How to Sew a Professional Hong Kong Seam Finish

on February 12 | in Contests & Giveaways, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 141 Comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks!

Deborah Moebes always has some fabulous new sewing at Whipstitch, and she keeps us smiling… We all totally want to be in the League of Adventurous Dressmakers! Deborah is a skilled sewist and instructor, with comprehensive classes like Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt. The author of Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew One Project at a Time, Deborah continuously offers a variety of helpful and comprehensive e-courses through Whipstitch.

Deborah’s latest excitement is The League of Adventurous Dressmakers. Here’s what Deborah says about the year-long course:

    It’s careful, thoughtful instruction in core garment sewing techniques, designed intentionally and deliberately to lead you to better clothing construction. Monthly up-close video lessons give you hi-def views of techniques and their variations, and a practice pattern with each lesson gives you a chance to apply what you’ve learned. A printable technique guide (which can also be read on your tablet) gives you a permanent reference for each skill, and the private Facebook group provides a familiar space for connecting with other League members. I’ll be there alongside you, researching and discovering and exulting in the joy of making garments we can be excited about and proud of…

In the league you’ll cover topics like seams and finishes (this month), shirt collars (last month), pleats and gathers, making a muslin, installing zippers and so much more. You’ll have ongoing access to a dozen garment-sewing topics in all, with full video guidance and a printable technique guide for each one. Learn more about the background behind the club at Whipstitch, and sign up here.

Deborah is offering up a giveaway for one spot for the year. (Open to anyone, worldwide!) Just comment below for a chance to WIN! Also, anyone can use the code SEWMAMA to get one month free for anyone who registers by February 29, 2016. Content from the League remains accessible to all members forever; the code will waive January’s fee so you’ll get one month free and still have access to all the lessons.

Looking for more fun from Deborah and Whipstitch? Try out her other club for 2016, the Murder Mystery Quilt. Sew a quilt to solve the crime!

Deborah shows you how to sew a professional Hong Kong seam finish below, one way you can show off your adventurous dressmaking skills!


What sets high-end garments apart from quickie, off-the-rack fast fashion? More often than not, it’s all in the details. While I don’t think it’s essential that all our handmade garments be flawlessly finished on the interior– there are times when, even in handmade clothing, we want the immediate gratification of a quick-sew project– there can be no argument that clothing that has a fine finish on the interior looks more expensive and of higher quality than garments finished in any other way.

Specialty seam finishes are a great way to achieve this. Along with techniques for sewing better seams overall, this month the League of Adventurous Dressmakers is diving deep on how to spruce up our seams in ways that make our handmade clothing as beautiful as it can be. The Hong Kong seam is an ideal way to cover raw edges on seam allowances in heavy fabrics, like many of us are working with in the colder months. It can also be applied to lighter-weight garments where you don’t want a lining but still want to avoid bulk.

I should take the time to point out the difference between a Hong Kong seam finish and a bias-bound seam. Both techniques use bias tape, but where the bias-bound seam applies double-fold bias tape to the seam and encloses it like a clamshell, the Hong Kong finish applies flat bias tape to the seam and leaves one raw edge of the bias tape exposed. This allows the seam allowances to lie flatter after binding, and to reduce bulk along the seamline in the garment. Additionally, bound seams are typically topstitched in place, with the stitches visible, while Hong Kong seams are stitched in the ditch, with the final stitches concealed from the right side of the seam allowance.

To complete the Hong Kong seam, begin by sewing the garment seam and pressing the seam allowances open. You’ll be sewing one seam allowance at a time, through only that thickness of fabric. With the seam allowance extended, place a bias strip at least 1.25″ wide and at least 2″ longer than the seam to be finished right sides together with one seam allowance.

Sew a seam along the length of the bias tape, taking up half the seam allowance as you do. For example, for a 1/2″ seam, use a 1/4″ seam allowance; for a 5/8″ seam, use a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Press the seam allowances toward the bias tape without trimming. Leave the opposite raw edge of the bias tape open and unfolded; the real strength of the Hong Kong finish on a seam allowance, particularly with bulky fabrics, is that it creates the effect of grading along the seamline. The thickness is gradually eased out to prevent lumps and bumps that make a garment hang poorly.

