Sewing with sequins – a very sparkly Christmas!

‘Twas the season to be sparkly…

Now that the Christmas deccies have come down and stored away for another year, I thought I would look back at some of my Christmas makes – most of which involved SEQUINS- making not only the outfits very sparkly but actually most of our house! Cut sequins go EVERYWHERE!!

My first experience of sewing with sequins was last year when I made my gold sparkly Megan dress. You can read all about it here as well as the bow tie and clutch bag I made with the leftovers! I got to wear it again this Christmas at a ball which was fab to be able to wear it again. I then had a request from a little girl in my life “Ooh I want one exactly the same as yours…” There soon followed another trip to the fabulous Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham to stock up on some lovely sequin material and lining fabric.

For the girls dress I chose Simplicity 1457 as it happened to be a pattern in my stash and looked fairly straight forward to do.

I chose silver sequin fabric and a light grey satin lining. I chose View B which is the larger picture on the front of the envelope and has a yoke piece on the front and back that can be made in contrast fabrics to highlight the yoke. I did include the yoke in the lining but omitted it on the sequin outer to avoid a bulky seam so redrafted a full front and back dress piece. The dress also has capped sleeves.

I have to admit I have no idea about what was going on with the quantities of fabric suggested on the back of the pattern envelope – it was a bit confusing and I ended up getting far too much fabric, but hey you know how I love using up leftovers!! (See later in post) Next time I would like to be better prepared and work out in advance exactly which pattern pieces I needed and therefore be able to lay them out on the fabric in the shop – but hey, it was just before Christmas! Let’s be realistic shall we?!

Here is a picture of some under stitching in action around the neckline and I was in love with how the sequins reflected in my sewing machine – sewing machine glitter ball disco!!!

The final dress ended up being quite big on her, which does mean room for growth which I’m always a big fan of but it did look a bit tent like! So I made 2 ties out of the same sequin fabric and sewed them into the dress at the side seam waist points so it can be loosely tied at the back which nips the dress in at the sides making it look more defined.

Dress front
Dress back with ties
Under stitching of lining and another row of topstitching to help keep neckline flat
White satin bias binding to finish armholes of sequin layer off (no itching!)
Lining raw edge overlocked and single folded machine stitched hem

The recipient was very happy with it I am pleased to say and it was proudly worn on Christmas day 🙂

Little and large!

 

Next up – making a Christmas jumper by doing a spot of upcycling. I bought this jumper for £4.50 in a charity shop and though it would be perfect for a spot of appliqué.

I cut out a star shaped template onto paper, then cut out a star shaped gold sequin piece with the template (using leftovers from my Megan dress), pinned it into place and sewed round the outside of the star (just inside the star border) using a zig zag stitch – what could be simpler? I didn’t use Bondaweb to fuse the star in place as I didn’t want to place the iron onto the sequins and also it didn’t really need it.

   

Another upcycling project using leftovers was for a Christmas dinner party dress. I didn’t really have time this year to make a brand new dress so I decided to look what I had in my wardrobe already and see if there was anything I could do to add a bit of ‘sparkle’!!

I found a RTW dress that I wore to friend’s wedding 6 years ago and I thought I could add some sparkle to the collar. In my excitement I forgot to take some decent ‘before’ pictures but hopefully you’ll get the idea! The front of the dress had a Peter Pan style collar with rounded edges (sorry – difficult to see as it is all the same fabric). The collar extended round to the back of the dress and followed the back v neck, finishing with pointed edges.

Arrow pointing to the right side of Peter Pan collar on dress front
Arrow pointing to the bottom point of the collar on left back

I got my trusty unpicker and unpicked one side of the collar and removed it as one piece. All I did then was lay it on top of the sequin fabric, cut around it leaving a couple of centimetres all the way round the edge and pinned in place over the collar.

 

I then topstitched all the way round in a light coloured thread and from the right side it looked like this…

  

I then inserted this piece back into the seam where I had unpicked it from, pinned in place and machine stitched it. Easy as that! Makes quite a difference when you see it next to the existing collar piece…

A few hand stitches to keep the back of the collar down (no wings needed here!)

I repeated on the other side, made a simple belt piece and hey presto…a ‘new’ Christmas dress!

 

Finally, just before Christmas I some how found time to make a sparkly top to wear on some festive nights out. The fabric is the black sequin fabric from Guthrie and Ghani as seen in the first picture of the post. What is not so easy to see is that this fabric is actually made up of small squares in a grid pattern with some of the squares being sheer.

Isn’t it fab? Half of me wishes that I had gone for a paler coloured lining fabric to show the squares off a bit more but at the time I was happy with the dark grey lining and if you look at the right angle on the finished top, you can see the squares!

The pattern is Newlook K6434 which I had in my stash and came free with the Oct 2016 (issue 89)  SEW Home and Style magazine. It is described as ‘easy’ which I liked, bearing in mind a) I was sewing with sequins b) I had to line it, so effectively making 2 versions of it c) I had limited time in the Xmas prep season!

I chose view A (shown as the red top on the envelope front) which has 3/4 length sleeves and a button fastening at the back. I omitted the side seam slit openings at the hem and instead of a button I elected to do a small hook and eye fastening (quicker and less bulky).

I’m wearing it here with my handmade Sewholic thurlow shorts which were perfect for a smart/casual festive look! A whole me-made outfit – squee! The dream!

The top was fairly straight forward in that it only has one set of darts at the bust but it obviously needs lining when made in this fabric otherwise it would be too see through and itchy! I shaped it in at the side seams to give a bit more definition at the waist. I am pleased with the result, it’s not really my kind of style top but I didn’t want anything too complicated for this fabric – let the fabric do the talking!! I have to also admit that my construction and finish of it was a bit more slap dash than normal as I was rushing to get it finished! I wasn’t majorly concerned about it though as it looked fine still and it wasn’t like I would be wearing it all the time!

One final project to share is a Christmas cushion made using appliqué and some more leftover gold sequin fabric for the Robin’s branch to perch on….! Love this one!

Sewing with sequin fabric is easier than you might think. But it does come with it’s challenges! Lauren Guthrie has complied a video of Top tips for sewing with sequins which I found really useful when I worked with the fabric for the first time. My biggest piece of advice following these recent makes – DON’T RUSH!! During a few stints on the machine when I put my foot down as I was rushing I broke 3 needles (AAhhh!!). Not a major issue but very annoying!!! Would not recommend this one! Take it slowly and you should be fine!

Oh and also have a hoover nearby – when I said they go everywhere, I really meant it!!

 

Wishing a Happy New Year to you all.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Lorna x

4 Comments

  1. Lucy
    January 4, 2017

    All of these makes are fab Lorna! Amazing that you found time to do them all and run your wonderful new business – bravo!

    • Lorna
      January 4, 2017

      Thanks so much Lucy. It was rather hectic yes but nothing like the Christmas deadline to motivate you! It wasn’t like i could put these projects off – sequins definitely more of a festive look! Can’t wait to finish my Morris Blazer now as it’s all cut out ready to go 🙂 x

  2. Lynsey
    January 6, 2017

    Such gorgeous makes, I bet your special little girl looks fab in her new sparkly dress, I love the collar and belt combo! Such a fab idea. I’ve not seen with sequins yet (or velvet) bit scary!

    • Lorna
      January 9, 2017

      Thanks Lynsey. It’s not as hard as it looks – and well worth the effort! 🙂

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