Sewing with Sequins

S8016 angled edit2

Hey Sewists!  I am so excited to share my first project post with you all.  I knew I wanted to talk about working with sequins because they can be quite intimidating to some sewists.  I promise they really are not that scary!  I hope that I can inspire you to try making a garment with sequin fabric.

My first thought was to use Simplicity 8016 view C, which is a loose fitting tank top with a contrasting yoke.  With that in mind I started looking for my sequin fabric first.   I instantly fell in love with the Taupe Geometric Stretch Micro Sequin, and so the garment was born.  I also picked up  Light Tan Midweight 4-way Stretch Knit to go under the sequin.  Lastly, I got  a cut of Navy Blue Premium Midweight Cotton Lycra Jersey Knit.  I have to confess that I have not used Cali Fabrics prior to this, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was when I received the fabrics.  All three fabrics I picked up are amazing.  The sequins are absolutely gorgeous and both my knits are a good true midweight with great stretch retention. They are thick enough to not make me feel like I have to wear something underneath and light enough to keep me comfortable all summer long.  As a result, I changed my plans!   I used the same pattern and added 10″ to the length to make it a dress instead.  I am in love with my end result.  I need to schedule a date night with my husband now to wear it  out.

S8016 back edit 2

When sewing with sequins it is important to put a little more thought into what you will be making in regards to fabric shopping.  Sequin fabrics tend to be itchy on the wrong side due to threads and stabilizers used to manufacture it.  For that reason it is best to underline your sequin fabric.  In this case the underlining also helps me so that my undergarments and not showing through the sheer mesh sequin fabric.  I picked a light tan to blend in with my skin tone and give the sequins the best chance of being eye catching.  Another thing to consider is the sequin design and pattern design.  This sequin has a geometric design, meaning I need to order a bit more than I actually need so that I can get the pattern placement I find most flattering.

S8016 front edit 2

A few other basic sewing tips would be to test different sewing techniques, use a larger stretch needle (90/14), use bulky nylon as your bobbin and looper threads. I had a couple of different finishing methods planned out when testing sewing.  I cut sample swatches of my fabrics and tested my straight stitch and serger.  I sandwiched the sequin between both knits, just like I planned to construct the dress.  Because the fabric is a micro sequin it sews up beautifully with no issues.  Luckily, I was able to serge my seams!  Before serging them, I trimmed down the sequins in the seam allowance to prevent any cut sequins from sticking out and being scratchy.  Trimming them also helps with serging.

I want to share my binding technique for finishing the neckline and armholes.  I use this technique to prevent the sequins from rubbing against my skin.  This is a pretty easy thing to do and makes a world of difference in the comfort of the finished garment.  To start I cut 2 –  1.5″ strips from the light tan 4 way stretch fabric.  Since it is a 4 way stretch I cut them selvage to selvage.  If I had picked a non stretch fabric I would have cut the strips on the bias.  I then cut enough of each strip to the length of each armhole and neckline.

S8016 binding 1

Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, and stitch to right side of sequin fabric at 1/4″.  Trim the sequin seam allowance down to 1/8″.  Trim down seam allowance  at the shoulder seam.  This seam can be a bit bulky if you do not trim it down.

S8016 binding 2

Next, you are going to fold the finished edge of the binding to the inside, encasing the raw edge.  Stitch binding with wrong side up at 1/2″.  Make sure you are pulling the binding taut when stitching so that it does not roll out to the right side of the garment.  The trickiest part of this is going over the shoulder seam, since that is the bulkiest part.  Stitching it a bit slower will help with this.

That’s it!  Pretty simple technique with a huge impact.  I hope you all try out this technique and enjoy it as much as I do.

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8 thoughts on “Sewing with Sequins”

  1. Awesome! I am trying to learn to do this!

    Fun fact about me: I learned to sew so I could make a satyr ren faire costume! I didn’t learn to sew until I was in my 20s!

  2. I have used this exact fabric to make a prom dress for my daughter. My word of advise when using sequin fabric such as this is to keep the design simple! Less seams to sew and let this geometric design show. Her dress was a strapless fit and flare. I actually made the under dress first then draped the sequin over it. The only seams were on the sides, center back and top edge to attach to under dress. My daughter loved her dress. She found this fabric on the website. Cali Fabrics has been a great source for fabrics and always helpful when I have questions.

  3. Thank you for the tip! Fun fact: I am a burlesque performer and have dozens of sequin-based costume ideas in my head….but until now, was a little anxious to execute! I’ll definitely be giving this a try now.

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