Fold the bias tape around to the wrong side of the seam allowance, extending the flat raw edge until it extends past the seam line by between 1/8″ and 1/4″. Pin in place if desired.

From the RIGHT side of the bias tape, stitch the ditch along the original seamline, catching the raw edge on the opposite side as you do. Using a sharp needle can help in gaining accuracy as you place these new stitches directly in the gutter produced by the initial seam.

In the final version, any remaining bias tape that extends far beyond the stitch line can be trimmed away, close to the stitches. Press the entire seam allowance flat while extended away from the garment, then press the seamline once both seam allowances are finished. You’ll find that on thicker garments, you reduce any visible seamline from the exterior of the garment, and with summer clothing, you get a smooth seam without lining.

Have fun sewing, y’all, and come join us at the League for Adventurous Dressmakers to learn more and meet a community of folks looking to make the best clothing they can sew.

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141 Responses to How to Sew a Professional Hong Kong Seam Finish

  1. Rumi says:

    Today is not an empty day – I have learned a new seam finish. Never heard about it.

  2. Jan says:

    I never knew of this edge finish…it would be perfect for heavier woolen garments! Thanks so much for posting it! I, too, would love to win a membership. My garment-sewing skills sort of ground to a halt about 30 years ago, and it would be wonderful to learn new skills!

  3. Denise says:

    What a nice seam finish. Will give that a try in the near future.

  4. Claire says:

    Wow, I think I need this in my life.

  5. Nancy says:

    After 60 years of sewing, I’m discovering new and better ways to make garments. Hope I win the free year so I can try all these new skills.

  6. Jill says:

    I haven’t heard of the club yet. Thanks for the information! Looks like a great way to improve my skills.

  7. Kate says:

    Really clear and well-written tutorial. I would love to win this course to gift to one of my daughters. When she was learning-to-sew age, she was very íll and I was too busy and upset to spend the time teaching her. Now she is a stay-at-home Mum she’s wanting to do more things and sewing is one of them, but she lives just far enough away to make it impossible to teach her myself.

  8. Emily says:

    I really enjoyed your craftsy class, and would love to win a spot in this one!

  9. Tammy J says:

    Would love to win. I love learning, especially about sewing techniques!

  10. Candy says:

    This sounds like so much fun! I’m new to sewing and would love something like this!!

  11. Lana L. says:

    What a neat concept! I’m really excited to join!

  12. Tonya says:

    How wonderful! I’ve just learnt about the club, what a great idea. Would live to get back into and improve my sewing.

  13. Nienke says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I’d love to win access to more!

  14. Sue says:

    I just joined the Murder Mystery Quilt and I am so excited. I love her ideas!

  15. Andi M says:

    I’m just realizing how little I know about garment making so this course would be fabulous!

  16. Hannah says:

    Count me in!!

  17. Patti says:

    I have an entire room full of fabric I inherited from my mother. Sounds like it’s time to brush up on my sewing skills and this course would be a godsend. Sign me up for the contest! Thanks. 🙂

  18. Bridget says:

    I’ve sewn a few super easy items….elastic waist skirts and pants, pull-over tops and easy bags. I’d love to learn how to do zippers! Thanks for the tutorial!

  19. Heather C says:

    I would love to win this class! I took Deborah’s Sewing for Kids class a couple of years ago, and I learned so much! Would love to add to my garment skills!

  20. Bethany says:

    My goals for 2016 include becoming more expert in my knowledge of technical sewing technique. I’d love to become and Adventurous Dressmaker!

  21. Linda N says:

    Looks like fun! Btw, I finish my Hong Kong seams on the flat pieces before I stitch the seams.

  22. Linden says:

    What a great course; thank you for the opportunity to win!

  23. Ingrid says:

    I had never looked closely enough to see the difference between a bound seam finish and a Hong Kong finish. Thank you!

  24. Enerle says:

    Thanks for the giveaway

  25. Karen– The finished edge is on top, ie showing from the interior of the garment. The raw edge is beneath the open seam allowances, trapped between the seam allowance and the garment’s wrong side, where it isn’t visible. Hope that helps!

