Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

February 04, 2009

Seam along week 3 - bound seams

Previously on seam-along ...
Week 1 - simple edge finishes
Week 2 - French seams

This week I tried out finishes that use binding to enclose those nasty raw edges of a seam allowance. I found that neither the bound seam nor the Hong Kong finish were particularly quick to produce, but both gave the loveliest effect.

Bound seam

To create a bound finish, first sew the seam and then press the seam allowance out flat.

Take a piece of narrow bias binding and open the fold on one side out. Align the open edge with the raw edge of the seam allowance and then stitch directly in the fold.

Fold the bias binding over to enclose the raw edge of the seam allowance and stitch in place.

Bind the other side of the seam allowance in the same manner.

Hong Kong finish

To create the Hong Kong finish, first sew your seam and then press seam allowance out flat.

Create your binding by cutting strips of a very lightweight fabric on the bias. In my example I used sunsilky which is generally used as lining for garments. It can be a little bit slippery to handle.

Line up the raw edge of your seam allowance with the raw edge of the bias strip and stitch together.

Fold the bias strip over and wrap it neatly around the seam allowance, so that it encloses the raw edge. The picture below shows a side-on view.

From the top side of the seam allowance, stitch "in the ditch" to secure the bias strip in place. The ditch is the tiny little dip between the fabric of the seam allowance and the fabric of the binding. If you are anything like me, you need to pay attention to avoid wobbling all over the place!

The beauty of stitching in the ditch is that the stitch line is hardly visible, as you can see below (even with a bit of wobbling!). The raw edge will now be completely enclosed.

Flip up the underside of the seam allowance and use small, sharp scissors to trim away any excess bias strip. Trim as close as possible to the stitching. This does leave one open raw edge on the binding, but as it has been cut on the bias it should resist fraying.

Bind the other side of the seam allowance in the same manner.

I was really pleased with both the finishes - they make the seam look not only neat, but rather glamorous. The bound seam was the quicker of the two to create, because you can use purchased binding. The folds in the binding also make it a little easier to handle. Having said that, the Hong Kong finish would have to be my favourite. It is more labour intensive, but creates a much softer, less bulky seam. I can't wait to find a project to finish this way!

Have you been seaming-along? Which is your favourite?

Next Wednesday: Stay tuned next week, when flat-felled seams will be on show. Read more about the flat fell seams via Google.


  1. I have not been seaming along but I'm absolutely loving this series Liesl. You're a goodie.

  2. Thanks for these awsome tutorials, I am learning heaps.

  3. haven't been sewing along, but all of your posts make me want to get out the sewing machine. thanks for making them! :D

  4. Absolutely lovely. They do add a nice bit of glamour!

  5. Yes HB - I am absolutely loving your series. I read through it very closely so I understand each seam and I have a little aha moment at the end of each, when I think "oh thats how you do it" or "wow I love the look at that seam". I will definitely use some of these options when I next sew something big enough to warrant it. Looking forward to next week's installment.

  6. All I can say in WOW. The last one is the most beautiful seam I have ever seen!

  7. I've been sewing for many years, and your tutorial is clear and very easy to understand. The photos are very good. Well done.


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