Hong Kong Finish – Part II

Linda posed the following question about the HK tutorial:

“Thanks Gigi for the tutorial, when you bind both seams together like this , I used to see it done separate, is it your choice of SA or is there a standard . Looking at your red jacket in Part 3, the close up of hood ,you must bind close to your SA I don’t see a trace of it and are your SA about 3/8″ they are just beautiful.”

On the hood seam (as well as the side, sleeve and underarm seams) I used a binding. I used a 1 1/4″ binding plate as I did in this POST. The binding is finished on both sides. It is bulkier but also more durable. Here’s a closeup of the hood seam:


When I am binding a seam allowance together, it is usually because it’s curved (as in a Princess seam or this hood seam) so I like the SAS to be as narrow as possible – usually around 3/8″.

The hems, facings and shoulder seams were finished with the Hong Kong finish. Here’s a shot of the shoulder seams which were sewn before the SAS were finished.


These seam allowances are not trimmed.


Filed under Tutorials, Year of the Jacket

11 responses to “Hong Kong Finish – Part II

  1. Gigi, I’m new to your blog and am really enjoying reading the archives and learning new techniques. I am assuming that you would only use a HK finish on straight seams. How would you finish, say, an armhole princess seam? Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with the rest of us! :o)

  2. Colleen P.

    I’m hoping Gigi won’t mind if I answer that one! Julie, because the binding itself is cut on the bias, it will curve along a princess seam without any problem at all.

  3. But what about clipping the seams to press them open? Or would that be a case of not using HK and use another seam finish instead?

    • When I am making an unlined garment with a princess seam I never press it open (well, I press them open and then I press them towards the CF) because then the unclipped side panel will buffer the clipped center panel making for a clean and neat finish. Of course, this seam would be trimmed down to about 1/2 and then clean-finished in some way: overlocked or bound. If the fabric is on the heavy side you would have to trim the clipped seam past the clip (I never clip all the way to the seamline) and then use a very narrow binding to finish it.

  4. Colleen P.

    Ah I see what you mean…hmmm…I think it will probably depend on how heavy the fabric is. I usually use my overlock machine and eliminate a great deal of the seam allowance altogether on lightweight fabrics, and never clip the seams at all-you’ll see the same on a lot of RTW. Alternatively (before I had an overlock machine), I’ve stitched the seam, stitched again 1/4″ away from the seam, and trimmed off all the excess close to the 2nd line of stitching, which makes a nice finish, if not entirely fray-free. The more bulk you reduce the less you need to clip. You can make a very narrow seam with a very narrow HK finish, but it’s a bit fiddly and honestly I would practice it A LOT first before putting a garment under the needle to finish it in this way. It’s hard to give yourself room to maneuver with tiny seam allowances and some fabrics will just frizzle down to nothing from handling them.

  5. Colleen P.

    Oh, if you choose the seam and another line of stitching 1/4″ from it, you’ll press the remaining seam allowance to the sides of the garment. I forgot to mention that earlier!

  6. Melinda

    What type of fabric do you use to make the bias tape? Is it always cotton regardless of the garment fabric?

    • Melinda, you can use any lightweight fabric. I’ll mostly use cotton, rayon or silk fabrics and, of course, you can use lining fabric.

  7. Hi, I arrived at your site because I’ve been looking for advice on the bias binders. I bought an industrial attachment for my Bernina, and it just doesn’t feel like I’m attaching it in the right way! I look at the Bernina attachment, and it looks like it would guide the bias in more smoothly, or at least more closely. I’m trying to sew on bias on a really tight curve (on the top of a baby bib) and I’ve been really driving myself crazy!! Do you think I just need practice or am I not doing this the right way?

    Thanks, and I can’t wait to look at more of your entries!

    • I’m sorry to tell you but it is nearly impossible to bind a tight curve with this type of binder. For that, you’d need an industrial machine set up with a right-angle binder. I’ll be using one on my next jacket (the HP Wrapture) so you’ll be able to see what that looks like.