Combine Topstitching and Binding for an Elegant Seam Finish
My friend and student Marguerite Longtin was working on an interesting project in class with me the other day, and she came up with what I think is a very clever finishing technique.
For the project, Marguerite used Vogue 1239, a lovely Chado Ralph Rucci dress pattern, and chose a thick, brushed red wool from Britex. The fabric is wonderful and sturdy enough to work all on its own; no lining (or underlining) needed.
The pattern, as you might expect, has complex seaming, so we spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to treat the seams: regular seams with topstitching, felled seams, overlapping seam, but visible raw edges on the inside were something of an issue. And multiple layers folded in on themselves created too much thickness – so Marguerite suggested binding them. We experimented to see how we could combine a Hong Kong finish (in which a raw edge is bound with a strip of bias-cut fabric) along with topstitching.
One problem with Hong Kong finishes is that they don't always lie flat against the fabric – and sometimes it's even necessary to put a row of invisible hand stitches between the seam allowance and the fashion fabric to keep things flat. However, with this technique it's unnecessary.
Sew the seam as usual: Line up, pin, and stitch the edges.