Hong Kong Finish Tutorial

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A Hong Kong seam finish has to be one of my all time favorite seam finishes. This clean finish is a thoughtful detail that adds luxury to unlined or partially lined garments.

This technique works beautifully with our new pattern coming December 8th.

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What is a Hong Kong finish?

A Hong Kong finish is a method of binding seams with bias tape. Unlike traditional bound seams, the binding on the wrong side of the seam allowance is left unturned, reducing bulk significantly.

Where is this technique best used?

A Hong Kong finish is most commonly seen in unlined jackets and coats, but can also be used in tailored dresses and skirts. This seam finish works best on garments made from medium to heavy weight fabric.

The Technique

The technique used to create a Hong Kong finish is simple, but can be time consuming. The results are well worth the effort. Full disclosure, it may make you want to walk around with your clothes inside out. You have been warned.

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1) Begin by cutting a few yards (you may require more or less depending on the garment) of 1″ bias tape. I like to prepare all of my bias at once, joining the ends so I have continuous yardage. You can also use pre-made bias tape and press it flat.

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2) Cut a length of your prepared bias to the length of the seam you are finishing, plus an inch or two.

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3) Place the bias and seam allowance right sides together and sew at 1/4″.

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4) Press the bias away from the seam allowance.

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5) Wrap the binding around the edge of the seam allowance to the wrong side and press.

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6) From the right side of the seam allowance, stitch in the ditch, capturing the bias on the wrong side of the seam.

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7) Trim excess bias and repeat on other seams.

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The technique really is that simple! Try using a contrasting color or print to make your finish really pop. Also try using our tutorial for creating continuous bias tape to create a totally one of a kind finish.

Haley Glenn   —   Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.

More about our writers

Comments 18

Louise atelierlouise.com.au

This is such a lovely finish. Seeing how simple it actually is to do makes me want to give it a try. Thanks for the tutorial :)

Haley colettehq.com

Of course! It is an awesome technique, and so satisfying to slip on a garment with a perfectly finished interior!

Marina marinasays.com

I love this! Thanks for sharing this, I will definitely be using this.
http://www.MarinaSays.com

Pelly

Hong Kong bound seams and a centred zip… Colette Patterns already include an A-line skirt and a fitted sheath dress, so I’m guessing the new pattern will be a pencil skirt.

Maddie

I’m still a bit of a novice sewist. I haven’t done too much other than just follow the directions of a pattern, which often doesn’t mention finishing seams. This is the next technique I think I’ll tackle (I’m getting tired of the insides of garments looking so messy) but I don’t understand when in the process you would finish. Would you do this at the end, once the garment is pieced together, or after each seam you construct?

Haley colettehq.com

Hi Maddie, I like to apply this finish after each seam I construct. Though, as another commenter suggested, on particularly bulk fabrics the finish can be applied to seams that are being pressed open before construction.

Lisa

Doesn’t this create bulk at the seams of the garment or an impression/crease in the garment?

Haley colettehq.com

I like to use a cotton lawn for binding my seams, it hardly adds any bulk at all and is easy to work with.

Heather thingsimakeplusrocks.blogspot.com

Oh! I’ve always folded over the backside of the binding to avoid a raw edge, but could never sew it down by machine nice enough and it wound up being a little bulky. Leaving the backside open and leavign the edge raw would solve all of that! Thanks folks! :D

Love the fabrics you used for the tutorial, btw. They really pop!

Joen

Thank you this is an excellent tutorial and I will certainly use this technique next time I bind seams!

Marietta Greene

This, next to the welt pocket tutorial, is my favourite Colette tutorial. And one of my favourite details in a garment.
-hint – I sometimes do my hk finish before I sew my garments together, I find it easier to manipulate especially on bulkier fabrics like boiled wool. …hmmm might try this on the seamwork cape .

Haley colettehq.com

A boiled wool Camden with Hong Kong finished seams is exactly what dreams are made of!

Maddie

Oh, that’s genius! I’ll have to try it on my cape

Francesca a

What a great, clear tute, thank you:)

edie

Snazzy! A question – the side of the binding that will be seen, is folded over on itself and around the seam, won’t fray, looks great. What about the back? Pressed and unseen, but will it fray and frazzle after a while? Or not really because its on the bias? I asked a jacket of mine and the maker had enfolded the exposed edge with binding, then did one line of stitching to capture both sides. Tricky to describe! And to do…

Haley colettehq.com

Hi Edie, That is a great question! This finish is very resilient, I have not had an issue with the unseen edge fraying. This is because the bias is more resistant to fraying.

EILEEN

Thanks for all your great tutorials . I know I will try the Hong Kong finish.

PsychicKathleen tarotbykathleen.com

I’ve seen this done inside jackets and loved the look especially as you’ve done here with a contrasting fabric. It looks so classy! Especially in a garment like an unlined jacket (which is where I saw it completed) it makes the garment look “boutique”! You make this process look so easy I’m inspired definitely to do it with a denim jacket I”m planning to make for the spring (good to get started soon on that!) :)

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