Technique #1 : How to sew Sequin fabric
Sequin is a type of fabric I have always loved but never took the time to sew. Why? Probably because it doesn’t look so easy at first so I was a bit afraid. If you look in magazines, you will see lots of sequin fabrics, but my question would be how could I wear it if I don’t have Kate Moss’ body …?! I decided to some take time and answer this question when the shop Pretty Mercerie proposed a sequin fabric from their stock to sew an apparel. This was my chance!
Let’s start at the beggining : what is “Sequin”? According to the dictionary, sequin means
- Also called zecchino. any of various gold coins that were formerly minted in Italy, Turkey, and Malta
Ok it’s not the one we are looking for ...
- a small piece of shiny often coloured metal foil or plastic, usually round,used to decorate garments, etc
Ok, that’s about right! Sequin is this little shiny plastic that you can see on clothes, bags, hair clips… which makes you very fancy!
Who never saw sequin in shops right? Yes you see it, you touch it, but it’s another case to actually sew and wear it! I decided to try a few different projects with this fabric to see what could work on me, and to give you some ideas. Sequin can be sewn many different fabrics; a knit (perfect for dresses, tops) or not! Mine wasn’t.
– A Peter Pan collar : nothing better to dress your casual outfits than this kind of accessories. I used the pattern from the book Un Été Couture by République du Chiffon for the first time. I’m quite happy with how it turned out to be honest. The pattern is very easy to used but seam allowances are not included (the worst right), so don’t forget to add 1 cm all around it. I used a satin lining fabric to line it because if you don’t line sequin… it’s going to itch !
– A mini wrap skirt : When you’re looking for a project using sequin fabric, try to go as simple as possible! It’s already difficult to sew so try not t be adding buttonholes or zippers if you can. I chose to make a wrap mini skirt that I could wear with the peter pan collar depending on my t-shirt. I used a self-drafted pattern to make this one, and used a blue ribbon to close it on the side.
– T-shirt : The good thing about t-shirts in sequin is that you can wear them in different styles depending on what you wear it with. For example, if you wore it with a pencil skirt, it can be fancy, but if you wear it with a legging or a jean, it’s more casual. Same for the shoes : boots, ballerinas, heels … it’s easy to mix depending on what you want and where you go! I used a t-shirt that I had to draft a pattern for this top. The original tee-shirt had sleeves sewn to a bodice, but I drafted it as a “dolman top” which means you have only two pieces : front and back, with sleeves attached directly to the bodice. Again, when you sew sequin, you want to have the less stitch as possible, it’s going to be so much easier! My sequin was rather heavy so I had to draft a small neckline. The first time I did it, the neckline was too deep and with the weight of the fabric, it fell on the shoulders … I used the fabric for my skirt and collar and cut a new tee shirt with a smaller neckline.
– A heart broach : So easy to make and so much effect!
You could make as well a wallet, a bag, a jacket … or just accessorize your shoes, your jumpers, your hair clips! There are so many ways to use this fabric!
Now, let’s talk about HOW to sew sequin, and what you should know BEFORE you start sewing it! There are many things to know you’ll see, but it will make your project so much easier to sew!
- Do not pre-wash your fabric! Dry clean only! If you want to care about your clothes, take it to the professional after-care.
- Take your time and sew slowly!
- Use simple patterns, with minimal seams. That’s why I chose to sew a dolman top for example instead of a top with raglan sleeves… Forget about any difficult details as mentioned like buttonholes or even a zipper (the zipper could be used depending on the weight of your fabric though). Basically, keep it simple!
- Make a muslin first! It can be very important if you are using a pattern for the first time. Be careful as well of the weight of your fabric (me and my neckline…)
- Use old scissors for cutting, because the sequins can dull blades which would be a shame!
- Use some weights when you cut, it’s the best way to keep your fabric from moving.
- Respect the direction of the sequin’s: they lay on top of each other like scales. So be careful of the right direction when laying your pattern out.
- Cut your pattern from a single layer of fabric and on the wrong side : If you need to cut on the fold, report your tracing on each side individually.
- Protect your floor with a sheet …. When you cut sequin, the one on the edge of your fabric are going to fall off from the fabric… and fall. If you don’t protect your floor, you are going to end up with sequins everywhere in your house for at least a few weeks… (Trust me, I know!).
- Don’t even think about using your serger!!!! This is probably one of the most important advice you NEED to remember. I know you really want to use it, but sequin are going to damage the knife and needles. Instead, use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
- Use a fine needle (size 70) and sewing thread for basting – do not use heavy basting thread. Buy extra needles!
- Use 1-inch seam allowances to make the sewing process easier.
- Before starting to sew your pieces together, mark out your seam lines with a contrast basting stitch – this way, you’ll be be able to remove all the sequins that fall along the seam allowance. The fabric will then be easier to sew and it will protect your sewing machine needles.
- Don’t touch the thread when you take off sequin from the seam allowance! The thread attaches all the sequin together, so if you cut it, they are all gonna fall off. Instead, cut each sequin with a small scissors, or using a seam ripper. Be patient, this step is very long but very important.
- Turn your fabric and look if some sequin fell off from the side : if they did, just sew them back.
- Use a longer (3.5) stitch length, the larger the stitch will be, the better the stitch will last.
- Never iron the sequin directly! Press the fabric carefully, and iron it on the wrong side under a dry pressing cloth to protect the fabric from the heat. Remember that sequin is plastic, so it will melt if you don’t! Use moderate heat.
- If sequins come off or break, don’t panic! Just sew on individual sequins to replace them. Use the same sewing thread as used for the other sequins.
- Finish your project with some hand hemming for a better result.
- Consider wearing glasses when you work with sequin : it will protect your eyes from a random flying sequin!
And this special post is already over! I hope that sequin fabric doesn’t afraid you anymore, and that you’re gonna want to sew tons of it! I had a lot of fun getting writing this article for you and I hope you enjoyed it. You can tag me on social media to show me your versions with sequin! Or use the hashtag #vivelesequin.
Have a nice week!