  26. Katherine says:

    This looks so interesting! I’d love to join!

  27. Lisa says:

    I’ve been sewing for a long time, but have been thinking that I really need to up my game. I definitely need to check this out!

  28. Lorna says:

    The course is great!

  29. beth p says:

    What a wonderful way to learn better garment sewing skills! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  30. Michelle Smith says:

    Thanks for the giveaway and for learning new techniques!

  31. Kathie says:

    Love the league. Thanks for the giveaway.

  32. mjb says:

    It would be fun following along with other people on this.

  33. Barbara says:

    Looks like fun! I’d love to learn more. Thanks for this opportunity!

  34. June D says:

    Looks like a terrific way to learn how to sew so it looks professional! Thank you for the chance to win!

  35. Katie K says:

    This is incredible! What a brilliant idea.

  36. karen says:

    which way do you press the seam allowance over? Do you press so the raw edge is showing or do you press so the finished edge is showing?

  37. Ramona says:

    What a wonderful tutorial.. Ilove learning new tips to improve my sewing. The League of Adventurous Dressmakers looks wonderful.

  38. Cherie says:

    Deborah is an excellent teacher. I love her enthusiasm for sewing. It’s infectious! Great tutorial!

  39. Kate says:

    What a generous giveaway — thanks for the chance to win!

  40. drP says:

    I’ve always wanted to belong to a league!

  41. Mary K says:

    Beautiful fabrics encourages greater care. I know I’m more conscientious about my pressing and seam finishes when I sew with silk and wool than when I sew with cotton.

    I’d love to win a membership to the League of Adventurous Dressmakers!

  42. Kristen A says:

    I’ve recently started sewing some simple clothing. What a wonderful resource the League of Adventurous Dressmakers would be! Sewing has given me so much in such a short time. I would like to refine my techniques and do better work.

  43. Sally says:

    I sew a lot of clothes for myself and others….learning new techniques and tricks makes it so much more fun! Thanks for the chance to grow.

  44. Ali M says:

    Oh fantastic! I’m always looking for ways to improve my sewing skills here and there (not that theres TONS of things I can improve on, I still feel like a beginner). Thank you for the demo and the giveaway!

  45. Melissa B. says:

    This is great – can’t wait to try it out!

  46. Jane says:

    Sew much fun! I couldn’t resist. Great way to try new techniques and meet sewing friends.

  47. Trixie says:

    I don’t want to be part of tries elect group. I NEED to!

  48. Carrie says:

    What a fabulous idea! I can’t think of anything better than hanging out with other people that love the same things as me while learning techniques to improve our sewing!!

  49. Margaret says:

    What a wonderful idea and can think of nothing better than improving my skills and being part of the League of Adventurous Dressmakers!

  50. Beth Curtis says:

    Deborah is a amazing teacher! This is a great tutorial on seam finishes.

  51. Auschick says:

    This sounds like a great series of classes!

  52. Karen says:

    This course sounds great, I would love to learn some new techniques ????

  53. Alison says:

    I’d love to win a membership, thanks

  54. M says:

    Sew much to learn in sew little time! Thanks for the tutorial.

  55. Virginia says:

    The League sounds amazing! Would love to win. Very clear tutorial – the pictures are great!

  56. Sheila says:

    Lessons and friendship with others who share my passion, what more could I want!

  57. Michelle says:

    Great tutorial! I bookmarked it for the future! I’m taking the A-line Skirt class, and this would be a cute edging!

  58. Megan Kenny says:

    I would love to join the league of adventurous dressmakers! Sounds like a lot of fun!

  59. alicia says:

    The League of Adventurous Dressmakers looks amazing! It would make an awesome enhancing accompaniment to the sewing classes i just started last week!

  60. db says:

    Awesome give-away thanks! Always thought the Hong Kong finish was more complicated than this!

  61. Lizzie says:

    This year I really want to tackle sewing garments for myself and my daughter, learning how to tailor patterns and make clothing that’s just right! I’d be thrilled to try out this course!

  62. Elizabeth says:

    I loved Deborah’s Craftsy class, and appreciate the chance to be in the drawing

  63. Jessica says:

    What a fun new technique! I’ve just started getting into garment sewing and would love this group!

