Friday, October 26, 2012

HongKong seams and the hemline

Hong Kong seams are a tidy and very handsome way to finish raw edges... but what happens at the hemline?  The seam gets folded up on itself twice, and if you are working with a flimsy fabric and especially if you are planning a narrow hem you will end up with a hem that is thick and blobby with extra fabric; not very attractive.
The solution is to cease the HongKong seaming inside the hem, at a spot before the fabric is folded up into the hem.
With this dress, I had such minimal fabric I couldn't have a deep hem and needed to sew as narrow a hem as pssible.  The side seams are French seams which go fine into a narrow hem, but the centre back seam with the zip in it cannot be sewn with French seams obviously, so I opted to finish the raw edges with HongKong seaming...  and I took a few photos to show how I dealt with the HongKong seaming into the hem...
The bias strip for the HongKong seaming is sewn to the raw fabric edge, down to roughly 15cm from the lower edge.  Then fold the edge of the bias strip over the raw edge, press and stitch in the ditch from the right side to about 10cm short of the first stitching, allowing plenty of tail.  I've left the thread ends long and un-snipped to show where I've finished the stitching.
Now insert the zip.
Complete sewing the centre back seam down to the bottom edge.
At this stage, measure and pin the hem, and press it in place.  Unpin and unfold the lower hem at the seam.
Trim the bias strip to be just short of the hem fold.
Finish stitching the HongKong binding in place.
Fold up the hem, pin and finish stitching the hem in place.
Voila!  The raw edges are all neatly finished, and the hem looks nice and flat with no added bulk too!

23 comments:

  1. Professional looking finish!! Love it!!! I've never tried Hong Kong seams before, only tried french last week and loving the results

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  2. looks lovely! do you use a bias binding foot for your hong kong finishes? :)

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  3. Perfect timing as (once I get rid of fete and birthday party sewing) I am about to embark on the Pavot jacket and was thinking of doing hong kong seams. Thanks Carolyn!

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  4. Your items are so perfectly finished that I'll bet you could wear most of it inside out!

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  5. Do you have any reversible clothes? I love the idea and have designed many in my head, but I'm not sure I've ever actually made any in real life!

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  6. So clever!
    Thanks, I'll be using that next time I bind my seams!

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  7. That makes perfect sense. Now to try it:)

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  8. I've always wanted to try a Hong Kong seam, but never got around to it. I love the tip for getting a neat hem - I'll definitely try to remember it!

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  9. Thanks for posting this mini tute and the link to your original Hong Kong binding tutorial. I was hunting for the original post recently to link it to a PR review but could not locate it. I couldn't find a search feature on your blog but maybe I am just going blind!

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  10. Great! I've used hong kong seams twice recently and this is very helpful to improve them... I was actually inserting the zipper beforehand!

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  11. You really do some amazing techniques for your clothes. The care you take must be on a level with the couture houses. Much more fun to do that sewing for oneself than for a client, I should think.

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  12. Very clever! I wouldn't have thought about it till I got to the hem then wondered what I should do. Thanks, I'll remember this next time I do Hong Kong finishes.

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  13. I confess that I haven't actually made anything with Hong Kong finish, but this is a great tutorial for when I do - thanks

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  14. What a lovely neat finish, bet your clothes always look and feel fabulous on! x

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  15. I´m very happy to say there is something I do as it should be done!
    Great tutorial.The technique you use really make a lot of sense.
    Left a message on PR ;)

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  16. Clever! I will remember this for when I use Hong Kong finishes...although I'm normally much too impatient for such things! Your garments are always so well finished :-)

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  17. Good thinking! Thanks for sharing... this will save me time from a blobby mistake.

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  18. Ruffles Gazebo: no, I just use an ordinary foot for HongKong finishes. I don't use commercial bias binding, but make my own from scraps :)

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  19. Cussot: no, but I've often thought about having a go at that too! The closure would be the tricky bit, zips and buttons wouldn't work too well... I think a wrap garment could very well be made reversible :)

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  20. So simple, so effective - Love it.

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