Seam Finishes - Topic Overview


Hi Everyone! Let's talk about finishing well! One of the most overlooked things in sewing garments can be the interior finish work. This is especially the case when it comes to sewing for dolls. I learned early on that the key to success was to finish well, and not just well, but exceptionally well! Providing a beautifully finished interior elevates the overall design and adds to the recipients' overall appreciation and admiration of your work. The attention to detail in this area goes a long way!

Throughout this 4 part topic, we will cover a variety of ways to finish the seam allowances using a standard sewing machine! 

  • Part 1: Overview and Hong Kong Binding Tutorial
  • Part 2: Sew Along for the Mindil Beach Dress (part one)
  • Part 3: Sew Along continued - alternate variations explained
  • Part 4: Tutorials for French Seams, and other basic finishes

I'll be demonstrating these methods while sewing the Liberty Jane Mindil Beach design to help illustrate how the basic techniques and methods are used. Follow along to understand my thought process, hopefully watching me in action will clarify any concerns or issues you may have with these types of techniques.

It's going to be a fun course! Are you ready? Let's go...


Watch the overview video for this months topic:



Patterns Used For this Topic:

Liberty Jane Mindil Beach Dress (for the sew along)

Other pattern designs that feature the hong kong finish or are a good choice for this type of seam finish:

  • LJ Schoolboy Blazer
  • LJ Hello Oscar
  • LJ Abbey Road

Hong Kong Binding Tutorial and Practice Assignment

Below you'll find the video tutorial for how to sew a hong kong binding. I've also included a short image/text tutorial for your reference.



Week One task:

  • Watch the overview video.
  • Watch the Hong Kong binding video and follow along as I show you how to create this type of seam finish.
  • Practice the technique on some scrap fabric. Test out a few methods to get really comfortable with the process. Practice it on a single layer of fabric as shown in the video, then move to apply that finish to a sewn 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Jump over the SWC Facebook Group for conversation and project sharing.


More On The Hong Kong Binding:

Follow along as I show you how to do a fairly easy, couture edge finish binding the raw edges of your seam allowance using bias strips. 

All you need is some fabric to finish, and a few strips of bias.

It's important to use bias for this technique for several reasons. First, cutting the fabric on the bias (or, 45 degrees from the straight grain) gives it greater flexibility. Bias also doesn't fray, which is a plus since this technique leaves one edge of the binding unfinished on the back of the seam allowance.

Step 1: Lay a 1" wide strip of bias over your edge to be finished. Stitch along the edge at 1/4" seam allowance.

Then, press the strip away from the fabric, and wrap it around to the back. The key word here is wrap, you don't want to make extra bulk for yourself by folding up the seam allowance underneath the binding. (You can trim the seam allowance down if you need to.)

Step 2: The binding should overlap your first line of stitching by about 3/16" or so; pin it down, and then from the right side, machine-stitch next to the original binding seam. Ta da!

Alternate Ways to use this technique: You can do a hong-kong finish on curved edges, like this one:

(Getting a smooth curve is much easier if you pre-press the bias strip into shape.) 

You can also substitute strips of tulle for the bias strips; this is especially handy for binding delicate fabrics, like lace or chiffons.

Or, if the binding fabric you want to use is really lightweight, and you don't want to have a raw edge on the backside, you can cut a wider strip of bias, fold it in half, and then proceed as normal. Just make sure the folded edge is the one you wrap to the back. :) 



Next Tuesday - Part 2: We will kick off our Mindil Beach Dress sew along. Gather up the supplies needed to be ready to go. 

Supplies Needed:

  • - 1/3 yard fashion fabric
  • - 9" x 11" piece lining fabric
  • - Eight 1/4" buttons Like These
  • - Ten 1/4" (or smaller) eyelets - Like These
  • - 18" piece of narrow cording or twill tape
  • - 3.5" piece of 1/8" wide elastic
  • - iron & pressing board
  • - Thread
  • - Hand sewing needle
  • - Eyelet setting tool such as a Crop-o-dile

Suggested Fabrics: Lightweight woven cotton, rayon challis, shirting cotton, lawn, and silky poly/ blends.




April 14, 2019

Thanks for demonstrating the technique in situ!


April 13, 2019

Started already. Took the ball gown dress apart that was shredding at the seams, even though I pinked them. Of course I did the first one wrong, but got the hang of it and my my the dress looks so good inside now. This will be the way I intend to work with delicate frabic from now on. Can’t wait till Tuesday, I might just do the
the pattern ahead of time….tempting! THANK YOU!!!!!


April 13, 2019

Great topic. I’m looking forward to learning this technique. In my mind it was more difficult than it actually appears to be.


April 09, 2019

I especially enjoy the short image/text tutorial reference you included. I hope to print this and keep it in my reference binder. Thank you.

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