  64. cynthia says:

    I would love this class! I sew a lot of children’s clothes, seam finishes are so important in those little special occasion dresses.

  65. Caroline says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I recently started sewing my own clothes, and this would be great!

  66. Kathy Hassig says:

    Any help I can get with clothing instruction would be great.

  67. Flavia says:

    Thank you, it would be wonderful and allow me to really upgrade my sewing skills!

  68. Tessa says:

    I just love the name ‘The league of adventurous dressmakers’, how cool is that? I’m no where near that league but I could learn!

  69. Andrea says:

    Wow! It looks like a great course!

  70. Gina says:

    Great tutorial. I took a sewing class at my local fabric shop and she showed me this in class, but until reading this didn’t really understand why you’d use this over other styles of seam finishes. I will definitely check out the league! Looks like fun!

  71. Joy says:

    The League sounds great – I’d love to get some in depth instruction on garment sewing techniques.

  72. Vicki Seals says:

    I would love to be a part of this club! Thanks for the chance! vickise at gmail dot com

  73. Cheryl Hovey says:

    Thank you for contest 🙂

  74. Grace Osediacz says:

    Great tutorial. Looking for the book. Would love to win.

  75. Donna says:

    Would love the opportunity to learn more techniques!

  76. Karen says:

    Stitch by Stitch is on my shelf, it taught me so much as a newbie. I still refer to it and the projects I’ve made from it are still in use several years on. I would love to win a place in the League for Adventurous Dressmakers!

  77. Carolyn Armstrong says:

    Garment sewing is on my to learn list – would love to have access to the helpful info. Provided by this group.

  78. Kate B says:

    I’m a fairy accomplished quilter, but I know nothing about garment sewing. I’d love to be a part of the League!

  79. Chris H says:

    Some great information – thanks! I would love winning video lessons.

  80. Jennifer says:

    I would love the chance to learn better sewing techniques!

  81. Marissa Lopez says:

    I would totally love this!! Fingers crossed!!! ????

  82. Jennifer Duenes says:

    I am learning how to make clothes for my daughter and am dabbling in pattern design – I would love a year’s membership!

  83. JessZ says:

    I’d love to learn new techniques for garment making! I love Hong Kong finishes for shop samples and unlined pencil skirts. 🙂

  84. Dawn Jones says:

    I have her book and I love it, video lessons would be awesome. Thank you for the chance.

  85. Cheryl M says:

    Sounds like fun!

  86. Gia says:

    The League of Adventurous Dressmakers sounds WONDERFUL!!
    And this is such a fabulous giveaway!!
    Thank you Deborah! And thank you SewMama!!

  87. Kelly Aubert says:

    I never knew about the Whip Stitch club! Thank you so much for the introduction!! I hope I win but if I don’t I’ll probably sign up if I can find a space in my budget! It sounds wonderful!!

  88. Fooniks says:

    I love learning new stuff and being reminded of techniques I have forgotten about. Taking part of this course would be awesome

  89. Lee says:

    Good tutorial! thanks!

  90. Jana says:

    Lovely! I wish to win the membership. It definitely pays off!

  91. Tina L. says:

    Sign me up! Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this fabulous project.

  92. Linda L. says:

    This would really take my sewing up a notch!

  93. Karen` says:

    Sounds amazing! What an opportunity!

  94. Beth Strand says:

    That looks lovely! I would love a chance to improve my skills!

  95. Julia Miller says:

    Oh, wow! I have just been wondering how to do this correctly and where to find or how to make these bias bindings. Thank you!

  96. Kate says:

    I just made my first shirt dress and I can see I have a lot of work to do to improve my dressing making skills!

  97. bookboxer says:

    This was very interesting … I’d never heard of Hong Kong seams before. Thank you!

  98. Kathy Upton says:

    As a quilter since 1976 I would love to sew clothing as well as I quilt. What a great opportunity this is….thank you for an opportunity to win.

  99. Cindy S. says:

    Deborah’s approach to these sewing classes mimics my own approach to sewing. I try to challenge myself with every project, always trying to improve my technical skills.

