Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In a bind, Hong Kong style

Hong Kong is one of my favourite places in the world (other than the Atelier of course!). It's a fascinating mix of eastern and western culture, reclaimed land, feng shui, congee and a replica Mona Lisa made out of mosaic toast:

Disclaimer: mosaic Mona Lisa toast is not fit for human consumption

It is also the origin of one of my favourite sewing techniques, which is Hong Kong binding.

Test question - is this HK binding or not?

Now one of the great things about sewing is that there is always more to know, more to learn. In researching this post, I discovered that my Hong Kong binding technique is actually nothing of the sort and I have been misleading my design teacher, my mum and random people on the internet for years that I'm some kind of expert in couture seam finishes.  Whoops! 

Not Hong Kong binding on Burda 7949

So I must apologise for engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct - my Sew for Victory! dress does not contain Hong Kong binding. It's actually a bound seam.

Whatever it is, it looks so purdy!

The difference between the two is that a bound seam uses folded bias tape and all four layers of the tape are stitched through (no raw seams are visible once finished); the Hong Kong technique uses flat bias tape that is folded over and stitched in the ditch, leaving the raw edge of the binding closest to the wrong side of the garment visible. The end result is less bulky than a bound seam.

Bound seam on the left; HK binding on the right

Confused? Yes I am too just from reading that. For an excellent tutorial on the difference, have a look here at Sew 4 Home. These gals will be able to teach you everything you need to know about binding.

Underside of bound seam - bias tape raw edges are hidden
Underside of Hong Kong binding - bias tape raw edge is visible

Binding seams is a labour of love.  Much like lap swimming, metres and metres of straight stitching can make anyone go a bit glassy-eyed. A glass of wine usually helps me when there is lots of binding to do (less helpful with the lap swimming though).

However for garments that are special it is really worth the effort as a finishing touch.

Burda 7949 yoked and gored dress made with printed Japanese cotton from Tessutis

Hopefully that helps clear up some confusion, even if only my own. To finish, let us raise a toast to Hong Kong and other types of binding:

Hong Kong Toast

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