We had some amazing sequin fabrics arrive this week at Pitt Trading and I couldn't resist making something. I don't have any call for a sequin dress in my wardrobe so I wanted something I could dress down. A simple pencil skirt was the perfect make. Not only can you dress it down with a and leather or denim jacket but there is minimal sewing required, perfect for such a detailed fabric!
Now, you may be thinking.... sequins......arghhhh
They're actually not that hard to sew with. Here are my top tips for sewing with sequins.
Use a heavier needle. I've used a PFAFF Universal 90 for this make and I didn't break one needle!
Pattern selection is crucial. You'll need to think about how you are going to get the garment on and off, does it need a zip? If so, you'll need to create a placket using another fabric as the sequins are too textured to insert a zip into. I've gone for a simple elastic waist, which works well.
GO SLOW! Sewing with sequins is not a race. Take your time
Ensure the IDT is engaged on your machine
Here's How to Make This Skirt:
I used the moonstruck sequin mesh, which has a small amount of one-way stretch. Just enough to be able to slip it over the hips. I lined the skirt with a black jersey, which has quite a bit more stretch so I cut it a little smaller than the outer fabric
You will need to take into account the amount of stretch your fabric has when creating your pattern.
Start by Creating a Pattern Using the Following Steps:
Measure your waist and hips
Add 8cm to your waist measurement then divide by 2. This gives you the front/back waist measurement. Repeat for hips
Draw your waist and hip measurements onto tracing vilene
Measure the finished skirt length. Add 2cm for turning at the waist. I did not hem the skirt as the sequins are on a knit base and won't fray so hemming is not necessary, it just adds bulk.
Draw a line down the centre front of your pattern to the desired hem length.
The hem area will be determined by how much give there is in your fabric (remember, you need to be able to walk!) This fabric only has a little give, so I didn't go too tight in the hem. A good gauge for this is to look at a finished garment and measure the hem circumference.
Once you've got your waist, hip and hem measurements in place, connect these dots with a nice, smooth curve
Once you have made your pattern, cut out a front and back in the sequin fabric as well as the lining.
Sew your side seams, with right sides together.
When sewing the sequins, manually flatten the sequins as you go so the needle can go through easily.
I used a 1cm seam allowance. Once I'd sewn the side seams, I tried the skirt on and thought I could go a little tighter and still be able to get it on and off, so I took the seams in another cm, then cut the bulk away.
It's a good idea to try as you go and fit accordingly, sequins are a nightmare to unpick so you're better off going a little larger and taking in as required.
I used a 2.5mm straight stitch to sew the sequins
Repeat this process for the lining, using a small zigzag stitch to sew. Fine knits can be tricky to work with. I used a 1.5cm seam allowance, then trimmed away the bulk. This reduces the chances of the fabric being pulled down into the feed dogs.
Once the fit is as you'd like, put the lining inside the outer, ready to sew the waist elastic
Measure the elastic around your waist so it is a firm, but comfortable fit.
Sew the elastic closed, into a loop using a zigzag stitch.
Mark the elastic with pins in quarters and pin it to the waist of the skirt.
Place the edge of the elastic 1cm from the top of the skirt, so the bulk of the elastic is sitting into the waist
Stitch the three layers, outer fabric, lining, and elastic together with a zigzag stitch.
Once the elastic is attached, flip it to the inside of the skirt and ditch the stitch at the side seams to hold in place.
Your skirt is done! Sequins certainly are a showstopper, and not as scary to work with as you'd think. Why not give it a go?
Julia Mulcair is the owner of Pitt Trading, an Australian online fabric store and the lingerie society, a monthly subscription service for lingerie sewers. She grew up around fabric, and has been sewing for 30 years.
Julia focuses on garment sewing, with a particular love of lingerie making. She shares her makes on Instagram and YouTube and is always working on the next lingerie design!
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