach out via email.

Tomorrow I will be back with a sleeveless dress pattern hack, that has both facings and pockets, and on Sunday I will provide detailed sewing instructions for the hack, facings and pockets. In the mean time, check out how to draft inseam pockets for your Orla.


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  1. Sandi177@suddenlink.net July 7, 2017, 4:08 pm

    Hello! Thanks so much for this tutorial, I know I’ll find it to be quite useful for my next Orla as well as future makes.
    I do have a question though: your instructions say to add a seam allowance to the facing. The Orla already has seam allowance in it and that’s what is to be traced, so I’m not understanding why to add a seam allowance to the facings.


    1. You are so very welcome! I am so glad you found it helpful.
      Thats a great question. When I do any pattern hacking or altering I always mark the existing seam allowances on the pattern pieces. I believe I mentioned it in the beginning, but it probably not too clear.
      The reason why I think it is a good habit to get into is because when you do some more complex hacks and modifications having seam allowances within the pattern will throw your measurements and proportions off. Thats why I always start with marking seam allowances so that I awn working off the actual stitching line.
      In this case, it is not really necessary so you could probably omit taking seam allowances off bodice pieces and then you won’t need to add them back in 🙂
      Let me know if it is still confusing!


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