To follow on from the last post - "Making things A-line," I thought it was a good time to talk about hem facings. A hem facing is a good way to finish a hem if you have a curved hemline (in the case of an A-line or circle skirt, for example).
It can also be used to finish a straight hemline if you would like to add weight to the hem (can help with the fall and drape of a garment), or just prefer this finish.
The reason you cannot simply add a hem allowance to a curved hemline (shown in the example) by extending the pattern beyond the side seam and centre front, as you often would to create a hem, is that when you have a curved line, the circumference of the cut edge will become larger than the hemline. When you fold up the hem, there will be too much fabric and the hem will be unable to sit flat.
To avoid this, you will need to create a separate pattern piece - a hem facing.
To get started, take the pattern you will be making a facing for.
The process is the same for the front and back patterns.
Decide how wide you would like the hem facing to be. Anything from 3 - 20cm is okay (this is obviously a very broad spectrum, which will depend on your design and the fabric you are using).
For the dress I am using as an example, the hem facing I made was 12cm wide.
Mark this width on the centre front, measuring up from the hemline.
Mark this distance on the side seam too.
You will then need to mark the width of the facing at regular intervals between the centre front and side seam (every 10-15cm or so). Be sure to draw these lines perpendicular to the hemline.
Join the endpoints of all these lines with a smooth, sweeping curve.
This section is the hem facing.
Mark a couple of notches on the hemline. This will help when you are sewing the pieces together later (it is not crucial if you are making a narrow skirt, but if you are making a full circle skirt, then you will thank your past-self for being so diligent when notching the hemline!)
Trace the facing pattern onto another piece of pattern paper.
Be sure to transfer the notches and re-draw the grainline and centre front. Add cutting instructions.
Add seam allowance to the body of the pattern, as well as the facing.
Consider how the top of the hem facing will be finished (will it be overlocked? Or bound with bias binding?)
Depending on the fabric, you may want to add interfacing to the pattern when you get to the cutting stage of the project - just keep this in mind.