Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Underlining and Hong Kong seam finishing in one

I promised some time ago that the next time I'll be making an underlined garment, I'll take pictures and try to describe the process.

Recapping things said previously:
  • I'm very partial to underlining lately, I think I said it before on my blog, I like how the underlining moves with the fashion fabric, instead of having two separate garments joined at some seam, like in the case of lining. It is a subjective things, of course, but I'm going to use underlining instead of lining for most of my projects
  • Part of my great liking of underlinings is this gorgeous knit lining (nylon sheer, sold in many online stores as bra cup lining; my beautiful friend Marji also recommends using Powerdry - which I don't know but from what I read about it, it is marvelous because it keeps your skin dry when you're sweating) that I'm using - it is stretchy, thin, it does not alter significantly the drape of pants and anyway it improves it, and it has a silky side that feels absolutely luxurious against the skin. Plus it really minimizes the wrinkling which is very important, taking into account that I spend long working days sitting at a desk.
  • IMPORTANT: I buy this nylon sheer locally and none of the stores sells online. But by looking at pictures on the Elingeria website, I think this nylon sheer is what I use.
Technical details:

I've used this tip on PR for underlining and giving a Hong Kong finish to the seams at the same time. I'd like to explain a bit this method, insisting on the turn of cloth. This method has you cutting the underlining fabric with a supplementary seam allowance of 5/8 (aprox. 1.6 cm) . Therefore the fashion fabric has a 5/8 (1.6 cm) seam allowance and the underlining fabric 5/8 x 2 = 1 1/4 (aprox. 3.2 cm). You then join the fashion fabric wrong side to the underlining wrong side with a 1/4 seam allowance. I must stress that it is very important: 1) to be able to cut accurate seam allowances (I use my rotary cutter and its guide arm); 2) to be able to sew accurate 1/4 seams - use your 1/4 foot if you have one, your zipper foot (mine sews an exact 1/4 seam allowance if I align its edge to the fabric edge). I use my normal foot and a special setting on my machine which allows me to sew an 1/4 straight stitch seam. Now, from the supplementary 5/8 (1.6 cm) seam allowance, 1/4 is caught in the seam (0.6 cm), another 1/4 (0.6 cm) wraps over this 1/4 seam creating the Hong Kong finish and the remaining 1/8 (aprox. 0.3-0.4 cm) is for the turn of cloth. Now, if your fabric is especially thick or thin, you should increase/decrease the turn of cloth and the respective supplementary seam allowance of the underlining fabric. For a thick fabric, you'd cut more than 5/8 supplementary allowance, for a thin fabric, less.

My fabric for this project is a medium weight one, therefore I used 1" (approx. 2.5 cm) supplementary seam allowance on the underlining.

1) Cut your fashion fabric with "normal" seam allowances. Cut your underlining with another 1" seam allowances, or a bit less or a bit more (see above). I use my rotary cutter and its arm to cut accurate seam allowances. This is very important. See here the difference between the two pieces.

Warning: you only add the 1" supplement to vertical seams! The horizontal seams can be finished either using the method described by Shannon in this post, or by simply serging them, treating the fashion fabric and the underlining as one. Teaser pic... see how I serged the horizontal seams on my dress and then applied a ribbon, not to act as a waist stay (this dress doesn't need one), but just to make the seams look more beautiful.

2) Sew the darts in both the fashion fabric and the underlining. Most of the time I press the fashion fabric darts towards the center of the garment and the underlining darts in the opposite direction, to minimize bulk:

For my current project, there are quite large darts at the bust. I decided to slash and press open both the darts on the fashion fabric and on the underlining (only for the top part, the skirt, as you can see above, has the darts pressed in opposite directions):

3) Now, with the right sides together, sew all the vertical seams with a 1/4" (approx. 0.6 cm) seam allowance. I have an 1/4 foot now that makes this job easy. Before, I used my zigzag foot and adjusted the needle position or my zipper foot.

4) Open your seam allowances, then press them towards the underlining.

5) Wrap the underlining over the seam allowances, creating a Hong Kong finish.

6) Press in place and sew in the ditch. Ta-daaa, you're done!

Here's how it looks on the right side:

And the wrong side:


Mamis said...

Nu poti cumva traduce blogul in limba romana sau limba maghiara?

LauraLo said...

Draga Mamis,

Ungureste nu vorbesc deloc. O sa razi de mine, dar in romana cred ca nici nu cunosc foarte bine termenii de croitorie (din cauza ca tot ce citesc despre croitorie este in engleza).
Daca te duci la adresa, vei gasi un translator online, gratuit, de pagini web din engleza in limba maghiara (in romana, nu cred ca exista). Va fi o traducere cam aproximativa, e facuta de computer, dar orice intrebari ai, scrie-mi oricand vrei si te voi ajuta cu cea mai mare placere!

Summerset said...

I love this finish. I use it often in both my regular wardrobe garments and my art to wear.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this! I've tried this finish a few times, but I always forget the different measurements (both adding on and sewing) so I'm noting this to refer to later!

And am I correct in remembering that you underline with something from Care to post a direct link? :)

Becky said...

I've been wanting to try the underlining technique for awhile now (just haven't found the right project to try it on yet), so thank you for posting such clear (and illustrated) directions!

Erica Bunker said...

Great tutorial! I have a couple of dress projects that I will definitely use this technique on.

Leslie said...

Hi Laura! I agree, this is a great technique that I tried for the first time with my last top. You do it slightly different from the method I used, I like your way better. (sewing the darts first) However, in step 3 I believe you mean right sides together, not wrong sides?

Cristina said...

Thank you for this! What a beautiful finish on the inside.

Rose said...

Hi, Laura,
thank you for creating and sharing this tutorial. I enjoy seeing your projects, but I think that I will be able to use this tutorial soon. Rose

Vicki said...

Thanks Laura, this is great! I always wonder though how you do your final fitting with it done this way. It doesn't really allow you to add "in case" seam allowances down the side. I know muslins are the go but each fabric does act a bit differently. Any feedback on how you tackle this would be great!

Christina said...

Thank you - thank you - thank you for sharing this!

Katrin said...

again such beautiful garments! I really love the dress.
And thank you for the great tutorial. This comes really handy for me. Since I saw your coat I want to try this technique and will do with my current project!:
Best wishes,

Tany said...

Great tutorial, Laura! It has everything there is to know about this technique and a few estra advices to the perfectionists! I love the way you finished your horizontal seams!

BTW, I finally found this knit underlining fabric locally!! I can say that I jumped with joy when I found it! said...


As usual, I love this dress & what you did (especially the waist stay; very cool inside touch)! The lining you used looks really similar to something I just got for my Balmain dress that Emma One sock calls 4 way stretch Power Mesh--it's super light & looks wonderful. I can't wait to try it. I'm also thinking I might try out your underlining techniques on the dress; I'm so unhappy I have to wait two months to do it, though!

teariana said...

I just found out about HK finishing. When I first read your tutorial, I went HUH? But after reading and looking at the examples I am now, Ah! I get it!. Thanks