Some things I learned about sewing with sequins

So as I definitely mentioned more than once, I bought some incredible sequinned fabric last year.

Leatherette sequinned fabric from Remnant Kings


I actually made it into a top back at the start of December, but didn’t quite get around to talking about it here. To keep things as super-simple as possible, I made a rectangular top with kimono sleeves. I don’t have a pattern like this, but I do have a blouse (from New Look) the exact shape I wanted, so I pinned around that adding a decent seam allowance.

Should you ever find yourself sewing with sequins, here are some things I discovered as I muddled along.

1. It’s not as scary as you might think (once you get started)

I would normally  be afraid of buying fabric like this, even though in terms of RTW it’s the first thing I’d hone in on in a shop. Sequins are tricksy, especially when they are sewn on mesh.

But they are so worth it!

Remind yourself it is only fabric. The fear will be overpowered by the fact you can make a top out of what is basically two rectangles which still looks the BOMB just cause it’s in an amazing fancy-ass fabric.

Sequinned fabric from remnant kings

2. Cutting off the sequins at the seam allowance makes everything SO much easier

This may be easier because of the way this fabric’s been made, with the sequins attached at the top only. Even so, trimming off the sequins at the seams took at least two trashy Christmas movies time. However, it left me with a ton of space to pop in some seams. Just make sure that you are generous with your seam allowance while cutting your fabric.

Trimmed seam allowance on sequinned fabric

3. I would encourage basting

As my mother despairs, I hate basting. I grudgingly accept the point of it, but then my brain shouts ‘boo boo boring, let’s just sew it up and see what happens!’ I pretty much never do it. BUT. The bulk of the sequins meant that pinning it together to try on was quite difficult.

Hand-basted seam on sequinned fabric

The added bonus of this was doing it in light grey meant it was super easy to see where my real stitches were going. Also, it gave me an impression of how the sequins would sit. Are you happy, mum?

4. Everything you do will take 2-3 times longer than it normally would

See steps 1-3. Again, this top is basically a rectangle. If it was made of cotton or chiffon it would have taken an hour, max. After the de-sequining of the seams and the basting, it probably wasn’t much longer and I was going slowly – but you got to put in the prep.

Pinned sequinned fabric

5. There will be sequins in all the places

You will find them under your couch, on the dinner table, in your shoe, washing machine, car or office. They will be everywhere, forever.

What with the unpicking and the trimming and just general wear, I now have a nifty little containerful of spare sequins so you should probably expect a whole lot of embellishment in 2015.

Sequins in a tub

Pure hunners of sequins

Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with how it looks on.

Sequinned top black leatherette sequins

For some reason, every pic includes my alluring deathstare. I don’t actually hate you.

I originally planned to wear this with a long black skirt, but it looked just a bit too much. I’ve worn it with plain black shorts and these black trousers, and it sits quite nicely.

Sequinned top black leatherette sequins

I’ve realised that the sleeves in the photograph look slightly asymmetric. This wasn’t intentional and when the garment is off, and when I’d worn it, this didn’t look like the case. Now, I think it’s just the way it’s sitting at the neck, but I might do some more examining and trim the left side a little more.

Sequinned top black leatherette sequins

I made the back with a bit of a dip. This was actually going to be the front at first, but I thought the slash-neck worked better.

One of the best things? As well as being sequin-tastic, this top is actually pretty cosy. As I wore it over Christmas and New Year, I really appreciated that!
As the detail isn’t great on those pics, here are a few of it on Diana. She does love a bit of sequin.

Leatherette seqinned fabric top

Leatherette seqinned fabric top

I took extra care at the neckline to stitch some of the sequins back on and make sure there weren’t any gaps at the top.

You can see on the back more clearly how the sequins look when they’re flipped up. You can arrange them that way and I love creating a bit of a pattern.

Leatherette seqinned fabric top

Leatherette seqinned fabric top

As suggested in the shop, I left the edges raw with the sequins overhanging, other than the neckline which I finished properly. However, this has caused a bit of extra drop-off especially at the edges of the arms, so I’ll probably go back and reinforce them.

Leatherette seqinned fabric top

Black leatherette sequinned top

My ‘why more photo’ face.

Extra bonus learning

I find it very difficult to sew with, or think about, sequins, without thinking about ‘When life gets you down, put on a shiny sequin gown’ from RuPaul’s Drag Race:


17 responses to “Some things I learned about sewing with sequins

  1. You are brave but you are right — it is a pretty kick-ass blouse! The back that dips and sequin – oh la la. Great tips –I deplore pinning so I may struggle! 😉

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT Elaine!! Looks great made up and your tips for working with it are fab…I’m totally going to have to stay away from it now in the shops for fear of buying all that’s left cause it looks so amazing made up!

  3. Pingback: Is that pleather? Why yes, and thank you for noticing | what diana did next·

  4. Pingback: A furry merry Christmas in Copenhagen | what diana did next·

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