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What is a Hong Kong Finish?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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Sometimes called a bias finish, the Hong Kong finish is a style of hemming a garment that is considered to be easily accomplished, and leaves behind nothing in the way of bumps or bulges around the hem line. Here is some information about how the Honk Kong finish works, and why so many people prefer this approach to hemming.

The Hong Kong finish is considered to be an ideal solution for any garment that is unlined. The reason for this is that, unlike some other hemming techniques, the Hong Kong finish tends to leave a very flat hem line, with no raised areas. This is accomplished by leaving the raw end of the material exposed, rather than folding it around or under the bias that is used for the hem. The lack of another layer of fabric as part of the hem helps ensure that the front side of the work appears to be perfectly flat. Achieving a flat hem is especially important with lightweight fabrics. Silks, light cotton blends and rayon are some examples of light material that look better with a Hong Kong finish to the hem.

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To achieve a Hong Kong finish, the bias tape is put into place for the hem, and the material is then folded over the bias. Using an iron at this point to crease the anticipated hem may help to hold the bias in place and keep the hem straight when sewing by hand. When using a machine, the experienced sewer can simply place the bias tape, fold the material over to create the hem and then stitch the hem into place. If desired, the raw edge that is left exposed on the underside of the garment can be trimmed closer to the bias with scissors.

Many people, especially those who enjoy home sewing projects, employ the Hong Kong finish regularly. Part of the attraction is that this is the sort of hemming technique that can be used with equal ease and skill with both hand sewing and machine sewing. A second advantage to the Honk Kong finish is that having only one fold to do on the fabric makes it much easier to maintain a straight hem. Last, the Hong Kong finish is ideal for making quick repairs to casual clothing. In fact, the ease of the technique is such that adults often will teach children this method, since just about anyone can create credible hem using the Hong Kong finish.

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JaneAir
Post 4

@strawCake - Good tip. I think the Hong Kong finish has it's place, but then there are some garments that really call for a different type of hem.

Take jeans for example. The hem on jeans is folded over a couple of times, and it has really become a stylistic feature. I think it would look a little silly to use any other kind of hem on a pair of jeans.

strawCake
Post 3

I think if you are going to employ a Hong Kong finish, you should cut the fabric with pinking shears. Pinking shears cute the fabric with a zig-zag edge, making it much less likely to fray.

This is a good idea because the fabric isn't folded over when you use a Hong-Kong finish. So the edge could easily start fraying or coming apart. Using pinking shears instead of regular sewing scissors can fix this problem before it starts!

backdraft
Post 2

Does anyone know where the name Hong Kong finish comes from? It seems like such a strange title for a way to hem clothes.

I know that in the past Hong Kong was famous for exporting cheap clothes around the world. My father had a whole closet full of suits he called Hong Kong suits because they were so cheap to buy. Does the Hong Kong finish actually come from Hong Kong?

chivebasil
Post 1

My mother taught me to make my own clothes when I was a kid and I have been doing it ever since. The first hem I ever learned was the Hong Kong finish. It really is easy and it leaves a nice result, but as I have gotten better as a seamstress I have resorted to other methods for creating hems. The Hong Kong finish is great but it is not always the most durable. Still, if you are just starting out give it a try for sure.

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