Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Hong Kong Finish

Until about 10 years ago,what I knew about sewing was what I had learned in Home Ec in grades 7 to 9 and what my Mum had taught me when she had time. Mostly, I learned by trial and error. Oh ,and there was Vogue Sewing Book, too.

Then about twelve years ago, I discovered Sew Perfect with Sandra Betzina and my sewing changed forever.I taped 10 VHS tapes of the show and I still learn something every time I watch an episode.

If you've seen Julie/ Julia, you can get the idea of how I feel about Sandra Betzina.It's pretty much how Julie felt about Julia Childs.Unlike Julie however, I got to meet my mentor at a fitting Workshop and it was everything I dreamed it would be.

Well ,enough rambling. I want to show you what a Hong Kong finish looks like and how to achieve it. (And you know it. I learned from SB herself.)

When looking through my photos, I found I don't have many I can use here. I'll show you what I've got and will add more this week because I'm planning on using this technique to finish the inside of a little jacket I'm making.

Here is the inside finish of a felted wool jacket I made for my Swap 2009.

I used a Hong Kong finish only on the facings of this jacket but you could use it on all the seams if you wanted to.

Here is what you do:

#1. Cut bias strips of a lightweight fabric ( I prefer silky).and sew them together or make continuous bias as I showed you here. Do not fold your bias strips.

#2. Sew the strips to the inside of your garment to your seam allowances with a 1/4 " seam.

#3. Wrap the strip to the inside of your seam allowance,pin, and on the outside ( of the seam allowaance sew in the ditch ).

That's all there is to it and you'll have a great looking inside to your garment even if it's not lined.

You can use this finish on all your seams,even the sleeves.

Now I want to show you how to do this: (

When you sew the facing to a coat or jacket, it's better to not sew it all the way to the the end of the bottom because usually if you do, the bottom will want to pull up like this:
(I sewed the facing to the end of the bottom here to show you what I mean.)

So it's better to sew only to about an inch before the end,like this:

Here is the cream jacket I made last week.( I had planned on not lining this jacket so I could show you how to finish all the seams with a Hong Kong finish,but I had to change my mind because you could see through the fabric a little). You can see that I sewed the facing to about an inch before the end. As well,I sewed the lining to about an inch before the bottom. This inch has a raw edge and that's where I'll put a Hong Kong finish.

I used a piece of bias poly fabric ,folded the top and sewed it to the facing with a 1/4" seam.

Then, I wrapped it around the facing....

I stitched in the ditch...

And this is what it ends up looking like.

I hope this was clear enough and that you'll try this technique the next time you make a coat or jacket.If you have any questions,just let me know by leaving me a comment.If you want to look at my cream jacket,look here.

Have fun sewing! I know I do!


  1. You have some great tips here and on your other post. I am about to start a new coat so this is perfect timing.

  2. I learned the Hong Kong finish a very long time ago, but haven't used it in many years. Thank you so much for the refresher.

  3. Hello Diana,
    Thank you for your blog, but I am wondering where I can actually join a class for complete beginners? I am looking to learn sewing for making little girls' dresses and simple pants for my children but am not finding much in Hong Kong!
    Thank you, Jennifer

  4. Wow, this definitely gives garments a nice, clean finish. I'll definitely be using this technique now.