The Hong Kong finish is just the most amazing way to finish the inside of a garment, especially a jacket or tailored article. It is a subtle way to bring some really exciting flashes of color or design to the inside of the garment. Great style and excellent couture come with great finishing touches. At the right moment, as you remove your jacket, the Hong Kong finish will just show the difference a little bit of binding, and classic seam neatening has made.
Hong Kong Finish Tutorial
What is a Hong Kong Seam?
A Hong Kong seam (also called a Hong Kong finish) is a method of finishing the raw edges of a sew using bias strip. The bias strips encase the edges giving a colorful and professional finish that won't fray.
When to Use Hong Kong Finish
Hong Kong finish is often used in unlined jackets. As well as saving money and time in the sewing of the lining, it can often add a pop of color and result in a lighter-weight jacket.
Further Reading: How to Make Bias Tape
Supplies for Hong Kong Seam Finishes
- Bias Tape
- Sewing Basics - Sewing machine, thread, scissors, needle
Cut your own bias binding strips in a contrast fabric of your choice. Measure the length of the seams and try to cut the strips to the length you need, as joins will not look as attractive when the seams are exposed. You also want to avoid too much bulk.
The width of the bias you cut is recommended to be 1 to 1.5 inch (2.5-4cm). In general, I like to use 1-inch bias as I can use shop-bought ½ inch (12mm) single-fold bias and just press it open.
How to Sew a Hong Kong Finish
Here is the step-by-step method to use this neat, but fashionable seam finish. You will need bias binding and can make your own in contrasting colors or use store-bought binding in a plain color to blend in with the seams.
Step 1 - Sew the Hong Kong Seam
Stitch the seam and press the seam allowances open or to the side.
The seam you are encasing can be pressed open or closed so that the bias will either cover double fabric or two sides of single fabric in the seam. This will depend on the effect you would like and the bulk of the fabric.
Thicker fabrics look better pressed open and bound on each side, and less bulky fabrics can manage to be bound together and pressed one way. In this tutorial, I will show you how to bind the individual edges of the seam.
Step 2 - First Side of Kong Kong Binding
Place the right side of the bias against one side of the seam and sew a ¼ inch (6mm) seam. Do not stretch the bias as you sew, as this will cause the seam edge to go out of shape.
Step 3 - Pressing Hong Kong Seams
Press the bias open and then wrap it around the seam edge and bring the rest of the bias to the back as you encase the seam edge. Press gently.
From the top, stitch in the furrow as close as possible to the edge of the bias. I used a contrast stitch so you could see what I was doing, but for best results, use a matching thread for an invisible finish.
This is called stitch in the ditch, and if done correctly the stitches made will disappear into the ditch of the seam and not be visible on the front side of the seam. You can use an edge stitch or zipper foot for this process.
Step 4 - Turn and Trim
Turn the seam over and trim off any waste fabric at the back. The back of the seam is not visible when the garment is finished. Depending on your choice of seam, press the Hong Kong finish open or to the side. Here I bound both sides for an attractive look.
Hong Kong Finish Alternatives
The beauty of the Hong Kong finish is that the stitching is hidden in the crease of the seam. There is, however, an alternative method of creating a bias-bound seam.
Further Reading: Bias Bound Seam
Other alternatives to a Hong Kong finish include serging, zig-zagging, and even using pinking shears. All of these methods finish the seams and prevent them from fraying excessively. Read more about seam finishes.
Hong Kong Finish - In Conclusion
The Hong Kong finish offers great finesse for an unlined jacket. Although it is a little bit of extra work, it is a really gorgeous way to be creative with a tailored jacket or even a casual windcheater. In fact, the outcome may surprise you with its interesting contrasts. Who knows, you may want to turn the world upside down and wear your jacket inside out just to show off your very original Hong Kong seam finish.
More Articles On Bias Tape
- How to Make Bias Tape with a Bias Maker
- How to Make Bias Tape with no Special Tools
- How to Sew Single Fold Bias Tape
- How to Sew Double Fold Bias Tape
- How to Make Continuous Bias Tape
- How to Sew Mitred Square Corners with Bias Tape
- Types of Bias Tape
- Bias Bound Seam
- Hong Kong Finish
- Sewing Bias Tape
- How to Sew a V Neck with Bias Tape
- Types of Bias Tape
- Sewing Basics Sewing machine, needle, thread, scissors.
- Bias Strip
- Stitch the seam and press the seam allowances open.
- Place the right side of the bias against one side of the seam and sew a ¼ inch (6mm) seam.
- Press the bias open and then wrap it around the seam edge and bring the rest of the bias to the back as you encase the seam edge.
- From the top, stitch in the furrow as close as possible to the edge of the bias. Trim excess underneath.
- Repeat for other side.