The Good Times Skirt | Hong Kong Finish Binding Tutorial
We have a few different methods of finishing the Centre Front and Centre Back seams for the Good Times Skirt. One of the seam options to use Hong Kong binding. You could also use this method to neaten the bottom of the waistband which gives a very professional look to the inside of your skirt (or any skirt!). This method is often used to finish the inside of jackets and dresses when you want the inside to be as pretty as the outside
Hong Kong binding is a very versatile design detail. You can make it pretty by using a small print…a bit of Liberty print anyone? Make a graphic statement with a contrasting colour or use a tonal fabric for a subtle stripe. You could use up your scraps of loved fabrics, just keep them of similar weight and fibre content for a cohesive look.
BUT WHAT IS IT? | What’s the difference between regular bias binding and Hong Kong Finish binding? With the usual bias binding method, all the edges are enclosed but with Hong Kong Finish the underneath edge of the binding is left raw and unfinished to reduce bulk.
FABRIC CHOICES | Hong Kong binding works best with a stable lightweight fabric, cotton lawn or a similar weight is perfect, but nothing too thick as you don’t want to add bulk to the seam. You can use pre-made bias just press it flat first.
CUTTING | the Good Times Skirt has optional Hong Kong Finish binding pattern pieces included in the ‘print at home’ pattern ready to cut and use to finish the waistband, Centre Front (CF) & Centre Back (CB) seams. If you are using this tutorial to bind a different garment (hello & welcome!) binding strips should be cut 3cm wide x the length needed plus a little extra for good measure. You can of course use ready made bias binding that has been pressed flat.
TOOLS | binding, standard machine presser foot, zipper foot (optional – see the tip below) iron and the usual sewing stuff!
ABBREVIATIONS | WS: wrong side | RST: right side together | RSU: right side up | RS: right side | SA: seam allowance
A TIP BEFORE YOU START SEWING|
I prefer to do the binding after closing the seam for accuracy and I’ve found using a zipper foot makes it a smidge easier (and that is is how I’ve written the instructions).
But, the binding can be attached BEFORE you close the centre front or centre back seam. It’s really a personal preference and in fact, it is slightly easier to stitch it first BUT you need to make sure you stitch it the right way for when the seam is reversed. Because the seam is reversed it’s very easy to stitch it the wrong way up – go on, ask me how I know….!!!
If you decide to attach it before you close the seam, be very accurate attaching it and very accurate again when you go back and stitch the CF/CB seams closed with the correct seam allowance. Potentially the extra thickness or width of the binding could mislead you and you could lose or gain a few millimetres per seam. That doesn’t sound a lot but they all add up if you lose a bit here and a bit there, and then your skirt is a bit tight!
Close the seam and press with the SA open. I’ve already bound one side in these photos…
Take one side of the SA and push all other layers out of the way and with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (RST) align the edge of the binding with the raw edge of the SA.
TIP | At the bottom edge, if you want a neat finish with all the raw edges enclosed, fold over the binding over to the back of the seam. You may not need to bother with this step if the end of your binding/seam will later be hemmed, finished or caught into a facing.
Attach binding with 6mm SA – this will be finished binding width.
TIP | When binding the Centre Front & Centre Back seams you may find this step easier if you use a zipper foot.
Press the binding away from the seam. Note the (optional) neat finish at the bottom edge.
Fold the binding over to the WS of the SA, enclosing the raw edge of the seam. Make sure the binding is snug against the edge of the SA.
Press binding flat, take care not to stretch the seam.
With RSU stitch in the ditch through the binding and the SA only (use the zipper foot again if that works for you). Press again.
The binding will be raw to the underside of the SA and can be trimmed down closer to your stitchline if too wide for your SA.
You can ignore this step if you are just binding a seam but for The Good Times Skirt CF and CB seams, stitch in the ditch a second time, this time through ALL the layers to hold seam allowance flat against skirt. And you’re finished!