Tips for Sewing With Sequins
Hey everyone! I’m excited to be back with another awesome tutorial. As we all know, the holidays are upon us. I don’t know about you, but when I think of holiday parties, sequins come to mind, and especially when counting down into the New Year. In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about sewing with sequined fabric.
Before you begin sewing, there’s a few things to consider when working with sequined fabric!
There’s really two routes you can take when it comes to sewing with sequins, and I think it really comes down to the size of the sequins on the fabric you are going to work with and it’s as simple as this: removing the sequins within your seam allowance, or not. This decision can be made based on the size of the sequins in your fabric and the quality of your sewing machine. If you are working with a larger sequin, it’s probably best to remove the sequins from your seam allowance before sewing because the sequins will add a lot of bulk, and it is more likely that you could break your needle while sewing on your machine. If your fabric is made with a smaller, finer sequin, then you are less likely to break your needle, and bulk won’t be a big issue for your seams after being sewn. When it comes to the quality of your machine, a good rule of thumb to follow is that if it is able to sew through many layers of denim or thick wool without any issues, you should be fine to sew through your sequined fabric without removing the sequins. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what is best for your project and situation. I’ll walk you through how to do both.
Before we begin, let’s talk materials! When it comes to cutting your sequined fabric, you may want to use an older pair of fabric shears or make sure to have a scissor sharpener on hand. Cutting through sequined fabric can dull your scissors! You are also going to want to make sure to use a brand new extra sharp needle size 80, and I would recommend having a couple on hand just in case any break during the sewing process! Here’s a few more things you will also need:
Materials For Sewing with Sequins
- Sequined fabric
- Seam ripper
- Sharp scissors/snips
- New, extra sharp needle, I use a size 80
- Coordinating & contrasting thread
- Colored chalk or Dressmaker’s Marking Pencil
- Sewing machine, I use the BERNINA 350 PE
Let’s talk about the first tip, how to remove the sequins from your seam allowance.
Step 1: Before laying your pattern pieces down onto your fabric you need to find the direction of the nap of your sequined fabric. You can do this by simply petting the fabric with your hand, and find the natural direction of your sequins. Make sure to cut out all of your pieces going with the direction of the nap, this will help you make sure all the sequins lay in the correct direction on all of your pieces. Now, lay out your sequined fabric so the front side is laying face down. Lay out your pattern pieces one by one, and trace them onto the back of your sequined fabric.
Step 2: If your pattern already has the seam allowance added to it, trace the amount of your seam allowance within the tracing you just made. If the seam allowance has not been added to your pattern, trace outside of the pattern with the added amount of seam allowance needed. I used this square piece of paper to act as my pattern. After I traced it, I added another 1/2″ around every edge. It should look like this:
Step 3: Cut your pattern piece out along the outer traced line.
Step 4: Using a hand sewing needle and contrasting thread, sew a running stitch around the inside traced line.
Step 5: Turn your fabric over so you are looking at the right side of the fabric (the sequined side), and begin removing the sequins in your seam allowance, outside of the contrasting thread. You can do this by unpicking the little threads holding the sequins onto the fabric running on the backside of the fabric, or you can unpick the sequins from the front side one by one, whatever is more efficient for you!
Step 6: Once you are finished removing all of the sequins, remove your running stitch contrasting thread, and your pattern piece should look like this:
You can see the mesh outlining the sequins with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Disclaimer: This method takes a lot of time, so keep this in mind when picking out your sequined fabric for your project. Once you have removed the sequins within the seam allowance for all of your pattern pieces, pin and sew your fabric as you normally would. If you find there are empty spots along your seam line after your pieces are sewn together, you can hand sew any missing sequins back in place using sequins from your scrap/extra fabric.
Now for the second tip, sewing with your sequins left in your seam allowance:
Step 1: First lay out your fabric, but instead of looking for the selvage edge, look for the edge that the sequins are attached too. Fold your fabric in half, and measure from this edge to the fold to make sure your fabric is lined up straight before pinning and cutting your pattern pieces.
Step 2: Place your patterns pieces along the fold, or doubled fabric as you normally would. Pin your pattern pieces to the fabric, using a few more pins than you usually would, and cut as you normally would.
Step 3: Sew your seam allowances right sides together as you normally would with regular fabric. Instead of pressing your seams open with an iron, you will need to finger press your seams open, smashing the sequins down to help the seam lay flat.
Step 4: Good news! There is no need to finish the raw edges of sequined fabric because each sequin is individually sewn on, so you don’t need to worry about them falling off, or your mesh raw edge unraveling.
For my top pictured at the beginning and end of this post, I used a small sequined fabric and paired it with a sweater knit fabric (check the selection at your local BERNINA or fabric store, I got my fabrics from fabric.com) using the Marthe Blouse Pattern by Republique Du Chiffon. I decided to use the sweater knit fabric for the peplum and the raglan sleeves pattern pieces, and the sequin fabric for the bodice front and back pieces. I did not remove the sequins from my seam allowances. The sequined fabric I chose did not pose any issues with my needles or seam allowance bulk. I also omitted the invisible zipper to make sewing with sequins even simpler, (this blouse is easy to pull on and off by just slipping it over your head anyways!).
Now, go start planning your holiday outfit, and make sure to add some sparkle with sequins! Happy Holidays!
Our December 15 Gift for You:
A set of three BERNINA vinyl bags with zipper to store and/or transport sewing projects and tools.
All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:
Are you dressing up the for holiday celebrations this year?
A winner will be chosen at random on December 16, 2016 and announced the following week!
The contest is open for comments until December 15 at 12:00 midnight Central Time. Click here for contest rules.
Congratulations to our WeAllSew reader “annw,” the winner of our December 15th gift. Enjoy!