Hong Kong Seam Finish

Hong Kong Seam Finish – Part 1

The Hong Kong seam finish is an exquisite seam finish. Being a person originally from Hong Kong, I am not aware how this name came to be. In fact, if you mention Hong Kong seam finish in Hong Kong, I bet everyone will stare at you like you are speaking gibberish. I imagine you’d probably receive a similar reaction when you ask French people about French toast.

Hong Kong seam finish (“HK finish”) is not difficult. It is, however, time-consuming. But if you ever encounter a custom-made garment with HK finish inside, you can bet that it’s a well-made, high-quality piece of clothing. In my opinion, it’s absolutely worthwhile.

In fact, I also use this same method to finish a raw edge that is not a seam, such as the edge of a facing or a pocket.

I will break the tutorial into two parts. Part 1 (this part) will go over HK finish on:

  • Basic, straight seam
  • Outside corner
  • Armhole

In Part 2, we’ll go over HK finish on convex curves.

First thing first—to make any HK finish, one has to has some bias tape. If you are finishing a jacket (like what I am doing here), you’d need A LOT of bias tape. I recommend making your own bias tape because the typical store-bought version is very thick (there are lightweight bias tape out there, but they are not easy to find). And of course, you can have it in whatever color or fabric pattern if you are making it. If you haven’t already, please go over this post on the continuous loop method of making bias tape.

Be sure to choose a very lightweight, yet stable, fabric such as cotton lawn or batiste. The width of your bias tape should be four times the finish width. For example, if I want my finished width to be 1/4″ (6 mm), then the width of my bias tape should be 1″ (2.5 cm).

Also, I’d like to mention that HK finish is actually quite similar to bias bound seam that was posted before. I think HK finish is slightly easier. But you can be the judge; try both and let me know which one you like best.

Let’s get started.

Basic, Straight Seam

You should already have a seam that is pressed opened. My seam allowance on this sleeve is 1/2″ (1.25 cm). I plan to have my finished HK finish to be 1/4″ (6 mm); hence, my bias tape is 1″ (2.5 cm) wide.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

With right sides together, pin the bias tape to the raw edge. Here I am pinning it to the left seam allowance (though it looks like I am covering both seam allowance; that’s only because the bias tape happens to be the same width, but it doesn’t have to be).

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Go ahead and trim the excess bias tape off; we only need it as long as the seam we are finishing.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Stitch them together with a 1/4″ (6 mm) seam allowance (the same as your finished width).

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Wrap the bias tape over the raw edge.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Pin…pin…pin…

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Stitch in the ditch.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

There you have it. Isn’t it simple?

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

And this is how the flip side look like. Yes, there is a raw edge, but because it’s tucked under and is on bias, it won’t fray. You could also trim the bias tape close to the stitch line if you’d like.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Repeat for the other raw edge and you are done with this one seam.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Outside corner

What if you have a corner that you need to go over? I actually prefer to do two separate bias tape instead one continuous one. Let me show you what I mean.

I finish one edge as demonstrated above.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Now I want to finish the top raw edge too. So I pin a bias tape to it, right sides together.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Stitch with a 1/4″ (6 mm) seam allowance.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

I turn the bias tape up as if I am about to wrap the raw edge again.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

But before I wrap it all the away, I fold the hanging bit in too.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

This shows the hanging bit folded behind nicely.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

With that taken care of, I can continue to wrap the rest over the raw edge. Pin the bias tape in place.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

Now I can stitch in the ditch.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

And this is what the back side looks like.

Hong Kong Seam Finish Tutorial

That’s all! Note that I don’t worry about the other edge in because that side will be sewn into a seam. So you do have to think a little ahead of time to see what side is being sewn into the seam, and you only finish the raw edges that would be exposed.

Armhole

Finally, let’s take a look at the armhole. But actually when I say armhole, I really mean any circular seam. Besides the armhole, you can also use this same method on the sleeve hem, or even on the garment hem if there’s no closure (i.e., one continuous “loop”).

First, pin the bias tape right sides together with the edge you want to finish. For the short end of the bias tape, fold a little bit in like in this photo.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Then continue to pin the bias tape along.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Lay the end on top of the beginning of the bias tape.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Cut the excess bias tape off.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Stitch through all layers with a 1/4″ (6 mm) seam allowance.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Now you can wrap it over just like we did before.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

Pin in place.

Hong Kong Seam Finish - armhole - Tutorial

And stitch in the ditch. You are done!

You probably notice that one side of the finish has the raw edge of bias tape, correct? Because of that, you need to think about which direction you will be pressing your seam allowance. In my case, I am pressing it toward the sleeve (I almost always do), then the “clean” side of the HK finish should be the bodice side (so the raw edge is tucked under). It does require some prior thinking!

Check out Part 2 now.

Hope this is helpful! Until next time, keep stitching!

 

 

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