/how-to: sew a flat-felled hong kong seam


Unlined jackets are awesome in spring/summer, so I thought I'd do a little run-through on a fun seam finish I used for my Albion jacket. 'Tis the season!

Warning: "unlined" sounds like it's less work, but believe me- lining sounds like a luxurious shortcut when you're binding/felling every single raw edge inside. But it's totally worth it in the end (and pretty addictive)!

inside / outside

As the name I made up suggests, this is a combination of a Hong Kong seam finish and a flat-felled seam. I like it simply because it adds more interest to the inside of your garment than an unembellished flat-felled seam, is STRONG and gives a nice clean finish.

This old j.crew blazer has seams that look similar, but they are fully bound (the bias tape is folded under twice on the side you can't see) then flat-felled. I liked the look, but full-on binding added an unnecessary step and unnecessary bulk. On my jacket, I just folded the bias tape under with the raw edge still exposed on the underside (like the Hong Kong seam finish), then stitched it down in a flat fell.

1) Sew seams completely normally (5/8" in this case). Determine which direction your seams should be sewn down; on this two-piece sleeve and the j.crew jacket they face toward each other. Trim the side of the allowance that is underneath by at least half.

2) Sew 1" bias tape to the untrimmed seam allowance at 1/4", right side down.

3) Press bias tape away from the seam allowance. Here's the inside looking a little sloppy. It's okay though!  No one will be able to see it once you enclose the whole thing in just a minute.

4) Press bias tape under and pin the seam allowance flat to the garment.

5) Sew the seam flat to the garment. You'll want to get as close to stitching in the ditch as possible, but it is more important to stitch evenly parallel to the seam line. You'll be able to see this line of stitching on the outside of your garment, so you want it nice and straight!

 You can see here that my stitching in the ditch fell a little off track in favor of keeping the line parallel.

Here's a terrible photo of the outside.. but you get the idea.

 I finished the sleeves, hem and hood of the jacket starting at step 2.

Hopefully you'll find this helpful if you're on a bomber/blazer/rain jacket quest this spring!
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