Hong Kong Seams
Heather Dee asked on the recent pants post how I did Hong Kong seams. She had a general idea but I told her I would do a tute up the road and here it is. This is info that can be found in most sewing references but it always helps to see real pics.
- First is the fabric choice for the seam "cover". You want something lightweight and in keeping with the garment you are sewing. If I were sewing a silk garment, I would not use a poly for the HK seams. I'd use a lightweight silk. Your fabric should be lightweight. Some use lining fabrics. I love prints for mine and find it a good way to use up those poly georgettes that seem to proliferate around here. I start by tearing the fabric and placing it on my cutting mat on grain. Slippery fabrics need to be kept still so therefore, the stones. On my acrylic ruler is a 45º angle which you can see if you click on the picture. This line is placed on the horizontal on the cutting mat. This gives me the proper angle to cut my strips at. As I continue cutting strips, I move the ruler to give me a one and a quarter inch width on each strip. If you are unable to make strips long enough for your project, you can overlap them on the garment seam allowance. If the strips are cut at right angles that cut will be on the bias and won't fray. So if my strip is not long enough, I just lay another on top, overlapping about a 1/4 inch. (I know there are other ways to cut long strips and I will do a tute on that some time. I don't know anyone who uses the method I do but that is for another day. ) I find strips cut from a 45 inch width at a 45º angle are long enough for most garment seams. You are dealing with mostly short lengths here.
Iron the strip away from the seam allowance.
Wrap the strip around the seam allowance to the back. Yes, the strip is wider than needed but this is where that extra comes in handy. It helps with the fiddling. Pin it close to the garment SA. Damp fingers help with the wrapping around.
Adjust your needle position so it is now in the center of the foot, right in line with the blade. Stitch in the ditch running the blade right in the ditch of the two seams. Your results will vary. If you are sewing a "hard" fabric" like this one, it is hard to get the stitches in the ditch. They seem to naturally want to go on the strip SA. That is fine. Many people do them this way intentionally. If you are stitching on a softer fabric with more oomph, the stitches will easily sink into the ditch. I suggest you do a few samples to see what kind of results you will get and what you like best.
Now cut the excess seam allowance from the strip, leaving no more than an 1/8th of an inch. Press the garment SA open and Voila! A Hong Kong seam finish!
This treatment will definitely increase the time involved in making your garment. It is a wonderful treatment for an unlined garment. Your seams will be beautifully finished and you will just love flashing them open when you can. When I was working, I would casually take my jacket off in a warm room and lay it on the chair or table so the seams were obvious. Not sure anyone else appreciated my finished seams, but I sure enjoyed seeing them looking back at me on a tedious work day.
Be careful that your color or print of the strips does not show thru your garment fabric. Don't want that! And also be real careful cutting the excess fabric from the back of the seam allowance. Pelican billed scissors help.
For you Heather Dee, and hopefully some others.....................Bunny