  100. Marsha says:

    It’s crazy how long I’ve wanted to try a Hong Kong seam finish but I can’t seem to get around to sewing any clothes for myself. This post just inspired me to pull out some of those projects.

  101. yeah giveawayyy I´m in !

  102. Katie says:

    I can’t wait to try this out!

  103. I love to learn and online classes a a great tool for people who can’t or don’t want to travel to classes.

  104. LenaArte says:

    Thank you for this interesting read!

  105. Jenny says:

    this sounds amazing, what a great way to learn new techniques, stay motivated and get peer support! It would be fantastic to win!

  106. Angela says:

    Neat

  107. Julie S. says:

    Would love to win the giveaway!

  108. Elizabeth C. says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. As a new seamstress, they tips are invaluable.

  109. Katherine says:

    This looks like a fabulous opportunity to learn helpful techniques.

  110. Jamie says:

    thank you for the tutorial! I’m looking to get back into more dress making and think the league sounds great!

  111. Thanks for the Hong Kong finishing tutorial. I always confuse it with the bias binding. I’ll love to be part of the-league-of-adventurous-dressmakers 🙂

  112. Melanie C says:

    This sounds amazing! I would love to learn how to sew dresses better!

  113. --anu says:

    This looks like an extremely useful course!

  114. Michelle Twilleager says:

    This league sounds great. I live overseas and don’t speak the language here, so I can’t take any in person classes. I’m a visual learner so this is a cool idea. Thanks for the contest.

  115. I’d love to win this!

  116. Emily says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m so intimidated by garment sewing, mostly because I need a crash course in garment fit and interpreting the directions of most mass produced patterns!

  117. Julie R. says:

    What a great giveaway! The League sounds amazing; I would love to brush up on these skills and become a better seamstress!

  118. Samina says:

    I didn’t realize that a bias bound seam was different from a Hong Kong finish. Love that graphic. It instantly clarified the difference.

  119. Fran Bott says:

    Wow, what a generous offer and a great way to learn. Thanks!

  120. Rachel says:

    Yes please!

  121. Claire Ross says:

    What a fabulous prize. Fingers crossed x

  122. Jolien says:

    Thanks for the tutorial and chance to win! I’d love to learn more about dressmaking. 🙂

  123. alexa says:

    I love the idea of learning dressmaking techniques month by month…perfect for those of us who have to squeeze sewing into busy lives.

  124. Emily says:

    ooo I would love to win, thanks!

  125. The graphics on this aregreat. I have this pinned for returning.

  126. Lynn says:

    Would love to start garment sewing again,this sounds like a great way to give me that push I need. Thanks for the chance!

  127. Mec says:

    Great seam! Would love a spot un the course!

  128. Helen says:

    What a great giveaway! It’s so easy to get stuck sewing what you know – this is a great opportunity to learn new techniques!

  129. Sue says:

    Very interested in this sewing group! Timely for me, as this is the year I am determined to make more of my own clothes! So, I hope I win, I hope I win !!!

  130. Marilyn says:

    Great tutorial!

  131. Alicia says:

    I have just started seeing garments and I think this subscription sure would help me. Thanks for the chance,

  132. Jessie Hansen says:

    That is a very interesting way to finish a seam. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. I love it!

  133. Paige says:

    How awesome would that be! Thanks! And great tutorial!

  134. Ann says:

    Great lesson. Love professional finishing tips and this is a new one to me.

  135. Deb Cameron says:

    Oooh, sounds like fun! Count me in for a chance to win, thanks. Love the tute too ????

  136. Jamie says:

    That sure is an interesting way to finish a seam! I’ve never seen them like that before, just the bias clamshell kind.

  137. Dorothy says:

    I didn’t realize I could find something so helpful!

  138. Karen says:

    I can definitely always use some guidance in improving my sewing.

  139. Christianne McCall says:

    Oh my goodness! A Hong Kong finish! I haven’t done one in 20 years! Would love to get back into this kind of sewing!

  140. Anne Marie says:

    This sounds like a wonderful course.

  141. Kathy E. says:

    This is a very interesting and thoughtful tutorial. I’ve never heard of this seam finish before and will certainly give it a try. I’d love to win a spot on The League of Adventurous Dressmakers! What a gift to learn the professional tricks.

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